Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Milan 2013: Beyond Rho

It's always a cheap thrill to see a first timers reaction to the Fair. They knew it was going to be big, but THIS big??? Then they realise they've barely scratched the surface. There's a lot more to see and do (and a lot more walking) in the city.

The consensus this year is that the city was a little subdued, and we'd have to agree. There didn't seem to be that persistent urge to keep going, going because you were going to miss something. This was partly to do with the fact there were less installations and satellite shows but also because they seem slightly more organised in geographical clusters than ever before. Brera, Tortona and the increasingly commercial Lambrate areas seemed to contain the vast majority of the action, saving on shoe leather.

In Brera, designjunction presented EDIT in the impressive Pelota space. A collection that could (mostly) be summed up as "Brits Abroad" it proved designjunction is a serious player and not just in the London design scene. A shot across the bow for their LDF rivals, and a taster of what's to come at The Sorting Office in September, EDIT was a relaxed atmosphere with a diverse group of exhibitors.

Around the corner, Dilmos gallery presented Glassworks by Nendo. Thoughtful and as minimal as you would expect from the prolific design studio, the exhibition presented Nendo products for brands such as Glas Italia, Baccarat and Lasvit alongside custom glass vessels.      

Woomin Park presented the Memphis-referencing Haze Series in the basement at Spazio Rossana Orlandi, while outside in the courtyard Bergaform from Sweden presented their new direction with products by Claesson Koivisto Rune, Nendo, Luca Nichetto and Relay favourite Jonas Wagell.

MOST conceived and anchored by Tom Dixon returned to the museum of Science and Technology for the second time. Brands including Lensvelt, Resident from New Zealand ans Sander Mulder spread out across this sprawling campus and found their own niches amongst the steam trains and ships. A hugely impressive space, it stole the show with Lensvelt with Studio Job the only exhibitor to stage a presentation capable of competing with the space. 
Job Office by Lensvelt and Studio Job at MOST. Image taken from Lensvelt with thanks
Finally to Lambrate, which was conceived a few short years ago as a mix of experimental young designers, design schools and young brands and now suddenly there are also more established companies hoping the cool would rub off on them. Rumours that young designers are already being priced out of the area are worrying. Where is left for them to go? 

Studio WM from Rotterdam presented Reflecting In Colour, a series of lights and tables with soft subtle colour gradients. In the same location, Lex Pott presented new versions of his renowned True Colours copper work and Earnest Studio presented All Of A Piece, a collaboration with Dana Cannam Design - an interchangeable table top collection in walnut, marble and granite (all of these materials were in abundance in Milan this year).
Earnest Studio
Lex Pott
Japanese manufacturer Karimoku New Standard collaborated with Italian "food designer collective" Arabeschi di Latte to present Kitchen Library, an experimental kitchen mixing an artisanal approach with technology and a research library.

COS collaborated with Bonsoir Paris to create a concept store which was more about the space than the product (but you could still buy the product if something caught your eye)

And finally, to the stunning Villa Necchi and Belvedere, an exhibition organised by Fabrica. 10 designers were dispatched to 10 "of the most stunning locations in Italy" and each produced an object using materials found in that area. Below is the space divider by Charlotte Juillard which reproduces the windows of the San Fruttuoso Abbey in Liguria from three distinct phases in it's history. 
And, that's all folks for our Milan 2013 roundup. See you same time, same place next year!

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Zeitraum in Milan 2013

Zeitraum always hold back a little bit of their News for the Salone Internazionale del Mobile and this year was no exception - a new bed, a new bench and a new light all debuted this week in Milan.

MIUT is a new box-spring bed system by Julia Fellner with a tremendous amount of options. A combination of technology, comfort and quality construction, MIUT is suitable for both domestic and contract environments. The box contains 250 individually wrapped pocket springs per square metre and the height above the floor allows for easy maintenance. 

MIUT Basic is as simple a it sounds - just the box frame and mattress in the fabric or leather of your choice in all the standard sizes you would expect. From there you can get creative - MIUT Comfort adds a tapering headboard to the basic version. MIUT Panel is available in natural oak or the new stain colours and in 2 heights. The geometric grid of the panel determines the positioning of 6 optional storage "boxes" - open boxes, drawers or shelves. These boxes can themselves be in natural oak, stained to match the panel or to alternatively stained to contrast the panel itself.

See? A lot of options to choose from ensuring each MIUT is unique. MIUT will be available in September 2013. 
In the above image, you can see the new NOON 1 SMALL pendant light with black textile cable, conceived as a simple bedside companion to MIUT, but work equally as well over a bistro dining table.

E8 Bench by Mathias Hahn is a companion to the E8 Table launched at IMM Cologne. The table was shown in Milan in its original zinc yellow finish and the new benches are available with a simple oak seat or with a discreet upholstered pad. Available in sizes that correspond with the table, there is a pleasant simplicity to the benches that make them ideal for modern, casual dining.

The smallest version of E8 Table (120 x 70 cms) was also shown - perfect for a home office!

