May 2014

Milan preview issue

Featuring a limited-edition
cover by Jaime Hayon

THE W* HOUSE

We thought it only fair to throw open the doors to the W* House and share with you how we’d fit out our dream digs. From consoles to cupboards, beds to bookcases, the W* House features our favourite pieces of design from across the globe, room by room. When it comes to sharing our finds, we wanted to keep things simple, letting you furnish your house with the click of a mouse, the Wallpaper* way. 

Selected gallery

Products / Seating

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'Veto' bench

Rasha Dakkak at The American University of Sharjah
Prototype

Crafted from layered sections of CNC-cut plywood, Rasha Dakkak's Veto table spells out two Arabic words inspired by the dissent expressed in the Middle East during the Arab Spring. The table reads ‘la’ (meaning refusal, denial or disbelief) when viewed from one side and ‘kalla’ (indicating strong disapproval, protest or objection) when viewed from the other.

'Corner' chair

Gregor Jenkin and William Kentridge
£1,000 each

When world-renowned South African artist William Kentridge became the first person to buy one of Capetonian designer Gregor Jenkin’s tables, it was the start of a working relationship that has led to several international exhibitions. The torn and jagged edges of the duo’s 'Corner' chairs are laser-cut from Valchromat, a wood fibre panel with a paper-like quality.

'Net' armchair

Kettal
€591

Cord is woven around the slim, tubular aluminium frame of Barcelona brand Kettal’s stackable armchair to create a pliable seat, backrest and arm rests. Discreet back and seat pads available in Kettal’s wide range of fabrics complete the design.

'Aria' chaise

Paul Mathieu
£50,280

With it's flowing polished-bronze frame, open back and sumptuous upholstered seat, the Aria chaise by Paul Mathieu is a functional work of art. The design was conceived as part of a commission to design liturgical furniture for an 18th-century Baroque church in Aix-en-Provence.

‘Kawara’ bench

Tsuyoshi Hayashi
Price on request

When searching for a material with which to make a modular seating system, Eindhoven-based designer Tsuyoshi Hayashi struck upon the brilliant idea of using discarded Japanese roof tiles. When mounted atop a simple wooden frame, the familiar, smooth curve of the ceramic tiles provides an elegant and ergonomic seat.

‘Ki-Oke’ stool

OeO / Nakagawa Mokkougei
£8,700

Designed by Danish studio OeO and handcrafted in Japan by master craftsman Shuji Nakagawa, the Ki-oke stool is a perfect union of Japanese craft and Scandinavian design sensibilities. Constructed from carefully planed staves of Japanese cypress wood, the stools are expertly bound together with metal rings.

‘Mantis’ side chair

Bassam Fellows
€2,000 (excluding cushion)

Although it was only introduced in 2008, the 'Mantis' chair by Bassam Fellows has all the hallmarks of a design classic. Characterised by commanding, sculpted arms that evoke the praying mantis, the solid walnut design fits seamlessly into all settings: traditional and modern, residential and contract.

‘Catherine’ chair

Noé Duchaufour- Lawrance / Bernhardt Design
$2,100

The 'Catherine' chair is a contemporary interpretation of a classic European club chair, designed for American brand Bernhardt by Parisian designer Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance. It is simple and serene with sweeping curves, enhanced by an exposed solid maple trim and upholstered welt.

'D-Bench'

Danah Al Kubaisy at The American University of Sharjah
Prototype

Created during her time at the American University of Sharjah studying Furniture Design Basics, Danah Al Kubaisy's 'D-Bench' consists of thirty-six 3mm hand-shaped aluminium bars fastened with machine screws to a welded aluminium tube frame. Along the length of the table, the bars break from their ordered lines into an elaborate and undulating sculpture.

'Illusion' armchair

Khalid Shafar
AED5,460 ($1,487)

Dubai-based designer Khalid Shafar was inspired by the energy, buzz and vibrancy of city life when creating the Illusion armchair. Intersecting lengths of rope are wrapped around a wooden frame to create a comfortable seat that Shafar designed as visual representation of the parallel elements of urban living.

