This is Oak, the result of an extracurricular, collaborative student workshop at Lund University School of Industrial Design, Sweden. The goal: to explore archetypes and stereotypes in the world of furniture. The group developed a range of independent pieces, but which are actually impressively coherent. Of course it helps that they’re all made from the same single material, American oak. One of the participaring students, Karl Jönsson, describes how all pieces were stripped down to their origins. From those elements, together with a hint of humor, new pieces have been created, while considering form, usage and interaction with their surroundings. The icing on their cake: Oak was exhibited during the Milan fair 2011.
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Beam armchair is a minimalist design created by the Netherlands based studio Oato in collaboration with woodworking company Kuperus & Gardenier. The piece has been inspired by stacked beam structures used in many cultures. Designers explain their process: All the structural elements are squared, like wooden construction beams. All parts that involve sitting or touching are rounded and have different profiles accenting their own character and role. The price of the chair is quite approachable, especially considering the fact that it is mostly handmade. Another important achievement by the designers… The piece is made of oak with natural oil finish.
Casa No Tempo is a family farm passed down through the generations that underwent a renovation under the care of Joao Rodrigues and family, with the architect Manuel Aires Mateus. The now-converted home stay is located on a magnificent site an hour south of Lisbon in Montemor o Novo, Alentejo, known as the unspoiled Portugal with the pristine landscapes filled with oak and olive trees. The connection to the earth and the surrounding terrain is a significant part of the design in this house. The expanse of the landscape fill the rooms with views of cork trees, pastures, wild fields, dams, ponds and streams through the massive windows. While the clean, minimalist architecture details allow nature to make its presence within, modern interior fixtures and fittings allow this rural getaway to be most comfortable and luxurious. I cannot help but fall in love with all the simple yet significant touches of this farmhouse. The frameless openings of the interior emphasizes the depth of the rooms, making the height of the rooms feel infinite like the sky above. Instead of tiles, the swimming pool is spread with a sand colored plaster right up to the edge, emulating a shore line that compliments the farmhouse in site. I hope to visit this beautiful site one...
Thaw sofa is one of the latest works launched by the Japanese design studio Junpei Tamaki Design during this year’s SaloneSatellite in Milan. It is a reference to images of thawed fluffy snow, producing a wonderful feeling of softness and comfort. The curved silhouette of Thaw is accompanied by a rounded oak detail that frames the whole piece — a continuous line to serve the seat, arm and backrest in one, resulting in a great formal simplicity. I particularly like how the wood is integrated so well on this kind of design, achieving a sense of quality and warmth. Photography by Takumi Ota
To inspire their audience with new ideas and materials, Menu collaborated with some of the worlds most talented designers. The Gridy Me mirror was designed by the Oslo based design studio Gridy by Lars Olav Dybdal and Wilhelm Grieg Teisner. Two parts. Easily assembled. One can position the mirror in portrait or landscape mode and then choose between a ‘normal’ mirror reflection glass or the opposite side in nostalgic, warm, copper tone. Whatever you decide, the lines of the smoked colour oak base will draw a unique landscape on each mirror. The dimensions make the Gridy Me mirror for a vanity mirror or as a decorative element in your bathroom or living area. The Norwegian designers, Dybdal and Grieg Teisner met during their study and together they aim to create streamlined design with a strong sense of personality and function. “Gridy” is a combination of their surnames.
Renowned Lunetier Lionel Sonkes whose store on a small street in Brussels had commissioned Nicolas Schuybroek Architects with Marc Merckx Interiors to completely refurbish and rethink the existing shop, atelier and facade, in a warm, minimal and elegant volume. For over 20 years, Sonkes has been selling imported high-end glasses as well as custom made ones. Recognized as the Belgian equivalent of Maison Bonnet in Paris, the retail architecture by the design team had to reflect that reputation. What this optical store lacked in physical footprint was made up in its luxurious interiors. All the custom-made furniture and simple facade was designed with respect to the sleek minimalist character of the store. What I love most about this project is that instead of displaying an overwhelming variety of product, Sonkes Lunetterie has let the interior architecture speak for the atelier. The best examples executed here are the subtle volumes for merchandising, beautifully designed into wall niches, black metal framed vitrines and Carrara marble pedestals. The grey veins of the marble compliment the grey/white brushed oak wall panels and chevron-laid reclaimed oak floors, tying into the overall elegant and minimal architecture. Photography by ©CAFEINE/Thomas De Bruyne for NSArchitects and images courtesy of Nicolas Schuybroek Architects.
