Mixing it up: O CÉU is a new Eurocentric modern furniture brand

View of the O CÉU stand at the Salone del Mobile exhibition featuring multiple pieces of furniture
O CÉU is a new furniture company that melds the aesthetics of German designer Matthias Lehner with the manufacturing of Portuguese brand Gual
(Image credit: TBC)

In an unusual design collaboration that melds the aesthetics of German designer Matthias Lehner with the manufacturing of Portuguese brand Gual, O CÉU is a new furniture company, launched at Salone del Mobile, that embraces all the best parts of the European design spectrum.

‘The vision for the new brand was driven by the combination of Portuguese heritage and a "New Nordic" design language,’ is the explanation given to us by Lehner, the creative director of O CÉU. This mash-up of northern, western and southern European influences is tricky to make sense of; but it somehow totally works for the inaugural collection. In the hope of bridging the gap between Portuguese and German design, Lehner utilises the countries' cultural heritages, mixing them with Scandinavian minimalism and a strong modernist streak.

Lehner was initially immersed in Gual’s high craft after winning the 'Art on Chairs' design competition in northern Portugal. From there he channelled its traditions – like stone mosaics and intarsia marquetry – throughout the ten-piece collection, which includes tables, chairs and shelving. Lehner also embraced cultural symbols such as the andorinhas – the sweet swallow that artist Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro popularised as a motif for the country – engraving it onto many pieces in the O CÉU collection.

The designer also explains that many of the pieces are imbued with ‘a small sense of irony and humour' – a result, perhaps of Lehner's German design heritage. This aesthetic is spread across our favourites from the range, such as a modernist cabinet bar, 'Douro', that appears as a modular storage box on high legs, but opens to reveal a compact, travel-friendly bar. Equally as quirky, the ‘Olá’ shelving system and graphic ‘Cantina’ benches and stools arrive in contrasting painted wooden hues, from a deep teal to creamy orange, and classic black and white.

Lehner has previously designed for the likes of Vista Alegre and Studio Christian Haas. For O CÉU (Portuguese for ‘the sky’), he explains, he intends to convey a positive, open and joyful vibe, evinced across the curves, patterns and experimental directions of the new collection.

View from above of five O CÉU ‘Cantina’ stools in white, black, red, deep teal and light wood colours

‘The vision for the new brand was driven by the combination of Portuguese heritage and a "New Nordic" design language,’ says creative director Lehner

(Image credit: TBC)

Two side-by-side photos of O CÉU furniture pieces. The first photo is of the deep teal and light wood ’Olá’ shelving unit with various items on it. And the second photo is of the light wood ’Collage’ sideboard with black legs and a top that features multiple compartments

In the hope of bridging the gap between Portuguese and German design, Lehner utilises the countries’ cultural heritages, mixing them with Scandinavian minimalism and a strong modernist streak. Pictured left: ’Olá’ shelving unit. Right: ’Collage’ sideboard

(Image credit: TBC)

View of a round table and two geometric tables from O CÉU featuring marble and ripple-like effects on top in green, white, grey and black

Munich-based Lehner channeled Portuguese traditions like stone mosaics and intarsia marquetry throughout the ten-piece collection

(Image credit: TBC)

Interior view of the Gual manufacturing house featuring light coloured walls, grey floors, large shelving units, lots of wood and workstations

Lehner also embraced cultural symbols such as the andorinhas – the sweet swallow that artist Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro popularised as a motif for the country – engraving it onto many pieces in the O CÉU collection. Pictured: the manufacturing house of Gual

(Image credit: TBC)

Two side-by-side photos of ‘Cantina’ benches by O CÉU. The first photo offers a full view of a deep teal and light wood bench. And the second photo is a close up of a red and light wood bench

The graphic ‘Cantina’ benches and stools arrive in contrasting painted wooden hues, from a deep teal to creamy orange, and classic black and white, imbued with warmth and humour

(Image credit: TBC)

Two side-by-side photos of the black and light wood ’Douro’ cabinet bar by O CÉU. The photos offer different views of the cabinet bar with one photo showing drinks placed inside

A modernist cabinet bar, ’Douro’, appears as a modular storage box on high legs, but opens to reveal a compact, travel-friendly bar

(Image credit: TBC)

INFORMATION

For more information, visit the O CÉU website (opens in new tab)