'DW 3 Seater'

Anatomy Design
R24,500 ($2,231)

Johannesburg-based interior design studio Anatomy Design created the DW sofa for a client who wanted a blend of old-fashioned craftsmanship with modern lines, while also revealing some of the sofa’s inner workings. Andrea Kleinloog of Anatomy design explains, ‘After toying with many ideas, we explored the fact that a back cushion is normally Velcro’d onto the back of a sofa and so we decided to, almost brutally, belt it onto the sofa instead.’

'T904' bench

Gastone Rinaldi / Poltrona Frau
€1,060

Poltrona Frau has fulfilled every die-hard minimalist's fantasy with its recent reissuing of a bench by mid-century master, Gastone Rinaldi. The T904 is an inspiring union of wood and tubular steel that dates back to the 1950s. Not one to get overly nostalgic, Poltrona Frau has brought it firmly into the 21st century by pairing it with cushions made in Pelle Frau leather or more dynamic fabric.

'Mirto' sun lounger

Antonio Citterio / B&B Italia
£2,275

The epitome of understated poolside elegance, Antonio Citterio's new lounger design for B&B italia has us reaching for our sunglasses and the nearest cocktail menu. Citterio's attention to detail is evident in honed features such as the discreet rollers that are used on the legs in place of traditional clunky wheels.

'Tailor' sofa

Rui Alves
Price on request

Portuguese designer Rui Alves hails from a family of skilled craftsmen, so it's no wonder he wanted the carefully made ash wood structure of his 'Tailor' sofa to take centre stage. Wood joints are meticulously executed, while the simple foam shell echoes the frame's light aesthetic.

'Kiila' bench

Noora Liesimaa
Price on request

Finland's Aalto University put on an impressive exhibition of student work at this year's Salone del Mobile, which included this angular 'Kiila' bench by masters degree student Noora Liesimaa. Measuring almost 3m in length and cast from pre-oxidised steel, the bench's imposing form was inspired by the stern of a sailing boat. The prototype was manufactured by Italian furniture company Pifferi & Alpi.

'330ST' chair

Laufer and Keichel / Thonet
€335

The 330 series is distinguished by its simple, timeless design, meticulous detailing and ergonomic curves, which break up the rigidity of the straight lines. With its reduced forms and high-quality finish, the 330 is a true all-rounder.

'Twig' chair

Chad Wright / Council
From $365

The 'Twig' takes its form from 'the towers of the Golden Gate Bridge emerging from the fog', according to American design brand Council. This rather grand reference may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you look at the chair, but we like its slender lines and gently arched wooden back nonetheless. The stackable design is available in two versions, one of which is suitable for outdoor use.

'Contrast' stool

BCXSY / BCXSY
Prototype

Eindhoven-based duo Boaz Cohen and Sayaka Yamamoto of BCXSY have used a variety of traditional crafts, from Japanese joinery to Israeli carpet weaving, as the basis for their previous collections. This year was no different as the pair headed to Cork to learn the methods of Irish boatbuilding. The result is this versatile 'Contrast' stool, assembled by clamping three sheets of plywood together.

'Piano' chair

Vilhelm Wohlert / Stellar Works
Painted oak and natural oak, £390, or walnut and beach, £425

One new kid on the design block that impressed us this year was furniture company Stellar Works, which made its debut at Salone del Mobile in Milan. With its mixed parentage (its owners are French and Japanese), the Shanghai-based brand takes a cue from the various concession areas in its home city and prides itself on crossing cultural boundaries when it comes to design. Apart from its own eclectic collection, which blends Eastern and Western sensibilities, Stellar Works has secured the rights to reissue several of Danish architect Vilhelm Wohlert's furniture pieces. Wohlert's 'Piano' chair, a long forgotten design, is the first in the series and has been made, like all Stellar Works pieces, entirely by hand.

