Tag Archives: furniture

Extraordinary Stories About Ordinary Things

 The Design Museum Collection


To most of us a chair is just a chair. It is an object that is part of our daily life, we use it but we do not pay particular attention, the important thing is that we can sit on it.

But for those aspiring to become a designer already at the University learn to understand that there are several chairs. We actually have so many chairs that one a famous designer said an ironic phrasewe should create a new shape of butt to create another great chair! “.

Chair is the iconic object that every designer, and aspiring designer, dreams to design as his own best. For this reasons, every time a chair has become an icon, it always has a story to tell, that it is also a story about its designer.

Extraordinary Stories About Ordinary Things is an exhibition that shows us how design is so deeply rooted in everyday objects, therefore, is part of our daily life, and so for more than one century. And there is no surprise when we find out that Industrial Design is considered to be “born” when the THONET no.14 was designed in 1859. Precisely…a chair!

Thanks to this exhibition, at the Design Museum from now on there will be the first permanent design collection, that will allow free access to the public in 2015 at the new Design Museum in Kensington.

The showcase is divided in six main areas everyone with one particular focus: Taste, Why We Collect, Icons, Identity & Design, Material & Process and Fashion. Through the exhibition we discover how behind common objects there are unique and wonderful thinking, how designers find ways for applying ideas and technologies to improve our lives.

With Material & Process section we learn how plastic has changed everything, from household items to plastic furniture.

Joe Colombo Materials & Processes

How Icons are crucial in design is demonstrated in its own section, where a panel showcases all of declinations of the Anglopoise Lamp: a single iconic design realised with the same shape but in different materials and manufacture.

The Anglepoise Lamp

Icons The Anglepoise Lamp

In an object we can find an identity of a Nation (Identity & Design) and there is no better way that to admire, one more time, the red phone box. Graphic Design is very important as well, specially about objects that we need to look at every day, and that “tell” us something. The road signs displayed in this section, remind us that we are in UK and not only for the cities names’ on them, but because the road signs themselves are recognised as UK signs, thanks to graphics. As well as the London 2012 logo that identifies a period that is more than a summer that none Briton will never forget.

London 2012 Logo  Identity & Design

Objects needs to absolve a function, primarily, but there was one period where aesthetic was closer to art: “Mezzadro” is an iconic piece by Achille Castiglioni that identifies this period where the process of readymade has been brought from contemporary art to design objects. Michael Marriott, one of the contemporary designers that has got an object in the exhibition is still applying  this vision into his objects. That is why the Why We Collect section is really important: we have a wide cultural and artistic heritage that gives us the chance to reinvent ourselves, and remind us that design products can be versatile and ironic, but functional at the same time.

Michael Marriott Jasper Morrison

Fashion as well can be considered as a field of “everyday objects”: we use clothes on a daily basis, we NEED them. As Deyan Sudjic, director of the design Museum, say, “Fashion is not something which is somehow frivolous, after all”, but a faultless balance of Design’s form and function concept and the economic development through the years in which Fashion fits perfectly. The exhibition shows it through the outfits that fashion collector, Jill Ritblat, donated to the Museum.

Jill Ratblot and his fashion collection Jill Ratblat Collection

Extraordinary Stories About Ordinary Things is now open to public at Design Museum, Shad Thames, London, SE1 2YD.

Opening hours:10.00 – 17.45 daily. Last admission:17.15

Admissions: £10.75 Adult, £9.70 Concessions, £6.50 Students, Under 12s Free

Home 2013 Fair@Earls Court

J-me Black + Blum

Home is a tiny but worthy exhibition held every year in which is possible to find kitchenware, tableware and lighting from little UK company but also main international brands. It is not comparable to Maison & Objet in paris but is a breeding ground for discovering new trends and talents. So here we are and with just a step inside we find the stand of J-me a little London company focused in ironic desk and table organisers. This year they brought their new astonishing products. The “Casa Organiser” promises to keep tidy the things we always forget when we running out from home. A funny bookend, a new version version of the music box shaped tape dispenser with a can for pencils. With the Nibble Coaster they sorted out the typical problem that happens at social event when we collect food and drink but we are unable to taste because both hands are busy to hold. Black + Blum is the second stand we find at Home and is another very interesting UK company that brings great quality product design. Lunch Pot and Box Appetit are a definitive solution to make a delicious meal during your lunch break.

