On the opening day of the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) at the Javits Center, AN sat down with Christian Rasmussen, the head of design for Fritz Hansen, to discuss the company's design strategies, its philosophy on collaboration, and to test out the new Favn and Ro seating that has just been released in the U.S. What are your impressions of ICFF? It's getting better every year and I'm seeing more interesting stuff. I was surprised last year and this one is even better. Last month we were in Milan but it's so big. I like that ICFF is more focused and offers a tighter overlook. You can spend more time in each booth as opposed to Milan where you have to move very fast to see everything. Overall it's really positive. How are the new releases being shown at ICFF this year significant for Fritz Hansen? We just released the Ro chair, which means tranquility in Danish. We wanted to design a chair where you could sit down and create your own atmosphere in the midst of this hectic life. Similarly, this sofa by Jaime Hayon, Favn, means embrace because its like two hands cradling you. Danish is a small language, spoken only by five million people, so it's nice to use these [names]. Denmark has a long history of furniture design and we've been a part of it since 1872. [Design] is really part of our culture and at Fritz Hansen we've helped create some of that identity. The reason we pick the Danish names, in addition to the fact that its hard to name a piece, is that it's its nice to [hear other languages] interpret the names in their own way. How would you describe the releases? You can divide our work into new and classic categories. I'm really happy with the Ro chair, because its close to the Egg Chair but it's still its own. It's like a cousin; they're very clearly related. It's very important to draw a red line between the past and present but still keep some of that design DNA. It's part of our philosophy to stand on the shoulders of the classics. We have a number of design values we follow very carefully to make sure we're on the right track in the design process. What constitutes good design for you personally? It is many, many things. To me, it's important that it's original and brings something new to the world. It should surprise you positively, and hopefully provoke a little, too. That depends on the brand, of course, but personally I like it to challenge me, particularly when it's based on an original idea and that comes across in the product. It also needs to last. Design-wise it shouldn't be too fashionable and you have to balance quality with design for longevity. If it's too fashionable it'll go out really quickly, kind of like clothing. For furniture, a lot of energy goes into it and it would be hard to spend on quality if people didn't keep the chair for years. We can't guarantee how long it'll be held but [of course] that's our ambition. I like things that are fashionable but it's not always simpatico. It has to be thought of in a longer perspective. The world is flooded with a lot of bad products and so we launch only one collection a year. But I like that; I'd rather launch something I believe in than launch 20 new products a year [and have to discontinue] half [of them] later. That is the company philosophy—our products should have a long lifespan. Is there a designer or architect you'd really like to work with? We spend a lot of energy and time getting to know designers before we work with them so we understand how to best release their creative potential. That's the most important thing for me. When they feel comfortable they can perform well. Our external collaborations should [last longer], like with Jaime [Hayon]. Working with a new designer each year wouldn't make sense [for us]. It's also about chemistry. He's a fantastic guy—50 percent artist and 50 percent designer—so he comes from a very different background with a different approach. It's a good challenge for our view and we have great design discussions. There has to be mutual respect to lift [the relationship] to a new level altogether. In that sense, it has been a great partnership. Additionally, some of the best interpretations of Danish design history come from abroad. Jamie isn't afraid of going close to our heritage. Which designers do you admire? The Boroullec Brothers are really clever and I admire them. They are very skilled. And I also admire Jamie because of his ability to combine art and design. He's really creative and I've never met anyone like him. He can zoom in and out, [thinking] abstractly one second and very organized the next. Its a very unique combination of control and open-mindedness on an abstract level. Some designers are strong only conceptually or otherwise, but he's balanced. He spends lots of time prototyping with us and I think that's different from other manufacturers. We want them to spend time with us because it needs to be a Fritz Hansen piece and a Jaime Hayon piece. The product should be born and raised in Fritz Hansen. The process is really important. That's what is different for us. Jamie has said working with us in Copenhagen is like doing yoga. When he started with the sofa, he was frustrated with the pace [at which we work] but he's learned to enjoy the process. We believe at the end of the day it makes a good piece. What are some of your plans for the future of Fritz Hansen? We'll focus more on laminate wood as we haven't done in a while. We understand that material and process well, so in a few years you'll see more experiments with laminated wood. We will make upholstered furniture, too, of course! We'll also be looking into new materials and technologies where you can create value but still support timeless design. The state of the materials can really make long lasting products. Right now, we 3d print legs and things like that for prototyping. Maybe in five or 10 years everything will change, so we're looking into it for larger production. It's the future and it will change everything. We will also collaborate with Jamie moving forward but there's more in the pipeline. We have a huge catalogue so maybe we'll reinterpret some of the classics. It's all about timing and making pieces relevant for today. What's one of your favorite parts of visiting New York? Walking to the Javits Center along the Highline.
