LE MILE SELECTED
European Furniture Design
written MICHELLE HEATH
As the birthplace of various design movements, Europe has been a leader in design for many years. This also means that it is a very competitive industry with newcomers entering the field on a seemingly daily basis. From a vast array of talented designers, Le Mile has selected seven current designers that are delivering incredibly thoughtful and aesthetic designs to this ever-evolving industry.
Heavily influenced by Bauhaus design principles while providing contemporary interpretations, New Tendency design studio creates minimalist pieces without sacrificing function. The Meta side table exemplifies the Bauhaus appreciation of strength and simplicity with its powder coated steel construction and simple geometric forms. With a modern twist the two-dimensional forms used in the design combine together to create a dynamic three-dimensional piece. The table’s silhouette alters from slender profiles and thin lines to robust forms depending on the angle the piece is viewed from. Using rigid, geometric forms, New Tendency has imbued this object with movement and intrigue. VIPP is an incredible example of a familyrun business that has grown and evolved with time, and has had tremendous success while remaining true to its core identity. VIPP began in 1939 by Holder Nielsen with the design of rubbish bins. At a time when being a designer was not considered an occupation in Germany, Nielsen believed in the necessity of designing objects that functioned while also appearing visually appealing.
Following his death, Nielson’s daughter and grandchildren took over the business, increased the production capabilities and expanded the company’s portfolio to include kitchen millwork and other various kitchen accessories. The VIPP922 shelf maintains a simple, streamlined form with the inclusion of thoughtful elements such as the thumbscrews for a clean installation and a silicone base that serves a very practical purpose but has been expertly incorporated into the shelf’s construction. VIPP922 is a prime example of detailed engineering and sleek design. Despite having already obtained a place in the MoMA’s permanent collection, VIPP continues to transform and build on its already incredible legacy. Tatkraft was created when founder, Süleyman Mazanli was unable to find a bed design that suited his needs and taste. With a firm belief that ‘simplicity is poetry’, Mazanli used that to design and construct his own bed. The ION bed is a simple, skeletal frame, which evokes a sense of weightlessness despite its robust steel construction. Each ION bed is handmade and can be ordered with either a black-/white-painted or uncoated finish, allowing the steel to transform in response to its environment and gradual use. Tatkraft also believes in giving back, by working to fight deforestation that plagues much of our globe.
A designer who believes in bringing good design to people and in helping decrease our impact on the planet, Tatkraft proves that good design can be not only simple and strong, but also affordable and conscious. Based in Hamburg, Olga Bielawska, uses simple geometric forms to create pieces that play with depth and space. This results in work that is dynamic and at times seemingly gravity-defying.
Bielawska’s Circle Meets Square table is as the name suggests, composed of the two geometric shapes but crafted out of wood and steel. The result is a table, delicate and thin in profile that provides limited evidence of how the surface connects with the base. However, this delicately proportioned piece is capable of being stacked and is clearly much stronger than it appears. Bielawska’s work takes simple forms and combines them in intriguing and insightful ways.
Poland’s 366 Concept along with the support and help of the family of designer have reissued the 366 Chair. This piece was first created by Józef Chierowski Chierowski in 1962 and became widely successful throughout the country. The chair’s compact size – measuring only 72 centimetres high and 62 centimeters wide - fit well with the small apartments of financially modest Polish citizens. The 366 Chair was capable of being mass-produced without sacrificing comfort or style. With the renewed appreciation for Mid Century Design and the increasing popularity of micro apartments and other smaller homes, 366 Concept anticipates that the 366 Chair will reach a much broader audience this time around. Rooted in the ideals of Scandinavian design, Muuto creates opportunities for talented designers to work with their team to bring timeless designs to a greater audience. The name Muuto stems from the Finnish word muutos meaning ‘new perspective,’ and it is designers that embody this meaning that Muuto seeks to work with. The Fiber Armchair exemplifies this collaboration tremendously. Designed by Iskos-Berlin, the Fiber Armchair seat is constructed of a biocomposite material that consists of 25% wood fibers, rendering the chair completely recyclable. The form of the seat has a fine texture as a result of the wood fibers and is sculptural but doesn’t sacrifice comfort. The outcome of this collaboration is a chair that is aesthetically pleasing while still functional and environmentally responsible, a truly successful new perspective on Scandinavian design.
What first began as a glass wares company in the Finnish town of Iittala in 1881, has now become a major source of incredible designs that transpired from working with some of the most talented designers of the past and present. Iittala, named after the town, transformed in the 1930s and 1940s to address the need for beautiful, quality design that was accessible for people of all walks of life. Iittala has since ventured into the design of many more pieces including lighting.
The Leimu Light designed by Magnus Pettersen is one example of Iittala’s dedication to quality, versatile design. The Leimu light has the perfect combination of cool, robust concrete and warm, delicate glass. The result is a lamp that stands with its own presence but does not overshadow. The two materials work together to create a design that is both effortless and timeless. Despite the different stories of each of the designers and the scales they work in, it is apparent that each has the same ultimate goal, to provide a wider audience with access to quality design. Each of the pieces created by these designers is crafted to the highest degree of standards with simplicity of form that allows them to adapt to any lifestyle, taste or era. It is with this versatility that these designs are capable of lasting a lifetime.
Photos and Collage Art: LE MILE STUDIOS