Menu has just launched the Chair #01 at the Salone Satellite in Milan this week. Designed by Stockholm studio Afteroom, the beautiful chair has a minimal solid-steel structure with three legs and back support and seat comprised of oak. Afteroom’s Hung-Ming Chen explains: The Afteroom Chair is an homage to Bauhaus and functionalism. The simplicity of its design combined with the quality of materials is what’s important. It is based on the concept of reducing the amount of materials to the minimum and by doing so pushing the aesthetic appearance to the maximum. The chair is available in black and white, and the collection also includes a stackable side table and a stoneware caddy.
Federico Floriani’s 123 Lamp is a kit of minimalist parts. The sinuous composition of these elements is just the gravy. Italian industrial and graphic designer Floriani has conceived this source of illumination through a want of pushing structure abstraction to explore new aesthetics and leave behind the classic bulb. The result sees a solid oak wood body that uses two metal legs as a stand. Intended as a focused desk light that is consciously designed with minimalist lines and a simplified form. The 123 Lamp encourages a sense of interaction and engagement with the user, as well as being beautifully executed. Photography courtesy of Federico Floriani.
This tranquil space is an assisted reproduction clinic, completed by Barcelona based designer Susanna Cots. The owners wanted to avoid sterile coldness of a hospital and put their clients at ease with a warm, welcoming atmosphere. At the same time, the interior had to look and feel professional and trustworthy. Here is how designer explains her concept: We have designed a space aimed to creating connections through sensitivity and emotions. In the project, the materialization of this bond to life is very visual. On one hand, the reception-waiting room has been created as one piece so that clients feel accompanied all the time. On the other, the corridor that connects this area with the consulting rooms has been projected as a great wooden cube slightly illuminated –again, looking for the roots in nature- that symbolizes the transition to life. The corridor is not the only feature that bears a double meaning. Nearly every element of this interior is symbolic. Two large oak trees, greeting customers at the entrance, represent strength and family values. And the minimalist whiteness of the place symbolizes purity and new beginnings.
This That Other collection has been created by Munich based designer Stefan Diez for the German furniture brand e15. The line is comprised of a dining chair called This, a low lounge chair called That and a high stool called Other. The pieces are made of molded oak-veneered plywood. The idea was to make a resilient and at the same time ergonomic seating. Designer Farah Ebrahimi developed the colour palette, which includes natural wood, neon pink, navy, white, light grey and dark grey. I love how the curved backrest creates a delicate silhouette and makes these chairs look weightless. I also like the versatility of the design. The chairs could be equally attractive at home, in the office or in any public place.
Auckland-based design firm Resident has nailed their latest pendant offering. The Hex, Cross and Tri Pendants are all equally minimal and slight. The elements consist of tubular stems of finely crafted metal, housing various strips of light sourcing. Each piece has been created with folded metal elements that seem to grasp ever slightly their corresponding light tubes and are suspended from ceiling fixtures with thin metal cabling. These pieces are reminiscent of the halo style that is trending heavily architecturally at present. The attention to detail given by Resident is to be commended and a lesson learned. Beautiful pieces executed with a disciplined appreciation for materiality. Photography courtesy of Toaki Okano.
JR Loft is a project located in Brussels, Belgium and was awarded to Nicolas Schuybroek Architects with no specific design architectural qualities in the brief to start with. The original site was a former carpenters’ workshop separated from the adjacent neighbors by a very high separation wall. After obtaining permission to demolish half of the separation wall, the architect took the opportunity to design an extremely large steel framed window over both floors to maximize the amount of light let into the loft. It is the architect’s detailing of the interiors that make this such a beautiful project. The architecture of the loft is expressed within the clean lines of the polished concrete, Carrera marble and reclaimed oak, and the datum of the joints within the materials delicately highlights the contrast of their textures and surfaces – the wood cabinets vs the marble backsplash; the black steel framed shower wall vs the thin edges of the square white tiles etc. Noted by French magazine Architectural Digest in the 2013 Collector Issue as one of the 100 best interior designers, Nicolas Schuybroek had decorated the loft with furniture from Jean Prouvé to Pierre Jeanneret, adding a little mid-century personality to this minimalist loft. Additional...