Posts tagged with "Furniture":
The 25th edition of the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) opened on Saturday, May 19, with approximately 500 exhibitors from around the world showing their wares to the design community. In addition to smaller designs studios from Brooklyn, New York to Portland, Oregon, international designers from Belgium, Spain, Italy, Norway, Japan, and Haiti were also onsite with all manner of interior products. The fair closes on May 21, and is open to the public on the final day. LA2 Two 3Form LightArt A sanitary alternative to silk pendant shades, Two features 3Form's Varia Ecoresin—made of 40 percent preconsumer recycled content—formed around a fabric layer for greater ease of cleanability. The pendant comes fully enclosed with top and bottom diffusers for LED components that also feature dimming capabilities. Wall Stool Bennett Bean The Wall Stool is not just a clever product name: When not in use, the matte aluminum stool can be hung artfully on a lacquered metal shelf that matches its glossy interior finish. The stool measures 18-1/2 inches tall by 19 inches wide, with a depth of 13 inches. Atikka Blanco A new addition to Blanco's SteelArt sinks, Attika is formed from a single sheet of stainless steel and folded into shape, eliminating all seams, and is then hand polished. It measures 26 inches wide, 17 inches in length, and 10 inches deep. The Original and Svelto Collections Ercol Exhibiting for the first time in the U.S. at ICFF, the London-based, 93-year-old company is known for its work in elm, oak, ash, and beech. Shown at the furniture fair were Lucian Ercolani designs from the 1950s, as well as pieces from its newer Svelto collection. Maxwell Lounge & Ottoman Benjamin Klebba for Phloem Studio Inspired by Sam Maloof's wood and upholstered lounge chairs, the Maxwell Lounge & Ottoman is made in Portland, Oregon from North American timber and Maharam upholsteries, or is available COM. The chair's dimensions measure 28 inches tall, 25 inches wide, and 24 inches deep. The ottoman measures just 12 1/2 inches at maximum height, for discreet stowing beneath the seat of the chair. 3:1 Table TJ O'Keefe This powder-coated steel trio can be nested as a colorful occasional table or separated into its angular components. As an assembled cube, the table's dimensions measure 18 inches on all sides. Kokon Variér This Thomas Pederson-designed lounge chair swivels a full 360 degrees and can be locked into a fully reclined position. Available in a variety of fabric or leather upholsteries, the cross stitch detail can be specified in a matching or contrasting thread color. The chrome base comes standard.
Patrizia Moroso, art director at Moroso, recently chatted with AN about her impressions of ICFF, working with Patricia Urquiola, and the design house's plans for New York Design Week. What are your impressions of ICFF? It is something very important for the U.S. and for New York. For me, around the fair and outside the pavilions, there's a lot organized in town. The fair is growing. For example, Milan [Furniture Fair] has become so important these years. In Milano, we have something like 3,000 events around design week but this means that people are excited. Now, New York is becoming something like this. You have so much happening around it. The interest and the dialogue between the institutions and the companies and firms can carry on in and around the fair. What is Moroso doing for ICFF? It takes place one month after Milano, so we usually present a few of those releases, [since] that is the big show for us. It's natural to present what we've done in Milano but with another special twist. This year we're transforming the space for Patricia [Urquiola] and in the window [overlooking Greene Street] we're showing the things we've done for Patricia and Kvadrat. We were talking months before the fair so we decided to do something together. Fabric is great for upholstery and we have an installation that was amazing for me. We won an important award in Milano and are happy to say we were the winners this year, so we can show just a glimpse of that here in New York. Because the installation was so big—it took 10 days to install in the [Milan] space—it was not easy to reproduce. Some [challenges were] material, some immaterial. But the exhibition we had [there] was not possible to reproduce here. How did you start working with Patricia Urquiola? About 14 years ago, she was just starting in the design profession. She was managing projects in another big studio in Milano but her name wasn't attached [to her work], as it happens a lot with young designers. A common friend called me to tell me about her; "She's a young designer who's ready to tell her own story. I think you'll be perfect match." I saw her work and energy, and we started working together [pretty much] right away. We are good friends and work together a lot. We are sharing many things, even outside of our profession. Our lives are very intertwined. Is there anything special about showing in New York? The mood here is very happy and bright. It's spring here, [so with the] flowers [in the window] we're trying to recreate that feeling. We painted the showroom in all bright colors, just like space in Milano and we are carrying a mood that we started in Italy. What you see in the window are prototypes that we are presenting but are not yet in production. These are really new things. For example, we are showing our new sofa system, MASSAS, an acronym for Moroso Asymmetric Sofa System Adorably Stitched. Its massive and delicate at once: it's not a common piece of furniture. The other things we will present is our new fabric collection in new colors. Everything is coordinated with the new colors and flowers because the collection is happy. It's not feminine but the approach is very sweet. We want to be optimistic and joyful. For us, it's a new style. What is your favorite thing about coming to New York? The energy, the air—it sparkles! You can come on a rainy day but the morning after everything twinkles. There's something about it. You walk the streets and you're happy. The air in your face is sweet; maybe it's the ocean? The light? It's the atmosphere. If you sit at a cafe and see the people walking, you can see the planet in an hour. You see all the nations here. That, for me, is incredible. When you put all the different people together you have a fantastic melting pot here in the city. It's the power of humanity. I really hope to work more in a country like this, that I love so much. The possibilities here are grand. I really like the thinking here. I meet a lot of architects and designers and everyone is so special. Things are moving fast, projects are growing, it's all very interesting. There's lots of energy in terms of thinking, too. It's all very positive and fast paced.
