LE MILE SeLECTED
*European Furniture Design '18*
written Michelle Heath
With a strong Japanese design influence, French designers Karpenter believe in the value of quality craft in the creation of their work. Their Twist Dining Table embodies a simple, reduced design with its straight lines, slender profiles and stylish American Black Walnut. The expertly executed connections and immaculate finishings are what really make this table a truly great piece. Karpenter believes the role of the craftsperson can frequently go overlooked, when it is through their knowledge and expertise that the aesthetic and lifespan of a piece is determined. When a design maintains its style relevance despite trends and when design physically withstands the test of time, true success has been achieved. Karpenter is well on their way to achieving this status with their continuous dedication to craft and quality in their work.
Danish design studio Encoded works with artisans based in Bali to create work that is both contemporary and environmentally conscious. The use of repurposed and recycled materials can evoke images of a specific aesthetic that is not typically considered modernist or contemporary. Working with recycled safety belts, cow leather and untreated wood, Encoded breaks away from that aesthetic and designs work that is natural but still refined and sophisticated. The lounge chair highlights the Danish design influence with its simple lines and minimalist material and colour palette. The use of teak tree provides a dynamic display of wood grain and movement not found in traditionally employed materials. Their dedication to their Danish background and commitment to the talent and knowledge of Bali’s craftspeople has helped Encoded establish a business model where materials, skill and design result in work that is of a high standard and accessible to a much wider audience.
French fashion designer, Guy Laroche, is well known for designing haute-couture fashion that incorporates a level of function and practicality not commonly associated with such designs. Taking that knowledge and respect for textiles and craft, the studio launched Guy Laroche Home, a line whereby the company now explores the world of haute couture in the design of furniture and accessories. The Desire Angle Sofa exemplifies the designer’s acute knowledge of textiles and marries that knowledge with the craft of stylish and functional furniture. Covered in linen, the sofa is luxurious and warm while remaining highly durable. Guy Laroche Home embodies the ability for design scales and mediums to cross paths and collaborate, resulting in work that is the best of both worlds.
Nick Stormont is a British designer who is creating a portfolio of work that addresses the entire life of a product and who explores how materials can inform the design process. Stormont’s STO1 stool proves that elegance and function are achievable when designers allow process and material to influence form. The use of the curve in the construction of the seat provides the necessary support and comfort without the introduction of additional materials. The stool’s profile alters as the work is viewed from different angles creating an almost sculpture-like form. Stormont has ventured into design that is both aesthetically pleasing and responsible. With the skills and knowledge already evident in this young designer’s work, future designs are sure to impress.
As the name suggests, &tradition believes firmly in the talent and vision of past designers. The studio also believes in the celebration of new designers who are forging their own paths to become the avant-garde designers of the future. This Danish studio has curated a collection of work that spans an incredible timeline of talented designers. One of the masters &tradition boasts is the Utzon Pendant by designer Jorn Utzon, most notably known for his design of the Sydney Opera House. Utzon designed the pendant a decade before the Opera House. Inspired by naval engineering influences from his father, the pendant achieves elegance in a robust material ensuring its adaptability for any design taste. It proves its timelessness and worth, being both desirable and stylish all these years later; a true legacy.
Family owned, Nordal provides design influenced by the richness of India while maintaining their Danish design aesthetic of simplicity and incredible craft. The collection is an assortment of deep colours, eye-catching metals and warm natural materials. The 6908 Dining Table is a perfect example of the marrying of two design influences. The dining table consists of thin lines of a powder-coated, black metal base with a simple wood surface. The use of mango wood for the surface is evidence of its exotic influences and provides a texture and pattern not commonly seen in Scandinavian design. Nordal exemplifies the ability for design influences to work together to result in designs that are unique. With that, Nordal is creating their own path while still remaining rooted in timeless design principles and aesthetics.
London based studio Wireworks designs with attention to the sensory aspect of their work. They believe that they are not only designing an object, but the entire experience around that piece. With that in mind, Wireworks pays close attention to the level of craft and finish of their work, knowing that the way an object feels and performs in the hands of someone plays a major role in their feelings and thoughts towards the design. The studio began by prototyping their designs with wire, hence the name, as a way of providing insight in the early phases of design as to how the work would function, appear and be constructed. With this thorough and rigorous design process, Wireworks designed the 66D coffee table. The vertical plane that follows the edge of the surface not only provides a depth to the profile without the added weight and expense of a solid wood surface but also aids in keeping items on the table. Another design by Wireworks that portrays their dedication to designs that people can interact with is their design for the Eclipse Wall Mirror. A small vanity mirror sits proud of a larger wall mount mirror with the ability to pivot and tilt as desired by the user. Additionally, on a custom made mechanism, the vanity mirror is capable of orbiting the entire perimeter of the larger mirror further increasing its ability to adapt and be specific to any user. With such close attention paid to the entire experience of interacting with their work, Wireworks designs pieces that people connect with and respect. These pieces are then firmly established in a person’s day-to-day and potentially for years to come.
Design is powerful but it does not need to be destructive. With consumers gradually becoming more and more informed about the source and background of their products is it critical that the design world focus on creating work that not only has an impact visually, but also concurrently creates a positive impact on the lives of people responsible for their production and the environment. Despite the varying influences and locations of these designers, each of them strives for the same ultimate goal: beautifully designed work that is capable of lasting the test of time.