The Zeitraum News 2013 will form the basis of our presentation at Clerkenwell Design Week in May, so make sure you register early to see it for yourself. The new Zeitraum News 2013 brochure is also now available. Just send us a note and we'll send you a copy.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Milan 2013: The Fiera

So we're back from a long week roaming the halls of the Fiera and the cobbled streets of Milan and now we're gathering our thoughts. What did we think of this years design extravaganza? 
Budri Italian marble inlay
Overall, the Fiera itself felt quieter than usual. Perhaps the Euro crisis is finally catching up with the Italian producers, but there seemed to be less bluster, less pizazz than normal and visitor numbers seemed to be down. Of course, this is based solely on the fact it was easier to walk through the aisles without meeting a traffic jam, and not on official figures, so it will be interesting to hear what the organisers have to say. The perceived reduction in visitors made for a more pleasant experience - you could actually stop, look and try the new products on offer.

The colour palette was fresh and light on the whole with zingy bursts of pinks, blues, yellows and the occasional orange on white or pale grey backgrounds. Light woods, brass, copper, marble and gradients appear to be the finishes of the moment. 
Arper stand design architectural plant wall
Eames Hang It All in new colour palette by Hella Jongerius for Vitra
Amidst the ubiquitous names of Urquiola, Bouroullec, Nendo, Starck et al a new name emerged - Sebastian Herkner. Slowly building his name for the last few years, this feels like the year he finally broke through. His Bell table, while not new, was much lusted after and the new Bell lights (both for ClassiCon) struck a fine balance between function and aesthetics. In the city you could find his marble and copper Salute side tables for La Chance. Watch him become a design star. 

Moroso is always a bellwether of the state of design. New designs came from Atelier Oï and their wonderful, fantastical Oasis system, the child-like Dumbo by Tomek Rygalik and a new collection of soft seating and tables called Cradle by Benjamin Hubert
Cradle by Benjamin Hubert for Moroso
Oasis by Atelier Oï for Moroso
Dumbo by Tomek Rygalik for Moroso
Claesson Koivisto Rune continue to lead the way for Swedish designers. Their Kelly series for Tacchini (inspired by the US artist Ellsworth Kelly) - pure, vibrant colour and organic shapes coincided with a new Cromatique direction for the brand. Use the large ones in reception, the low ones in a break out area and the relaxed one in a lounge - perfect!
Kelly E and Kelly H by Claesson Koivisto Rune for Tacchini
Galleria bench system in wood, fabric and marble by Pearson Lloyd for Tacchini
Konstantin Grcic's new Traffic system for Magis is both modernist and modern. The intricate exposed frame contain solid blocks of colour.

All in all, a good year for the Salone, not a great year. Let's see what 2014 has to offer.  

Örsjö at Euroluce 2013

Euroluce comes but once every 2 years, and Örsjö were back for their 4th time to show the Italians how the Scandinavians do lighting. 
Showcasing the acclaimed new Vinge light by Note Design Studio launched in February, alongside a cross-section of other popular products, the stand showcased the versatility and functionality of the Örsjö collection. PJ wall lights, now with direct connection, the Lean double pendant and the black chrome version of Benjamin Hubert's Crane light all received healthy interest from visitors from as far afield as the USA, Asia and Australia.
Örsjö will return to the Farmiloe Building during Clerkenwell Design Week in May, exhibiting all of the new products. Be sure to visit, but in the meantime, if you would like a copy of the brand new brochure just send us a quick hello.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Note This!

Note illustrated by Marco Menaballai. L-R: Kristoffer Fagerström, Alexis Holmqvist, Cristiano Pigazzini, Susanna Wåhlin, Johannes Carlström
Without a shadow of a doubt, the biggest thing to emerge from Stockholm Design Week this year was Note Design Studio. Slowly building their reputation over the last few years by staging their own Marginal Notes shows, this year they moved to an old light bulb factory and presented Note Open - a temporary studio and exhibition space .

We brought some friends with us to Stockholm this year and were ever so slightly excited to for all of us to have guided tour by Susanna and Cristiano, two fifths of Note. They had 8 new products on show, as well as pieces from previous Marginal Notes and their Bolt stool for new French brand La Chance (which just happens to have been awarded a Wallpaper* Design Award 2013).
Susanna Wåhlin demonstrating Vinge
Products ranged from lights - we may have mentioned the new Vinge for Örsjö once or twice before - to bike stands and bathroom sinks and even a prototype Boet bench for Mitab to accompany the Boet stool. The prototype was so new, it arrived just in time for the opening of the show, but too late for the brochure, so the image below will have to do for now.
Susanna is actually from the town of Örsjö and her family have a long history with Örsjö Belysning, so it seems fitting Note should design a piece for the brand. In fact, if you would like a lesson in the proper pronunciation of Örsjö, then watch Susanna's Style File interview with Wallpaper*.    
Note stand (and product design) for ZilenZio
Apart from the exhibition, Note's handiwork was in evidence all over the city - Vinge and their Teluria candelabra for Klong popped up at Glass Elephant, they not only designed the products but also the stand for ZilenZio (above) and they designed the Greenhouse exhibition. The layout for Greenhouse was based on baroque French gardens and instead of straight rows of boxy stands, rows were curved and some walls were removed to create an open atmosphere, where designers could meet and experience the show around them, rather than feeling they had to stay in their designated box. It also removed the intimidation visitors sometimes feel about stepping onto stands - they were on the stands before they even knew.
Greenhouse exhibition design concept. Image from
We said it last year, and we'll say it again: Note are definitely a name to watch. For more examples of their work, check out their website:

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Glass Elephant

Sander by Massproductions
Limited edition Sander table by Chris Martin for Massproductions
The bull of "Bull in a china shop" shop fame morphs into an elephant in the Swedish equivalent of the phrase. This impressive installation installation in the caves of Skeppsholmen island featured glass works being manipulated by sophisticated robots from ABB. Mixing crafts with industrial design and technology, the exhibition sought to "explore the characteristics of glass as material and muse, and tells a story about the meeting of contrasts". Plus these robots were far more engaging than the robots in Trafalgar Square for LDF 2010.
Robot Control

Designed by TAF Architects and featuring designers like Simon Klenell (whose glass pieces we recognised from LDF 2011), Chris Martin of Massproductions and our very own Vinge light by Note Design Studio for Örsjö, the sometimes cheeky robots almost stole the show. Almost. It's a credit to all the designers involved that the glass somehow managed to compete with the surreal location and the robots and still come out on top. 

Frigger Tactic pieces by Simon Klenell 

Bulb, Madras and Soapbubbles by Ann Wåhlström 
Vinge for Örsjö and Teluria for Klong by Note Design Studio

Mitab's MiStand at Stockholm Furniture Fair 2013

Mitab presented a new stand concept at the Stockholm Furniture Fair 2 weeks ago (how time flies). A variation on their successful "Stand On Your Own" concept, MiStand sees the responsibility passed to a young architect or designer to present their perception of the brand. This year, Jonas Wagell was selected and he responded in his characteristically colourful way. Primary colours sprang out from a soft grey background, catching your eye and attention.

New on the stand for 2013 was the Mute sofa by Joel Karlsson. A long time collaborator with Mitab (his products include Tweed, Shadow and Anywhere) Mute is a companion piece to the Stereo sofa. Featuring the same distinctive Button detail, Mute is a high back sofa for modern working. A private hub without the expense or restraints of partition walls! Mute is available as a 1, 2 or 3 seater with frame colour and upholstery of your choice.
Also on the stand was the Boet stool by Note Design Studio we launched at designjunction in September. What visitors to the stand didn't see was the new prototype Boet Bench - you had to visit Note's own Open show to see that. Fresh off the production line, just in time for the show opening, Boet Bench will be available later in the year. 
Boet Bench at Note Open 2013
Raster, the acoustic panel by Asshoff & Brogård, which launched last year, was shown in the new Leaf pattern. Raster can also be ordered with custom pattern and/or any colour you like.
For a complete tour of the stand, which included products like Risto, Cumulus and Highway Lounge, check out (and like) our Facebook album

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Örsjö at the Northern Light Fair 2013

This time last year we said you should keep an eye on Note Design Studio, as their reputation was spreading fast. Twelve months later, they have designed the intriguing Vinge for Örsjö. Translating as "Wing", the solid brass vinge sits beneath a mouth-blown opal glass dome and rotates 180°, acting as a dimmer.
The simple exterior emphasises the wing and the sweeping movement of the wing directly affecting the light demonstrates Note's playful attitude. 

Available with black, white or red base, the wing can be ordered in a subtle matt brass finish, or powder-coated steel to match the base.

Jonas Bohlin is a long time collaborator with Örsjö. They have worked together on many bespoke pieces for his interior design projects, as well as pieces like Kvist in his signature raw copper. In 2012, Bohlin was commissioned to refurbish the interiors of Stadshuskӓllaren, the restaurant in Stockholm's City Hall and famous as the location of the Nobel Prize award dinners. A listed building, it was a tricky commission, but by working with selected craftspeople, he has brought the glamour and splendour back to this landmark.
Working with Örsjö, Bohlin created several new versions of Kvist and Star ranges - individual copper (or white) spots that can be ceiling or wall mounted, single pendants and large 9 arm circular pieces which can be wall or ceiling mounted or suspended as a pendant light. He even created a "reverse Kvist" floorlight, with branches sheltering the tables.
Overall, the theme of the stand for the Fair was brass, with old and new items shown for the first time in a beautifully soft matt brass finish - brushed and finished with a clear lacquer. Older pieces like Puck were renewed and Bornebusch dominated.

All in all a strong showing from Örsjö, with all the signs pointing to a positive year ahead. You can find further images of the stand on our Facebook page and please contact us if you would like a copy of the new brochure.