22 year-old Josef Lang of Many Hands Design brings a Scandinavian edge to modern American industrial design. Inspired by functional, materiality and the fine arts, there is an overt emphasis on rendering quality, imaginative and appropriate responses to needs of modern design. CR stands for the cantilevered rod and 45 is the area code for calling Denmark. CR45 was initially conceived during Lang’s study abroad period in Denmark in 2013. The studio in which this piece was conceived, involved being split up by material, meaning each student was allowed only one specific material for the structure of their pieces. This exploration and understanding of materiality is obvious in the beautifully articulate execution of CR45. Structurally the biggest and most obvious exploration with this piece is that of cantilevering elements. Comprised of a high-carbon cold-rolled steel alloy space frame, the seat component is made with a sash cord, which has a nylon core and cotton exterior for both strength and comfort. Josef Lang is one to watch. Photography courtesy of Robert Bingaman.
Furniture manufacturer Vitsœ and German industrial designer Dieter Rams are likely to be familiar names to our readers. It is a wonderful collaboration between these two that I have the pleasure of sharing with you today — the 621 Side Table. Originally designed by Rams in 1962 for Vitsœ, it has been re-engineered in 2014 with the addition of adjustable feet, satisfying Rams’s wish that was never fulfilled by the original. 621 has many uses for a simple table — not only a side table, coffee table or bedside table, 621 is excellent as the there-when-needed table. Vitsœ writes: Its simple design allows it to stand alone or be combined as a group to satisfy a surprising range of uses in the home or office. Turned on its end it can slide over a sofa — almost any sofa. This beautifully designed table will soon be available in two sizes (36cm and 45cm) and two colours (off-white & black).
REN is a beautiful laconic creation of Japanese studio Karimoku New Standard. Inspired by traditional Japanese seating, this chair has a square frame and a low backrest. Designers claim that this shape and the position of the back promote healthy posture. I love how well thought out the piece is. Each part of a wooden frame is assembled using the traditional Japanese woodwork technique tomegata sanmai tsugi, or Triple Tenon. This principle allows to achieve a sturdy construction without the use of toxic adhesives. REN comes in two different frame colours and offers three choices of upholstery – paper yarn, textile and leather.
In February Noon Studio launched their latest iternation of the steel stool we have featured in the past. I did like the previous edition, the simple construction and use of honest materials, but I like the latest iternation even better. The founders of Noon Studio, Gautier Pelegron and Vincent Taiani, have worked on a few important details in the construction and decided to powder coat paint the high grade steel sheet. I love the contrast of the oiled European ash and the black steel. Pelegron and Taiani say the stool is influenced by traditional English craftsmanship and Provencal (southeastern France) rawness. The stool tries to express the direct simplicity found in real traditional antique Provencal furniture and the know-how of British craftsmanship which still holds today. The stool is not just a stool. One can easliy use it as a side or coffee table, book holder or shelving system.
Marco Guazzini’s Tre bien umbrella stand stands as a pillar of beautiful minimalism. His philosophy is based on a sensorial contact with the matter and the beginning of things generating emotion. For him, the emphasis is to design to return processed experiences. He plays with a combination of shapes, feelings, sensations, details, memories, lights, suggestions, colors and gestures. Born in Florence, but now based out of Milan, Guazzini is focused on being utilitarian and simplistically beautiful. Tre bien is an umbrella stand designed to accommodate both large and small umbrellas. Structurally, this item inspired by three radial elements, stemming from a central spine. The piece is also fitted with a powder-coated metal tray at the bottom to capture the moisture present. This piece hints geometrically at something really interesting, and fits its brief quite suitably of being functional and fearless. Photography courtesy of Beppe Brancato.
London based designer Benjamin Hubert in collaboration with Canadian woodworking firm Corelam created this beautiful table, called Ripple. Made entirely from 3 ply 0.8mm birch aircraft plywood, Ripple is quite possibly the world’s lightest timber table of its size. The piece is 2.5 metres long, 1 metre wide, and weighs just 9 kilograms. The impressive strength to weight ratio is achieved by corrugating plywood and using it as a main material in this project. Designer explains: Ripple is minimal in its design language, employing a simple knockdown construction. The top surface is corrugated plywood overlaid by a flat sheet, and the A-frame legs are a sandwich construction of two corrugated plywood layers. There is also an eco-friendly aspect to this design. Thanks to its clever construction, Ripple takes 70-80% less material than a standard timber table. Check out the video to see the making of the piece.
