Back in 2005, Dutch furniture manufacturer Arco invited 12 young designers to create a piece of furniture in response to its archives. The Arco 12 project proved a triumph, spawning the multi-award-winning Slim Table by Bertjan Pot among other pieces now in production, so it's no surprise that Arco should bring the format back for the next instalment. And with Okay Studio's Jorre van Ast now at the creative director helm, it seemed only natural that the London-based design collective should take up the challenge.
Situated in a former piano factory in north east London, Okay Studio is something of a creative hotbed. 'Even though the designers work independently, as a group they really bring out the best in each other,' says van Ast. 'They are all former fellow students, so setting up this workshop with them was a logical step for me.'
Thus he transplanted the designers, including the likes of Peter Marigold, Shay Alkalay and Oscar Narud, to Winterswijk in the Netherlands, where they got together to develop ideas and execute them in Arco's furniture factory. This time around, however, he charged the designers (including himself) to create something completely different to Arco's collection - which largely comprises of tables, chairs and cupboards - bearing in mind the capabilities of the brand's production facilities.
Highlights include Raw-Edges' bread box, featuring a knife that acts as a lever. Once open, the box becomes a board and the knife can be pulled out for use. Then there's Peter Marigold's satisfyingly simple foldable table and his magazine rack on wheels that comes equipped with an arm rest for easy reading. The full fruits of the designers' labour are now on show at Galerie Vivid in Rotterdam, alongside a selection of works from their portfolio.