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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Simple and straightforward projects are the solution for crowded work environments, such as the usual chaotic and busy beauty parlour. Japanese architect Hiroyuki Miyake took on the challenge to design TROOVE — a space fit for one lone stylist to take care of his salon, with all the benefits a minimalist space can bring to the daily hustle and effortless style for the clientèle to enjoy. Building upon a concrete structure, Miyake makes good use of Japanese oak to endow the salon and map out each space to its function. The charming reception and waiting room; the main styling room and the shampoo booth; each one cleverly distinct from one another. Kudos to the beautiful folding screen made in galvanized iron, inserting lightness into a big visual feature. Since the 2011 earthquake, several power saving policies were put into practice, directly altering the daily life and perception of darkness and how much it is necessary to live by. The archetypal Japanese paper lamps plays a remarkable role as the gatekeepers of this charming salon. The shadow play and well defined light project spread throughout is symbolic of smart adaptation to a new reality and, remarkably, a nod to the past.
Little Bishop is a clever, minimalist, ceiling hook specifically designed for cable hung pendant lights. Little Bishop, shaped and cast by hand, wears a lighting cable like a “cloak”. Smooth curved flowing channels in the hook guide the cable, locking itself down. The cable is a feature of the hook, eliminating the need of any knots or clamps. Little Bishop is available in three different post heights. Little Bishop is designed with eye for detail. The hook is unique in form and function. The hook is not a feature. Hanging seamless from the ceiling it just feels like it is part of the home. It is present but not overwhelming. The designer behind Little Bishop is Melbourne based Antony Richards from Hunter & Richards. Little Bishop was recently successfully funded on Kickstarter.
Kristalia, an Italian furniture design studio, has designed a new version of the stunning Thin-K table, introducing the minimalistic Thin-K Longo Outdoor table. It features a top that is not only very thin but also considerably long: almost 3 metres. Kristalia wanted to create an extremely long top reaching a truly impressive length while maintaining perfect linearity and sturdiness. To achieve this result, the legs and the under-top frame have been strengthened, but these details have been concealed. In order to perfectly finish tops of 120cm x 295cm dimensions, an ad hoc procedure has been developed, in which the under-top frame acts as a support during the lacquering stage — this is carried out using epoxy powders that are UV-ray resistant and weatherproof. The aluminium top is available in a choice of coloured lacquers, or in European oak or black oak wood veneer with a brushed finish that highlights its natural grain. Thin-K Longo is almost entirely made of aluminium, with the addition of a few steel components. Remarkable work.
Gerard de Hoop, designer and interior architect from The Netherlands, has created a beautiful, minimalist, free standing bookshelf named Frames 2.0. My ambition is to make unique designs that carry the elements simplicity, surprise and versatility in them. Simplicity is mainly brought about by the use of basic geometric shapes. The bookshelf is a grid made of 12 wooden rectangle frames. De Hoop makes use of oak or American ash. When de frames are assembled the shelf has an inconsistent composition creating an interesting play of graphical lines. I love the negative space! The inset tracks give the opportunity to store books but you can also place a hanging planter and use Frames 2.0 as a room divider. Thanks to its clever design one can easily dissamble the bookshelf and store it into a pair of flat boxes. Ideal for transport.
Arnhem based Dutch designer Jet de Bruijn creates beautiful interior products with clean lines manufactured from pure materials, under the label jet. Her latest design is the minimal, modular and elegant lamp, Tammel, comprised of a slim stainless steel frame and oak/walnut socket. The Tammel lighting range is a reference to her childhood — Tammel being the name of the farm where she grew up. This is where her predilection for craftsmanship and the application of wood and steel originates. The lamp, which can can used as a table or wall lamp, is available in a variety cable colours, including white, red, yellow, and black. An incredibly simple concept, but beautifully executed. Photography courtesy of Joyce Croonen.
Home 11 is an elegant dwelling in Amsterdam. The structure was previously a large garage. i29 Interior Architects renovated the garage into a modern apartment for two people. The color palette is defined by three materials: white sheetrock, natural oak, and gleaming black surfaces. The elevated kitchen is composed of wooden cabinets and a black island. Step down into the living room and you’ll find an oak wall with black shelving and a small fireplace. The doors to the bedroom and bathroom blend with the wood-clad walls. Skylights run across the ceiling and provide a plethora of natural light. To connect the home with the outdoors, i29 Interior Architects included a small outdoor patio and designed the living room carpet in a green mossy pattern. Home 11 is an incredibly posh dwelling. The materials and furnishings combine to give the home a luxury feel. The skylights are a wonderful addition. Never underestimate the power of simple materials, natural light, and great design. Photography by Ewout Huibers.
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.