'A & A Lounge' sofa

Architecture & Associés / Knoll
€5,160

Knoll has teamed up with Pierre Beucler and Jean-Christophe Poggioli of Architecture Associés, a prolific Parisian practice that has designed boutiques for Dior and Lanvin, to produce a range of seating and ottomans. Their cosy sofa boasts enveloping side panels, chrome legs and copious, horizontal armrests to better balance the remote control on.

'Beetle' chair

GamFratesi / Danish Crafts
Prototype

We spotted this lovely specimen of an office chair among the exhibits at 'Mindcraft', Danish Crafts' annual ode to Danish design, which pairs the country's most exciting design talents and its established manufacturers to great effect. With its wiry legs on castors, the quirky 'Beetle' by multidisciplinary studio GamFratesi loyally references the anatomy of its entomological inspiration while still embodying Denmark's unmistakable, fuss-free sensibility. Comfortably upholstered and easily stackable, it's one bug we'd welcome into our office.

'Lit Flavigny' daybed

Jean Prouvé and G-Star Raw / Vitra
£3290

Although initially apprehensive about a fashion brand (no matter how fabulous) meddling with the historic archives of Jean Prouvé, we admit to being very happily surprised by the results of G-Star Raw's recent initiative. Working closely with the Prouvé family and Vitra, the brand has bravely brought alive several of the modernist's most iconic designs, retaining the sense of balance, logic and use of pure and raw materials while applying new and innovative construction techniques and textiles along the way. The Lit Flavigny daybed is especially inviting - perfect for a post prandial nap.

'Mut' chairs

Noé Duchaufour Lawrance / Fasem
€657

This season we'll be decking out the dining room with works from one of our favourite French designers, Noé Duchaufour Lawrance. Included in a collection of several new pieces created for Fasem is the 'Mut' chair - an understated leather seat that promises to mould to your shape over time spent at the dining table. And that table itself might just as happily be one of his 'Sign' designs, a leather covered steel structure with a clear glass top.

'Tab' stools

Nadadora Studio / Sancal
From £289

Spanish design outfit Nadadora Studio found inspiration in the local form of 'trobos' - beehives created from hollowed out tree trunks, typical to the north of the country - for this collection. Echoing their form, the resulting Tab stools are created from curved sheets of chestnut would and come in a broad range of colours.

Superleggera chair 699 51

Gio Ponti / Cassina
£1435

Gio Ponti ranked the Superleggera chair as one his three 'masterpieces' (together with the Pirelli Tower in Milan and the Concattedrale of Taranto) and we are inclined to agree - striking, as it does, the perfect balance between solidity and lightness. Designed for the Cassina I Contemporanei Collection, it his been in production since 1957, but Cassina has just unveiled a new re-edition of a version Ponti designed for exhibitions in the 1950s, which was never serially produced. Equipped with a padded white or graphite leather seat, the ashwood chair's black and white lacquered frame emphasises its elegant proportions - making it a definite show-stopper.

'Ruché' bed

Inga Sempé / Ligne Roset
Price on request

The younger, and equally covetable sibling to the Ruché sofa - one of the designs that saw Sempé nominated for our Furniture Designer of the Year award - this bed has a slender but solid beechwood frame, with a quilted base and headboard. Its clean, modern form and soft curves belie the complexity of the stitching involved - the subject of 'much research and many trials, at the outset on my little sewing machine, then in the proptyping shop in Briord, then on the seamstresses' profession-grade machines, and finally tested on the programmed sewing robot.' says Sempé. Take heed: sloppy bed making will spoil the look.

Lounger

Jaime Hayon / BD Barcelona Design
€3100

Giving an obvious nod to the ubiquitous Eames design, Jaime Hayon's latest addition to his 'Showtime' collection is stamped with his trademark playful and irreverent spirit. The Lounger's high back and wings give it a commanding presence, while the thick cushioning ensures it lives up to its namesake. Available in lacquered wood finish, electric blue or red, it also has an optional footrest.