AN had boots on the ground at the 2013 Milan Furniture Fair, taking the air and parsing the differences. This year saw an abundance of collaborations between furniture designers and architects. What follows is the second half of our greatest hits, everything from modular shelving and sleek hardware to design-forward consoles and practical seating. View even more architect-designed furniture from Milan in the first section of our roundup here. Parrish Collection Emeco In conjunction with its collaboration with Konstantin Grcic on the mobile interiors of the new Parrish Art Museum, Emeco released the Parrish Collection of modular indoor–outdoor chairs and tables. Chairs are available with three recycled aluminum frame designs that can be combined into four seat options, including one made of locally sourced wood from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Ovetto Wallsystem FLOS Continuing his collaboration with Flos, Antonio Citterio designed the new Ovetto wall light for functional up- and down-lighting on walls. The light can be mounted on a rosette or in its own socket. Other additions to the Wallsystem collection include a long-necked Minikelvin design and Disco, a pivoting head that allows for adjustable directional lighting. Tools for Life Knoll Celebrating 75 years of design at this year’s Salone, Knoll introduced its new Tools for Life collection designed by Rem Koolhaas’ practice, OMA. The twelve-piece collection is designed to facilitate the flow between office and social life with adjustable tables and consoles available in a range of Knoll finishes. Dream Chair Carl Hansen & Son Pritzker Prize–winning Japanese architect Tadao Ando and Carl Hansen & Son teamed up to pay tribute to Danish furniture designer Hans Wegner, one of Ando’s own influences. Designed with a single piece of bent plywood atop a bent plywood base, the chair is also available in oak and American walnut with optional leather upholstery. Stack Shelving Paustian Designed by professor and architect Anders Brix, Paustian’s Stack shelving system is made up of stacking elements that lock into each other, allowing the shelves to be assembled without tools. Elements are available in six colors and are easily reconfigured based on evolving needs at home or at the office. ColoRing Collection Schemata Architects Young Tokyo-based architect Jo Nagasaka, founder of Schemata Architects, reinterprets the traditional technique of Udukuri, in which a wood surface is polished to reveal its coarse grain pattern, applying bright paint leftover from construction sites before polishing the surface smooth. The collection includes a variety of tables, chairs, benches, and stools.
