In the frame: standout designs from around the globe
All year round, we journey through design weeks, fairs and galleries scouring for the most refined, innovative and spectacular designs from across the globe. From sublime exhibition sets and nifty product launches to compelling collaborations and sophisticated new brands, we bring you our guide of the best in design for 2018...
Designer Stefano Giovannoni launched his online furniture brand Qeeboo back in 2015 with a collection of colourful plastic furniture. He is now reissuing the designs with a chrome finish created using nanotechnology. In a first for furniture and design objects, atomised particles are removed from a piece of brass, aluminium or copper in a high-vacuum atmosphere, and coated on the plastic product. One of the designs being treated with this technique is Studio Job’s ‘Flash’ lamp, which gives corporeal form to the rays of a torch. For the studio’s Job Smeets, the torch has a personal significance, as well as a practical one. ‘I once had my power turned off because I forgot to pay the bill, so here I am lighting the whole place with “Flash”. It’s the saviour of the universe.’
The Qeeboo shop is open 17 – 22 April, at Fiera Porta Sud, Palazzo Visconti and Hotel NHow, Milan, at Salone del Mobile. Photography: Rebecca Scheinberg. Interiors: Maria Sobrino. Writer: Rosa Bertoli
As originally featured in the May 2018 issue of Wallpaper* (W*230)
The secrets of St James’s
Architectural practice Squire & Partners are offering up a bird’s eye view of St James’s with an interactive map display as part of the market’s new exhibition. Traveling around the key locations, the map produces a narrative of the historic area revealing cultural secrets like where did John meet Yoko? Or where did Jimi Hendrix play his first UK gig? The experience has been elevated with a theme tune too, a curated soundtrack of Frederic Chopin’s Nocturne In E Flat Major, Op.9 No.2.
St James’s Market, SW1Y 4AH, Regent St, London
Italian architect Antonio Barbieri was commissioned to create a new look for Milan’s Gum flagship store. Barbieri created a multicoloured space designed to bring to life the bright leathers of the Florentine accessories brand; painting walls and ceilings an unassuming neutral tone, he added layers of glass and mirror in jewel hues, creating an impactful effect of lights, shadows and reflections. Since 1999, the architect has worked with fashion brands such as Gucci, Emilio Pucci and Max Mara, and designed independent boutiques all over Italy and abroad. This latest project lets the architect’s more playful side, mixing colour and material to create ‘a space where light goes through and bounces.’
Gum Milan, Corso Garibaldi, 34, Milan. Writer: Rosa Bertoli
With the world’s water crisis feeling increasingly real these days, curator and water conservationist Jane Withers has launched a new multi-pronged research program together with A/D/O, the Brooklyn-based research centre dedicated to pushing the boundaries and future of design. During the kick off event last week, which featured a water tasting designed by Arabeschi di Latte, Withers and A/D/O unveiled the year-long program that will focus on three themes: harvesting the sky, pollution and purification and drinking local. Each theme will also be accompanied by a dedicated installation, exhibition and series of events and workshops. What’s more, the program has also issued a call for entries for new design ideas to tackle the harmful drinking water culture today. With competition categories ranging from future objects and materials to future information design, the open call will culminate in a final exhibition in early 2019. Pictured: unglazed clay cups from India are used for drinking water and tea and, once discarded, dissolve back into the earth. Writer: Pei-Ru Keh
Three iconic creative forces come together for a playful collaboration. The Swiss mastery of Maison Caran d’Ache meets Alexander Girard’s graphic prints and Vitra’s creative ingenuity for a charming new pen design. The 849 Alexander Girard is a decorative piece with the Double Triangle and Check Stripes patterns taking up the body of the sleek 849 hexagonal model, that is a part of Vitra’s spring accessories collection.
Writer: Sujata Burman
Following the success of his luxury kitchen brand, La Cornue, French visionary Xavier Dupuy launches a venture that takes him into new territory: bathrooms design. In an attempt to revive the art of metalwork, and in particular French copperware, he has released a range of contemporary sinks. Titled Bassines, Dupuy creates the brand with long-time partner, designer Laurent Besseas with sleek modern basins in stainless steel, gold, copper and black.
Available from Bassines. Writer: Sujata Burman
Globe-Trotter’s 20” classic navy trolley case is getting a Paul Smith makeover. The luxury travel brand has tapped the British fashion designer for a limited edition collection which sees Smith add a splash of colour to the carry-on with his ‘Artist Stripe’ pattern on the handle and corners of the trolley. Available in a range of hues, the playful pieces merge art and fashion to make a unique travel companion. The range will be presented at the Paul Smith boutique in Milan during Salone del Mobile (18 – 22 April 2018).