'Stromboli' stool

Stephane Parmentier / Ormond Editions
Price on request

Made from Volvic stone, a black lava known for its incorporation into the cathedral of Clermont-Ferrand in the Auvergne region of France, this stool is part of the 'Lava' series made for Ormond Editions by Stephane Parmentier. A French designer who has so far spent his career rocking the fashion world at Givenchy, Montana and Karl Lagerfeld, he now seems to be doing the same for furniture. The forms in this collection are inspired by the 1970s airport architecture of Roissy.

'Apollo' easy chair

Artur Moustafa and Jonas Nordgren / RVW
From £1541

Moustafa and Nordgren give meaning to the phrase 'less is more' with their easy chair collaboration; the unerring black of the finish throughout make it unobtrusive but undeniably chic. The seat comes upholstered in leather or fabric, while the double cross steel leg frame is available powder-coated or in a brushed finish.

'Eden’ sofa bed

Antonio Citterio / Flexform
€5,400

Keen to please, the ‘Eden’, the dreamy new bed from Flexform, will be whatever you want it to be. A comfy bed with leather wings, it comes with a wooden base and a mattress that neatly fold away to create a vast day bed. While sofa beds are often disliked for doing neither of their jobs well enough, ‘Eden’ gets around that by simply being a bed – just one that is flexible enough for night and day.

‘AIR’ Stool

Héctor Serrano / Gandia Blasco
€195

Héctor Serrano's new stool is the perfect summer patio perch. Available as a bar stool and a shorter single-tier version, in black, grey, white and brown, the 'Air' stool is intended to blend in with its surroundings. Serrano used moulded polythene to create a hollow volume with continuous triangular sections. The stool's name comes from its aerated shape; light and breezy, it won't block the view of your begonias.

‘Sessel’ chair

Martino Gamper / Established & Sons
£1,020

The 'Sessel' chair is Martino Gamper's first design for a production chair. Gamper, who built Wallpaper's Chair Arch at London's V&A museum last year (W*127), has gone for a new twist on the iconic bentwood chair, taking it apart and then putting it back together with square bentwood panels and no supporting ring. The chair gets a pretty new palette, too.

‘Canapo’ rocking chair

Franco Albini / Cassina
£4,641

Simple, clean-lined and modern, the 'Canapo' rocking chair offers an irresistible invitation to recline. Designed in 1945 by the Italian architect and urbanist Franco Albini, the 'Canapo' had never been put into production. Having unearthed Albini's original sketches from the archives, Cassina now offers the rocking chair in a choice of black ash or walnut. It features a cotton canvas support and removable cushions in leather or bright fabric. Once again, 20th-century design rocks.

‘Xarxa’ sofa

Martí Guixé / Danese Milano
£2,040

When Martí Guixé first presented his 'Xarxa' multipurpose 'seat' in 2008, a few eyebrows were raised. It consisted of five cushions and a strap -- the idea being that they could be stacked or spread out and that was all you really needed. Much as we love to lie low, tatami-style, we're thrilled that Guixé has now thrown a solid birch sofa frame into the mix. Infinitely adaptable, it features removable slim metal arcs that act as supports for the pillows.

'Buonanotte Valentina' bed

Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance / Ceccotti Collezioni
€12,592

The Seventies feel of the American walnut slatted headboard captures the essence of the whole Ceccotti's collection last year, which combined a retro, manufactured appeal with elements of traditional handicraft. As such many of the pieces felt like antiques, comforting in the familiarity of their form or detail but at the same time contemporary in the exquisite quality of their finish. The Valentina is the work of Noe Duchaufour-Lawrance and the delicate convex curves of the headboard, matched by the light T-bar frame make for a modernist, almost colonial-era bed, perfect for lounging on under a fan.