Goetz Composites fabricated the Granoff Collection of modular furniture for a new Diller, Scofidio + Renfro-designed building at Brown University.Brown University’s Granoff Center for the Creative Arts, completed by Diller, Scofidio + Renfro in 2010, was a direct result of the institution’s studies on how students and faculty interact today. Since most interdisciplinary exchanges were taking place in stairwells over classrooms, the architects designed a central escalier with five landings where the school’s population could meet among rotating student installations. One year after the building opened, the users realized that something was missing on the escalier: a place to sit. To rectify the situation, graduate students from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) collaborated with Brown alumni to design a unique collection of furniture named for the building’s patrons, Perry and Marty Granoff. The alumni designers—Taylor McKenzie-Veal, Scot Bailey, Ian Stell, and Yumi Yoshida—crafted a line of modular furniture that includes a sofa, a chair, and a table that doubles as a stool. The line caters to local industry in materiality; namely the state’s maritime history. “The boating and composite expertise in Rhode Island has a long-standing history of excellence and [we] consulted and collaborated with a local composites and engineering firm while developing and prototyping the design,” said McKenzie-Veal. Bristol, Rhode Island-based Goetz Composites worked to realize the designers’ vision for a flexible line of furniture that could be used in various configurations. The sofa, for example, is constructed from a large corner section, a small corner section, and a small center section that can be pulled apart and put together in whatever way the user wishes. “The designers had a very specific look in mind, both in texture and color,” said Chase Hogoboom, president of Goetz Composites. “A lot of time and effort was spent working with the designers to develop the [fabrication] process and achieve the results they were looking for.” To develop a prototype, the design team gave Hogoboom three-dimensional Rhino files outlining each section’s shape and dimensions. The fabricator used RhinoCAM to program the form and a CNC mill to cut medium density fiberboard to the exact shape specified by the designers’ files. “There were very strict requirements for the radius of the edges,” said Hogoboom. Additionally, the design schematic called for two A surfaces, so the front and back of the sofa had to be identical. Once the designers approved the prototype, the fabricators used a custom CNC-cut tool to make the shells of the furniture sections from fiber reinforced plastic (FRP). “The furniture was built for an institutional environment, so it needs to withstand heavy use from students, staff, and visitors,” explained Hogoboom. “Based on the profile of the pieces, it had to be low and streamlined, and we were able to achieve that through the materials we used.” Once the FRP was cut, the fabricator wet sanded—with 1,200 grit—and buffed the sections. Linear polyurethane—air craft-quality paint—was applied in crayon-inspired hues and the sections were bolted into metal frames with integrated cleats. The series is finished off with bright cushions from local upholsterer AJ Read. The sofa is currently on display in Milan as part of the exhibition, Risk and Certainty in Uncertain Times, curated by RISD president John Maeda, and will travel to the States for New York’s Design Week in May.
Architect and designer Christian Wassmann explores the interaction between geometric forms and the space we inhabit in a new exhibit, 5 Platonic Objects, presented at R 20th Century Gallery. The show features five objects—such as a pillow or vase—that are inspired by each of the platonic solids: tetrahedron, hexahedron, octahedron, icosahedron, and dodecahedron. Wassermann, born in Switzerland, opened up his own practice in New York City in 2006. His works runs the gamut from furniture and installations to architecture and interiors, which has included Robert Wilson’s Byrd Hoffman Watermill Foundation, East Village Radio, and an apartment and private showroom for Lisson Gallery. The exhibition is on view March 5th through April 20th.
To benefit the victims of Hurricane Sandy, New York City designers are hosting a furniture auction, selling pieces made from the storm’s reclaimed materials. The silent auction, Reclaim NYC, is organized by AN alumna Jennifer Krichels Gorsche, writer Jean Lin, and designer Brad Ascalon will sell the work of more than twenty artists who have all pledged to donate proceeds to the American Red Cross in Greater New York. The pieces range from tables and chairs to lighting fixtures to art objects. Some designers have even represented themes of the storm and flooding in their work and will continue to include these themes in upcoming work. Reclaim NYC will take place on December 19 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Ligne Roset’s SoHo showroom, located at 155 Wooster Street. Participating Designers as of December 4, 2012:
|Lindsey Adelman Brad Ascalon Dror Benshetrit Bittersweets Elodie Blanchard Bec Brittain Kevin Michael Burns Evan Clabots DMFD Joe Doucet Fort Standard Dan Golden||Danny Greenfield Stephane Hubert Brian McGowan Kiel Mead Daniel Moyer Brendan Mullins Shannon South Suzanne Tick Uhuru UM Project Alex Valich VOLK Furniture|
Herman Miller launched their Select Program in 2008 to offer their customers an extra way to connect with the brand and enhance their collections with limited edition pieces. As part of their 2012 program, Herman Miller is offering the Eames Wire Base Low Table (also referred to as the LTR table) in three special colors on sale now until Spring 2013, when production will end. You might be asking yourself what's so special about red, yellow and blue that gives the beloved wire base tables limited edition status. Ray Eames, who many acknowledge for her gift of using color and for her reintroduction of bright color choices into the home, studied under abstract expressionist Hans Hoffman, whose bold blocks of primary colors had a clear influence on her. To celebrate Ray's 100th birthday this year, Herman Miller chose to release the LTR table in her three favorite colors, cobalt blue, red-orange and yellow gold, which she used for the exterior panels of the Case Study House #8 she and Charles designed. Eames fans who can't afford to collect their properties can at least take home a part of their inspiration with the LTR table. And for young furniture collectors just starting out, the LTR is a great place to begin. The Wire Base Low Tables, first introduced in 1950, are veneered in ash, treated with a rich aniline stain with a corresponding powder coated wire base. They're available for $294.