All Lovely Stuff Wacky

Another funny brand of accessories  is Suck UK from London:the objects are really ironic. In the same way comes the tiny and cosy products from All Lovely Stuff . Wacky Practicals has got a line of folding cans in rubber. Interesting ceramic design comes from the leading italian brand Seletti that brings contemporary reinterpretation of archetype pottery, and also from Reiko Kaneko a young talent british-japanese designer. Inspiration from East comes also from Nikination a UK based chinese designer that handmade their ceramic objects in ancient village in China. Keith Brymer Jones has a name for every cup for remembering what we are drinking or maybe who we are.

Seletti Keith Brymer Jones

Another important sector well represented is kitchenware. Rig-Tig is a new Danish brand by Stenton that has got a cleaver design identity showcased with really cosy sketch presentations for their objects. Bojje a UK brand established from a designer and a chef brought the ‘Wild flower’ collection of kitchen utensils in steel and wood. Mode Studio exhibits their new collection inspired from Chemistry labs. Wireworks London for celebrating their 25 years of work brought the new collection to the exhibition. Rokos brought the “13° 60° 104° Wine Decanter” that has won the 2012 Reddot award: the particular shape allows to sit the object in different position and the three concave bases reminds the bottom of bottle of wines. Finally Blomus came to London from Germany with their precision and rigorous design. Droog the well established brand from Amsterdam could not miss the fair and showed some of the latest product as the new iconic hot water bottle and glassware.

Mode Droog

Droog Droog

Blomus Rig-Tig Stelton

Despite the fair has as main focus little objects there was space also for furniture brands. Les Gambettes showed a collection of tables and chairs that looks like a 50’s come back to school, John Rook a desk that could be the one of the teacher. Amy Whitworth brought the Qubis Haus an award winning coffee table that moving sliding panels could become a doll house. SCP an important collective that as already exhibited at design week in Milan last year shows the new products by Fort StandardRob RyanFaudet HarrisonKay + Stemmer and Terrence Woodgate: furniture, tableware, fabric stools. Another Country exhibits their own wooden furniture collection and a selection of ceramics tableware. Thelermont Hupton that we have already seen at Design Junction in September showed objects designed combining primary forms and primary colours with a nice effect of simplicity and highlighting the functionality.

Another Country Home 2013

On the sector of lighting the trend is to realize lamps with bottle shape and put on table or hanging to ceiling:we found at the stand of Authentics and also at Droog.       Droog Authentics

Fuorisalone in Milan #007# “MOST”

The English crew this year has exhibited in a very unusual space: a museum. The National Museum of Science and Technology “Leonardo Da Vinci“, that I admit I never see in four years of my experience in Milan. So, come back in the city for the design week and discovered this place was great, I spent a while downstair, close to alumni of a schooltrip, watching life cycle of products and histories of materials. The venue remember us how human knowledge is huge and how during historic era the manufacturing is changed in more complex approach and automated way. There was the first industrial revolution, began in Britain in the textile and mettalurgic sector, with the in introduction of the steam engine. The second industrial revolution gained with the advent of electricity, chemicals and oil is considered to be the era of mass production with the formula of assembly line. Today the presence of humans in the traditional process has become less and less because the automated machines are doing in a more efficient way the “hard” job. We are able to produce an object in thousands of pieces at day with just few workers. In the design field, the sector with a target market very specific, this is not always a good thing. Experimentation and customization are value that are leading design and as we know the development of a new product costs thousands of pounds. Produce a mould is often too expensive for experimentation or short production. In the last decade with computer simulation and prototypes the process has got reliable tools for assuring that we can run the final step. Today, here we are, the machines that we use for prototyping are becoming suitable for industrial process. CnC milling, laser cut, 3D printer are developing in the direction of being used with materials for final products, and fast change of file submitted to be done.


