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.
Dutch design office Oato., who’s work we have previously featured, recently introduced me to their latest design — Shift — a minimalistic set of tables with a playful design with many different sides and subtle bending details. The Shift tables are laser-cut from a continuous rectangular sheet of 3mm steel. We strategically left small segments of a few millimetres connected so it becomes possible to fold the table into the desired shape merely by hand. The outcome is a playful setup, which was created by balancing the desired structural and visual effect. The tables, which are available in two sizes — a side table & a coffee table — are finished with a slightly textured matt white coating to give maximum expression to the shape with all the different angles and edges in various shades of white. Oato.’s lead designer Stefan Tervoort explains: We think that this table’s aesthetic and details of the hand bending sets it aside from many other cold, straight folded sheet metal furniture. There is a certain softness/emotion in those corners, something unpredictable that brakes with the industrial nature of the design. We think we made a transition from displaying a technique into using a technique...
It is now our third feature of the work by Takuro Yamamoto Architects. However this time, it is not an architectural structure, but rather a complement to the living space. With an eye and a mind for minimal designs, the firm recently launched a series of lamps under the name of Minimal Green, consisting of Twig, Blossom, Bud and Flower. While the former two elegantly stand tall with their elongated thin bodies, Bud and Flower are more modest, acting as the younger siblings of this collection. It is in the details that one can differentiate the four from one another: on the trunk of these lamps, branches sprout out of the body to imitate the rustic feeling of plants, as the designer put. Not only do they act as an aesthetic communicator, but they can also be functional — used as a hanger for lightweight accessories and outerwear. I especially find Blossom the most provocative. Its straight body extends up to then flourish into a white mass, supported by a bent brach that plays with the eyes. The structure’s offset is what makes it interesting and intriguing, while its simplicity helps put it on the top of my wish-list.
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.