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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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...
With its breathtaking location directly facing Lake Maggiore and the surrounding mountains, this New Concrete House by Wespi de Meuron Architects protrudes stoically on a steep slope while connecting itself to existing and new construction on the same site. The minimalist design in concrete, while simulating the color of natural rock, reflects an organic presence back to the landscape while its volumetric openness exposes the warm oak finish of the millwork and furniture to the exterior. Sunlight pours through these seamless connections of volumes, blurring the lines of where the exterior starts and interior ends. The architect’s implementation of the continuous use of concrete to highlight different experiences within the house is what I love about this project, to say the least. The direction of the concrete slab towards the picture window subtly orients your eye towards the framed landscape while the concrete floor catches the gleaming sunlight and reflects it back up into the space. The calmness of that experience with the view of the mountains and the lake could be considered a cliche by some, yet it is a summer getaway desired by most. Photography by Hannes Henz
The 7 Möbelstücke collection is an inspiring collaboration between a designer, Herbert Schultes, and a craftsman, Friedrich Reich. Both men had the intent to explore new ways to produce wooden objects, furniture pieces, using modern production methods, but taking mass production out of the equation. In their quest they focused on what was essential to the sitting experience of a chair and stripped back the other elements. The result is a minimalist, pretty basic, collection that consists of a chair, two stools, two tables a desk and a bread case made of European maple, American maple and oak. Frank furniture pieces made with attention for detail. Have a look at how the wood pieces run into each other, the bevel joints, etc. All furniture pieces are produced on request and can be purchased directly through Herbert Schultes Design.
The Small b bookshelf has been created by Hamburg based design studio Holon ID. The idea of this piece is beautiful in its simplicity: thin metal brackets, mounted to the wall, support a solid wooden frame. Once the shelf is filled with books, the brackets become invisible, creating an illusion of books floating in the air. The piece comes in twelve different sizes that accommodate most book types. There is even a corner unit, which allows you to take advantage of all the underused nooks in your home. The Small b shelf is made from solid oak and stainless steel.
Naoto Fukasawa has recently completed this inspiring design for the Spanish furniture brand Viccarbe. A modular seating system, called Common, is comprised of eight cushioned forms, varying in size and height. Each piece is supported by the natural oak hardwood feet. The collection is accompanied by two auxiliary tables, also made of solid oak. I love how the pieces correspond to each other, creating harmonious seating landscapes. The manufacturer claims that high-density foam, used in creating these pieces, retains purity of the lines, even after intense wear.