Desnahemisfera is a design studio collaborated by Dejan Kos, Damir Islamovic, and Klemen Smrtnik. With a simple and quirky aesthetic to their designs (and even their website), who would have guessed that the process is composed of multiple conversations about the little details. Symbiosis is one of their latest products, which was specifically made for Kolpa, a company specialized in bathroom furnishes in Europe. With the catchphrase of “Coexistance of Waves,” this pristine bathtub shares its figure with a washbasin to form a sleek silhouette. The transition from the tub’s curvy contour to its abrupt geometrical end brings attention to the cantilevered basin on top, creating a harmonized uniform for the design. Not only appealing to the eyes, this hybrid was made to also please the skin — with a button that controls water pressure and temperature, and the ears — with a built-in audio system for one’s favorite music. Technologically advanced and beautiful-looking, to me, Symbiosis is almost a monumental piece of sculpture on its own and a cherish of functional minimalist design.
It is not easy to romanticize veneer, but Netherlands based studio Oato succeeded by designing this minimalist coat stand, aptly called Peel. Created in collaboration with woodworking company Kuperus & Gardenier, the peace makes the best of the material – Finnish birch plywood. Here is how the designers describe their approach: We call our way of design a search for ‘the poetic side of industrial design’. Our goal is to reshape the everyday objects that surround us, by balancing emotion and industry. The Peel coat stand is definitely a harmonious equilibrium between aesthetics and utility. Inspired by the way veneer is created (carving thin strips of wood from a log) we returned the strips to a stem, from which small parts seemed to be peeled to create the coat hooks. I love the fact that the function here arises from the quality of the wood, and because of that, it looks spontaneous and, yes, very poetic.
Nordic Tales, which sounds rather magical, is a platform where designers and products come together under the traditions of Scandinavian designs. While the word “traditions” may throw one off, the home furnishes being produced from the brand are forward, minimal, and modern. That word, however, is a reference to the craftsmanship that comes from the brand’s own joiners. With such a classic way to bring the final designs together, their values are more well-respected. In contrast to the cold weather of the Northern hemisphere, the outputs hold a warmth to them through the colors of wood and light, their quirky shapes, and one’s personal customization. Although established not too long ago, the site is constantly evolving, with Martin D. Christensen winning an award with his table named POET. I especially love the bookshelf called Flip, designed by Jonas Hoejgaard, due to its use of materials (walnut and steel); the stark friction of the two colors simply brings excitement. I cannot wait to see what the site has to offer in the future, and will keep an eye out for more brilliant products.
Cowrie Chair is an elegant and attractive design inspired by the concave lines of sea shells, being its curvilinear shape possible after an extensive research and innovation process that combines handmade and digital tecnology. The result is a brilliant single surface monocoque fold formed in Ash faced plywood with either a natural or ebonised finish, something that also gives it a great feeling of contuinity and simplicity. Cowrie Chair is part of the Cowrie collection that includes an elegant rocking lounger too, all designed and developed by Brodie Neill, the creative director of Made in Ratio, a new brand launched this past April in Milan.
Vessel must be one of the most relaxing bath tubs I have ever seen! Struck by the synergy between the shapes of a hammock and a bath tub the founders of SplinterWorks, Miles Hartwell and Matt Withington, were inspired to create an engaging and inspiring furniture piece for the bathroom. Or as they describe it themselves “a piece that would provide the ultimate vehicle for total escapism.” Elevated above the floor, Vessel, made of carbon fibre, is a real eye-catcher with its smooth curves. The bath tub is filled using a floor standing, stainless steel, tap and the waste water released through the base into a floor drain. Apart from black, Vessel is also available in red, blue, yellow, pink, bronze and pure silver.
26 year-old Guilherme Wentz is a furniture designer based in Brazil. With an amazing background of awards-filling history, he recently released a series of wooden pieces called Gambito, consisting of a sideboard, cupboard, and bookcase that balance on minimal structures. There is something very poetic in a mass lying on a fragile support to withstand gravity. While that physical condition is a given, the physical appearance of these furnishings is customizable — giving one the ability to make this series a truly unique and personal possession. I especially love the cantilevered sideboard for its asymmetry and its push for imbalance. The concept is not new to architecture, but can be to furnitures to test the limit of functionality. Simple and daring, the Gambito Collection challenges its users to reevaluate the stronghold of structural proportions, as well as the direct translation of that into minimal designs.