Ever since Marsotto, a reputable stone carving company from Italy collaborated with Milan-based industrial designer James Irvine to launch their first collection at the Marmomacc Fair, the largest stone fair worldwide back in 2009, a consistently beautiful series of marble furniture has been created out of elegant, minimalist forms. These reflect the structural integrity of the material and the natural beauty of its color and texture. These are my favorite from Irvine in the Marsotto edizioni collection. Very often, marble happens only as a detail on an object because of its cost, but I’d imagine that to design with marble from the start is to think about function and form unilaterally, exploiting the strength of the material and its sculptural attributes while taking measures to prevent wastage. The white Carrera marble is an old material that has been beautifully transformed into contemporary objects in this series.
Designed in Japan in 2008 by Shinichiro Ogata of SIMPLICITY. Wasara is made out of 100% tree-free renewable materials (sugar cane fiber, bamboo, and reed pulp) and all Wasara products are biodegradable and compostable. The pieces are usable for both cold and hot food and are also oil and water resistant. They are extremely pleasant to touch and equally feel solid during use. Their soft, simple lines embody elegance and speak the language of minimal design. Here, the notion of paper plate is taken to a new level. I love the aesthetic pleasing sensibility of serving meals on visually engaging piece.
It was such a treat coming across industrial designer Julie Richoz’s project titled Thalie. The seductive forms, each composed of a frame made of spring steel, were cut to resemble a plate, a fruit bowl and a bread basket. Only a very fine piece of metal wire secures each piece together, the structure of the frame comes together fluidly, revealing the beauty of how minimalistic the concept is. Inspired by handcrafts like crochet or knitting, I approximated the characteristic of the metal sheet close to a textile quality. The chemical etching allowed to cut a sheet of spring steel in a very precise and fine manner in order to produce my patterns. To learn that this project was exhibited at the 7th annual Design Parade in Hyères, France this year, and that it was not a(nother) 3D rendering, is extremely gratifying.
Today I would like to highlight the work of Pigeon Toe ceramics studio based in Industrial North Portland, Oregon. Founded four years ago by Lisa Jones, the studio has already gained a following of enthusiasts, who appreciate beauty of a craft and embrace not only the finished product but the story of a maker behind the product as well. Calling themselves a “creative evolution” Pigeon Toe’s refined selection, hand-touch within each piece and genuine passion for the making is obvious by first glance at their site. To see more of the process, watch this video. Pigeon Toeʼs aspiration is simple: to provide mankind with everyday beauty. Highly curated and refined, each piece is culled from skilled hands, trained minds and inspired hearts. Our designs are naturally imperfect, casually irreverent and playfully charming. Each piece is treasured. Beautiful. Authentically hand-crafted. I’m drawn to the simple lines of their collections and appreciate the playful approach to incorporate colors within some. Minimal design with lots of passion and love.
When I think of shapes I usually think of asymmetrical forms. Japanese designer, Nao Tamura was inspired by the irregular shape of a green leaf to create Seasons, a serving container with a pleasant feeling of spontaneity. Tamura’s strongly Japanese-inspired work reminds us that there is a Japanese way of going about things. With Seasons, a serving container made of silicone, she won the Salone Satellite Award at the Salone Internationale del Mobile 2010. Seasons is lightweight, flexible and rolls up like an organic leaf. It’s about harmony. Even the most mundane thing can become a happy shape.