We've all seen space-saving furniture at work in micro-miniature apartments that demand militant organization and fastidious housekeeping. We ooh and ahh at the bed that's also a sofa that's also a writing desk that folds up and gets tucked away into a narrow panel in the wall. But unless you have an ecclesiastical devotion to sweeping and vacuuming daily, there are very few who are capable of living like that, although many of us have apartments small enough to warrant such behavior. Still, there's another way. We don't love everything in their collection, but overall Milano Smart Living has a surprisingly attractive line of quality, space-saving furniture. If you've been to any of the bigger design shows this year you've probably seen the sofa/bunk bed in action, but we'd like to call your attention to the Minuetto table, which transitions from a thin side table to a full dining table along aluminum rails that allow you to 'stretch' the table long enough to seat ten people comfortably. No, this isn't going to be your daily dining table, but for square footage-deprived city dwellers it's a great option. As someone who jerry-rigged a dinner table for six last Christmas out of plastic crates and a large sheet of sanded and stained plywood, a transitional table like the Minuetto would have been a god send. Dinner went fine, by the way, but I was nervous during the whole meal that one errant, too-firm slice into a plate of winter squash might send the entire contraption to the floor. Milano Smart Living's CEO Gideon Beck touted Minuetto as an example of the company's new line of crafty furniture for close quarters. "What’s most impressive," he said, "is when people actually get to operate the multiple functions and realize how much time, space and headaches this furniture can save them.” You can test it out for yourself at Milano Smart Living's new showroom in the New York Design Center, where they also have their electronically transitioning furniture and lesser known pieces, like the combination pool table/dining table.
Ever since Michael Thonet established Gebrüder in 1819, the brand has been at the forefront of mass producing the now iconic bentwood and tubular steel furniture by designers from the Bauhaus era as well as contemporary designers and architects, as well as Thonet himself, of course. Gebrüder is not only one of the oldest modern design brands and manufacturers, it's also one of the few that are still family owned and managed. The 5th generation of Thonet's (Michael's great-great-grandchildren) currently run the company in Germany, but a few days ago they announced their new partnership with M2L to distribute classics like Mart Stam's chrome-plated cantilevered chair and the Vienna coffee house chair that started it all to the US market. Yes, it's a little crazy to think that a brand like Gebrüder hasn't had direct US distribution in its nearly 200 year history, but better late than never. M2L has a thirty year reputation for distributing the quality craftsmanship and time-honored work of designers like Alvo Aalter, Walter Gropius, Eero Aarino as well as contemporary talents, including Patrick Norguet, Norman Foster and Pearson-Lloyd. Here are a few of our favorites from the Gebrüder T 1819 collection. Marcel Breuer's tubular steel desk (S 285). We want these with the matching cantilever chairs with a wood-framed wicker back and seat (S 32) for our office. Christian Lepper and Roland Schmidt's comfortable yet structured ergonomic lounge chair and ottoman (S 850, S 853) in oak-stained molded plywood and black leather. Naoto Fukasawa's solid wood 130 chair (available in oak, beech or stained, with or without arms) is all grown up yet fun and lively, too.
We have lounges, chaises, day beds and a range of other seating options designed for nesting, curling up, reclining and relaxing, yet the rocking chair, that front porch symbol of lazy day languor, has been mostly forgotten by modern design. In fact, Design House Stockholm, the self-described publishing house for contemporary Scandinavian design, noted that "at some time in the 20th century the design development of the rocking chair stopped" altogether. With that in mind, Stockholm-based furniture designer Fredrik Färg created Rock Chair, a rocking chair that "continues the traditional rocking chair's comforting function but in a modern design." Rock Chair is made from five pieces (plus two leather cushions) that are shipped in a flat pack and assembled like puzzle pieces, easily fitting together without the need for any screws or nails. The simplicity is a result of a class assignment Färg had to create a chair using only MDF and a jig saw. Instead of feeling constrained, he made the simplified construction the chair's most expressive feature. Available from Design House Stockholm in black and white with cushions in natural or black.
The American Style: Colonial Revival and the Modern Metropolis Museum of the City of New York 1220 Fifth Avenue Through October 30 Following the U.S. Centennial of 1876, architecture in New York City was defined by what was known as “the American style,” a visual language referencing both the nation’s nostalgia for its beginnings and its progressive aspirations. A new exhibition reveals the impact of Colonial Revival on the cityscape through vintage photographs and objects like a 1926 mahogany settee by the Company of Master Craftsmen, whose volutes reflect a resurgence in classicism that is the trademark of the Colonial.