Back in 1928, Jean Puiforcat set the bar for dinner opulence with the Cannes pattern in flatware. The iconic design was inspired by the architectural façade of Hôtel Martinez in Cannes, and served many of the elite at sophisticated dinner soirées. The French brand are now giving the range an elegant resurgence by adding a hint of onyx, lapis-lazuli, jade and jasper to the handle of the sterling silver pieces. Cannes’s semi precious addition takes the designs up a notch from cutlery to haute couture table jewels.
Cannes Précieux is available from by special order from Puiforcat. Writer: Sujata Burman
‘Poli-Piel’ by Jorge Penadés
Jorge Penadés has been giving leather scraps the luxury treatment since his acclaimed graduation project ‘Structural Skin’ (2014). The Spanish designer compresses and glues dyed leather offcuts into long profiles with a grain like marble or wood. ‘Poli-Piel’, a solo show at Madrid gallery Machado-Muñoz, shows him taking his invention in a bold direction. Leather is the common element across eight distinctive pieces of furniture and lighting; buckles and leather straps combine his own material with planes of glass, aluminium and mirror in daring compositions. Marking Penadés' first solo exhibition, ‘Poli-Piel’ also showcases a new technique he has found for coaxing the natural material into structural form. Two conical table lamps have bases of stacked coils, each layer made of rolled and glued leather. The show’s title plays on the Spanish word for ‘Leatherette’ as well as describing many ways to use leather. Until 10 March
Machado-Muñoz, Calle José Marañón, 4, 28010 Madrid, Spain. Writer: Riya Patel
This X That pop-up
Design consultancy This X That fuses architecture and design at its new pop-up store at MOCA’s Geffen Contemporary. The LA-based company invited a selection of emerging architecture practices to contribute limited-edition pieces for the home and garden, including Architecture Office, Besler & Sons, New Affiliates and Welcomecompanions. Our favourite piece has been designed by Jimenez Lai, founder of Bureau Spectacular, who contributed the neon Scribble lamp. Lai translated his passion for architecture into a cartoon-ish design. The lamp supports itself by its own flowing curvature, and can be installed on the floor, tabletop, or on the ceiling. Until 19 March.
Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, 152 North Central Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012. Writer Luke Halls. Photography: Injinash Unshin
In a fitting union of Italian prowess, the eye-catching collaboration between Kartell and entrepreneur Lapo Elkann has arrived on American shores via a pop-up space at Barneys New York. Using the innovative wrap technology that fuels his automotive customisation brand, Garage Italia, Elkann has covered a selection of Kartell icons in a series of vibrant patterns and graphics, inspired by both fashion and classic cars. 40 of Kartell’s timeless pieces, including Philippe Starck’s 'Ghost' chair and Antonio Citterio’s 'Glossy' table have been enveloped in energetic racing stripes, shiny chrome and sartorially-inspired plaids. Originally unveiled at during Milan Design Week in 2016, the collection is on view and available for purchase at Barneys’ Madison Avenue location until the end of March.
Barneys New York, Madison, 660 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10065. Writer: Pei-ru Keh. Photography: Rick Barroso
Sister City hotel concept
Ace Hotel broke the hospitality mould when it unleashed its irreverent, carefully curated ethos on the world almost two decades ago. This week, it’s creative arm Atelier Ace announced a new arrival, Sister City, which will be revealed in New York City this autumn. Located off Bowery, one of Manhattan’s most historic thoroughfares, and accessed through a garden on Freeman’s Alley, the new hotel concept promises to use empathy and an aesthetic union of both function and beauty to cater to the modern traveller’s needs. Armed with a rooftop bar, a ground floor restaurant and 200 rooms, this highly anticipated launch is sure to overturn the applecart.
Writer: Pei-Ru Keh
'Apollo' by Achille Salvagni
Achille Salvagni is inspired by 1960s science fiction set designs for the Spring transformation of his showroom. He turned to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey when building his own space capsule right inside the Mayfair atelier. The Roman designer uses some of his classics alongside new product to realise the retro-futuristic set; white washed panelled walls and ceilings are accompanied by portholes to metaphorically look out into the galaxy. The product lends itself to the fantasy too; new circular wall sconces sit in twos and threes to look particularly celestial while chairs and stools appear as extraterrestrial friends. ‘As commercial space tourism takes shape, I created my own interpretation of a space capsule.’ says Salvagni, ‘I wanted to imagine a futuristic yet opulent interior with highly crafted pieces, design a personal response to the imminent exploration of this unchartered territory, another marvel soon to be revealed.’
15 March - 7 September; 12 Grafton St, Mayfair, London W1S 4ER. Photography: Paolo Petrignani. Courtesy of Achille Salvagni Atelier. Writer: Sujata Burman
Wonmin Park at Carpenter’s Workshop Gallery
Wonmin Park’s restrained, yet elegant aesthetic is a long-time favourite of ours, and we were particularly excited when he unveiled his latest venture ‘Plain Cuts’ – an experimental collection of aluminium tables at PAD in London last year. The Paris-based designer is now making his US debut this week at Carpenter’s Workshop Gallery in New York. In addition to showcasing ‘Plain Cuts,’ Park’s contemplative pieces are joined by new, unseen additions to his signature ‘Haze’ series of resin works (pictured). Until 14 April.