At MOST we have an example with the event “The Great Stamp Giveaway”, which 400 lamps and 86 chairs have been manufactured during the fair by the TruPunch 3000, a machine that works without producing scrap skeleton. The machine works with CAD system that allow to program it with production drawings created in a quite simply way and analyzed and corrected by the system itself. The objects were made by metal sheet and gift away to the exhibition visitors in a flat pack. The visitor themselves have bended the sheets and have created their own design lamps. The role of the man, in this third industrial revolution, is all about the creation, the manufacturing is delegated to automated machines, and we are going towards much more individualised production than standard mass manufacturing. Tom Dixon, over than offer a vision of the future, has shown his latest projects in “Luminosity”. Fin series includes obround and round lamps and a light table which the functional elements are the structure and the shape  themselves of the object. Etch, a series of candle holder and pendant light, comes from metal sheet bended after an industrial process used to produce electronic parts that allows to cut patterns directly on the material. Etch light web is a lamp that  projects shadows owing by the unique structure designed of irregular pentagons, in anodised alluminium trough a process digital photo-acid etching.


Another interesting showcase at MOST was “Transnatural” where nature and technology are fused together for creating objects. The tree bench by Floris Wubben is composed by the seating in a wavy polypropylene attached with metal rods to the structure made by a wooden branch. As a consequence, the shape of the polypropylene is given by the shape of the branch. “Organic Factory” a collection of benches and stools by Ruben Thier are one off objects comes from industrial process. The liquid plastic overproduction that is dripping down from the machine is directly collected in molds that will be the seatings of benches and stools. The aim of the designer is to show  the amount of “waste” is captured in furniture. As he declares the collection is growing, because production never stand still. The furniture comes with a serial number containing date, factory and machine.


Faye Toogood, a designer and stylist based in London, has showcased the Spade Chair. The lines and the shape of the object remember me the style of Giò Ponti, one of the master of italian design. The chair has a light weight and despite the thin structure is also comfortable. The designer declares to be inspired by rural life in the English countryside and the Spade is the juxtaposition of a three-legged milking stool and the handle of a gardening implement. At the Designersblock hub this year we saw Curl design by Constanze Schweda, a collection of one off table made by a single sheet of steel and cut and drawn in shape applying the Japanese art of Kirigami, usually for paper, to the steel.

by Filippo

And speaking about the Dignersblock…

Most of us, in our daily life, are been bothered by the time for the entire day. We are completely slaves of it: one hour lunchtime, timetables to follow, always in a rush because of the time. We don’t even notice how much we are influenced by time and the funny thing is that it is something that actually does not exists, it is something we “created” to have the situation under control, to live under a universal rule that we called time.
Myself first: I constantly live under the pressure of the time without thinking that it is up to me decide to slow down a bit and think about what I am doing and where I am, or to pay attention to something else but the time.
The Sasa Clock could represent a reminder for the most of us who live thier lives chasing the time instead of stop for a moment and think about that we are running because of something immaterial.
This necklace clock is, in fact, a long necklace of wooden beads placed over a turning carousel. As the carousel rotates, a bead slips down the cord every 5 minutes, the last bead to have dropped indicates the time.
As they told me when they showed me the product in Milan, part of Designersblock at MOST, during the Salone del Mobile, the Sasa Clock represents a particular way to live the time: “sometimes we need to completely liberate ourselves from the clock”, in this case, simply remove the necklace from the engine and wer it as a necklace.
Well..despite everything, personally I can’t stop to look at my clock and run for all the day, but at least DESTES clock by Thorunn Arnadottir gave us a nice and intelligent solution of how to look at the time, and if for a while we want to slow down we can literally “take our time”.
We will never stop the running time, but it is always up to us to live it in a different way.


More abou DESTES design.

by Anna D.

