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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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.
Located on a mountaintop in South Korea, and adjacent to an oak preserve, sits the Hansol Museum. After a tiring seven years of construction, this institution opened to the public this past May. Designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando, the Hansol Museum houses the private art collection of its namesake, the Hansol Group. The stone and concrete structure sits low to the ground on a large reflecting pool. The interior is constructed with concrete and contains simple light wells to lighten the stark passageways. The Hansol Museum is characteristic of Ando’s minimal, thoughtful design style. The building subtly incorporates the surrounding environment, allowing for a peaceful merging of architecture, art, and nature.
Donna Bates’ rural Irish background has highly influenced her first lighting collection, Parlour Lighting. The series was inspired by her early years growing up on a farmyard where the lighting vessels themselves echo glass vats found in a milking parlour. Launched at the Clerkenwell Design Week in May 2013 in London, the collection is a series of six differing shapes and lighting sizes. The Parlour Lighting collection of vessels takes inspiration from the milking parlour and the receiving, which were used to collect the milk from the cows. The collection comprises options of colours and finishes; black, green or blue frames and oak or walnut-turned bases. Bates has made a considered effort to engage local craftspeople, where the pieces are hand-blown by the same manufacturers that used to create the jars for the dairy industry. The designer feels passionate about design, but equally so about supporting local hand skilled makers. The reference is one of considered nostalgia, trending with current design and the consideration of re-use. While referencing local ways of life, past and present, the aesthetic has a warmth and familiarity. The combination of clear and frosted glass elements, together with the discreet bulb selection, all enhance the warmth...
Ryusenji House by Tomoaki Uno Architects cuts quite the brutalist and impassable figure. Located in Nagoya (Japan) this house is the ultimate expression of the raw beauty of concrete. Both internal and external façade elements and partition walls all comprising this similar grey hue, the shades of intensity determined only by the concrete’s play and relativity to light. At an initial glance, Ryusenji House could be mistaken more for an urban sculpture than a place of residence. A far cry from the over-adornment of trinket-ry commonly found. For this reason, I am very drawn to this space. The absence of furniture, and place-makers for human interaction, allows, I think, for the materiality to be showcased. It also creates an opportunity for the port-holes and vistas that penetrate the concrete shards to be featured. These details are beautiful and should be celebrated. Its positioning in amongst subtle architectural endeavours typical of Japanese architecture is a very bold move by Tomoaki Uno Architects. A move that I think has paid off immensely.