Carpenter’s Workshop Gallery, 693 5th Avenue, New York, NY 1002. Writer: Pei-Ru Keh
Epic React Flyknit
High design meets lightweight technology in the newest Nike running shoe – Nike Epic React Flyknit. Its minimalist focus reflects its functions, using a lightweight cushioning foam with maximum energy return. ‘That unique React Foam pattern was created after thousands of iterations, which were made possible because we’ve used computational design,’ says Nike’s senior director for global running footwear, Bret Schoolmeester. ‘The final design makes the midsole softer in areas where runners exert higher pressure and more stable near the edges and sidewall where runners need increased stability’. And it’s a treat for the eyes too – the rippling pattern together with the stokes of blue and neon pink at the rear of the model (available in a white version too) adds a certain playful energy, while maintaining its three goals – flexibility, breathability and support.
The Nike Epic React Flyknit will be available 22 February from Nike. Writer: Sujata Burman
Design brand Ariake launched last year with a unique concept of connecting two Japanese furniture manufactures – Legnatec and Hirata Chair – with an international roster of design talent (Anderssen & Voll and Gabriel Tan to name a few). Next up is Norm Architects, who have launched a chair and sofa that are set to show at Stockholm Furniture Fair next month. For Ariake, the Danish firm joined forces with Brazil-based architect Marcio Kogan (StudioMK27) to realise the ‘Braid’ armchair (pictured). The cultural merging is evident from its design – the modernist structure is inspired by Danish cabinetmakers furniture, while the intricate details, like the bamboo construction and tatami mats, echo Eastern influences.
Writer: Sujata Burman
Studio Furthermore at Aram Gallery
East London-based Studio Furthermore was inspired by the rocks, earth and mineral ores of Iceland for its ‘Replica’ series. The ceramics and aluminium alloy collection – currently on show at London’s Aram Gallery – is reminiscent of foamy lava rocks, created through scientific experimentation whereby a copy of the original product is the end-product we see. The range of standing lights, mirrors, pots and tables is coupled with examples of the studio’s tests and a film that takes individuals through the process at the Drury Lane space.
‘Replica’ is on view until 20 January. The Aram Gallery, 110 Drury Lane, WC2B 5SG. Photography: Amandine Alessandra. Writer: Sujata Burman
These striking podiums form part of a set of nine. The collection, entitled ‘Primitives’, was designed by Sicilian studio Moncada Rangel and draws inspiration from the abstract shapes of Brancusi. Their simple geometric forms and bold colours create a unique stage upon which even the simplest objects become showstoppers. Each was handmade by graduates of the Made programme at the Academy of Fine Arts in Syracuse. Using plywood and papier-mâché, the students, led by Moncada Rangel, crafted sculptural pieces in keeping with the studio’s aesthetic. This collection certainly turns the tables by upgrading the pedestal from supporting role to star of the show.
Pictured: four pieces from the ‘Primitives’ collection, which was recently acquired by a Sicilian cosmetics brand and is currently being shown in a small gallery and retail space on the island of Ortygia. Illustrator: Julien Savioz. Writer: Mary Cleary
Design duo Formafantasma have created the newest member of the Woody-Zoody family of wooden animals. ‘Toro’ (the Italian word for bull) is a playful wenge wood and brass figurine of a bull, a minimalist interpretation of the animal which features the signature elegance of the pair’s work. ‘We both share a passion for toys, we collect vernacular wooden toys from all over the world,’ say Simone Farresin and Andrea Trimarchi. ‘Children can imagine animals from any shape, and our object for Woody-Zoody starts with an abstract form which becomes a bull with two small brass tubes.’ ‘Toro’ is part of a growing collection of wooden animals, joining the likes of Giacomo Moor’s ‘Toucan’ and Giulio Iacchetti’s ‘Whale’.
Writer: Rosa Bertoli
Rising Talents Awards at Maison et Objet
Each year, Maison & Objet invites six legendary creatives to nominate an upcoming designer for the Paris design fair’s Rising Talents series. This January’s selection includes Federica Biasi, chosen by Andrea Branzi; Guglielmo Poletti, chosen by Rossana Orlandi; and Antonio Facco, chosen by Giulio Cappellini. Says Cappellini, ‘Facco’s projects are largely inspired by his observations of the younger generations.’ With a keen interest in industrial and artisanal techniques, Facco’s portfolio includes works for Cappellini, Antolini and Bolon. In Paris, Facco is presenting a new light for Swedish brand Oblure. ‘Mondo’ (pictured with Facco) features a sphere partially obscured by two shades that can be rotated to create different pattern compositions, transforming its aesthetic while controlling the intensity of the light.
Maison & Objet runs from 19-23 January. Photography: Felicity McCabe. Writer: Rosa Bertoli