Fuorisalone in Milan #005# Ventura Lambrate

Ventura Lambrate district exhibition is the youngest in Milan Design Week not only because is the third edition but also for age exhibitors and public. The fresh air in this part of Milan is something was missing in the city where big brands names and establishes designers have taken all the scene. The exhibition here is different and proposes a different approach of designers. Is another point of view of Milan that departs from the suburb and calls designers from all over the world. The TLV collective from Israel focuses their researches in the use of raw materials such as the stools of Itai Bar On made in concrete with an innovative ending technology or the cups of Galia Tammuz derived from an extruded tube in clay and pressed in a point. “The Happy Misfits” by Rutger de Regt  is a collection of seats where each piece is unique thanks to the very particular making off ( a nice video provided by the designer could be found at this link http://vimeo.com/22625048) .  A balloon is used as a mold and its shape is forced to transform by restriction.When the shape is defined the balloon is filled with styrofoam pearls. Another nice work of this designer based in The Hague is “Make and Mold” furniture series made from an industrial process where a first shape is obtained by a mold and finished in a DIY production process that gives unique pieces. “NightShop” a collaboration between Ward van Gemert and Adriaan van der Ploeg produces P.O.V. (Point of View) vase. The object shows another way of using plastic despite from industrial process, which the surface create a joke of prospective when the viewer walks around it. Another designer experimented with materials and provided objects with soft convex shape is Jessica Carnevale an american designer based in London that has shown Puffy collection. The Rhode Island School of Design has brought her students to Milan with “Transformations” a concept showcases where the products are made by objects usually used for others purposes. Emblematic is the work of Katie Stout that have designed a table made by plastic fast-food trays or the lamp of  Tyson Atwell made by terracotta flowerpots. This part of the city fair demonstrates that design is alive and how designers are going on with experimentations and how the industrial process could be not a final stage but a point of start.

For a general vision of the district http://www.venturaprojects.com/

Other interesting exhibitions in Ventura Lambrate has been described by Anna, Another Terra.

All the contents, projects and ideas are under the copyrights of their respective owners.


Fuorisalone in Milan #003# – Tortona Design Week

As every year the point of start in the design week is Via Tortona. You will come at the underground station in Porta Genova and you will cross the green bridge seeing all the new stickers reminding this is the week in Milan. The street shows how the city routine has changed during these days where courtyards, little shops, garages, hotels have been transformed in exhibition stands with the latest layouts. Walking through the first showcases you will be intrigued from the melting pot of arts, marketing advertisers and cocktail proposals and after that passing the big traffic roundabout, thinking how italians are ingenious in parking, you will arrive at Superstudio where takes place the must be seen exhibition. Temporary Museum for New Design is a project by Gisella Borioli and the artistic direction of Giulio Cappellini that involve world-famous brands alongside  international designers in showcase that rages over from installations, art, furniture and performance. At the stand of Ngispen, The Amateur Masters series by Canadian designer Jerszy Seymour shows how a project, started from a classic design chair produced in series, transforms that in unique pieces with 100% biodegradable material the polycaprolactone wax. As the designer himself declares the concept is to get away from industrial process and come back hand-made methods. It is also a political statement in a consumerist world where everything we need is already created what we need is to reshape the existing systems. After years of experimentation, solid surfaces are became an important material in the panorama of design industry. Cristalplant® & Poliform with an installation of interactive 3D holograms by Carlo Colombo have shown projects with special mention of their design contest. All projects has been designed in Cristalplant® material and the claim of the contest was to show the characteristics of the solid surface 100% made in Italy. LG, famous worldwide in electronics sector, have developed HI-MACS® an acrylic solid surface. An interior kitchen design has been showed at Superstudio 13. The particularity was the use of material that allows to cover the surfaces of the appliance creating a new aesthetic of the ambient with continuity all over the spaces.  DuPont™, the first leading industry have developed his own solid surface Corian®, have had their own exhibition in Tortona Design Week. “Corian® Colour Evolution” in which DuPont™ presented its renewed colour palette of high-tech surface, showed the projects realized in this material by four furnishing firms. One of these was the “Leftover” collection by Rabih Hage. In industrial productions the sheets of material are cut mainly for realizing top surfaces, Rabih Hage took the leftover material and has reused this for designing the furniture collection. A nice quality of the material is that scraps, also in different colours, can be glued together by liquid Corian® and the object has manufactured in one piece without junctions or external components. The interpretation of the properties of the material is clear in the shape of the design of the chair and the table that have been sanded after the gluing, on the seat and on the top, the functional parts, but left rough on the other side. Another nice exhibition was at Opificio 31 by Tuttobene, a Dutch organisation for talented and innovative designers. One of these comes from Earnest Studio that has displayed a collection of stools where two very different materials formed a single object without using glue but just the foam which envelops in the wood. Another fresh talent is Marleen Jansen that has designed the object we would like to designed too: a table with a see-saw seating connected each others such as the game in the playground. More than the funny thing there is also the thought of the contemporary era of living fast discarding the good manners, in specific getting up during the dinner leaving alone the table companion.

For a general vision of the district www.tortonadesignweek.com

All the contents, projects and ideas are under the copyrights of their respective owners.