“Imagine the world of a fly where floor expands in every direction, with no up or down…This is Bolon universe, exclusively a universe of floors: no ceiling, no walls… just floors – a palace for flies…This is the Bolon space where I stand, as in my fantastic dreams without gravity”, is how Jean Nouvel describes his concept for the Bolon flooring exhibition stand.
Meeting Jean Nouvel and talking to him about his concepts and processes was extremely inspirational for me, as it would be for anyone who has attended Architecture school. Nouvel speaks with a calm authority about how he specified some Bolon products for a previous project, and it was this initial contact that lead to the current collaboration; an exhibition stand that challenges gravity as well as the traditional ideas of flooring.
Bolon has long enjoyed a close partnerships with a number of well-known designers within a concept it calls “Designer Friends”. During 2012, Architect Friends will be initiated, Jean Nouvel being the first. The stand it self, does what Nouvel suggests, the wacky placement of life-size replicas of himself dotted around the walls and ceiling. This takes on a whole new dimension when seeing the designer occupy the space also.
Images: Jean Nouvel / Bolon Ab architect friend. Copyright Jonas Lindström ©, All Rights Reserved.
Inga Sempe was the guest of honour at this year’s Stockholm Furniture Fair. A private showcase of her design works took place, this was definitely something to write home about. A stunning room in the Skridskopaviljongen Hotel in Stockholm held host to a handful of design prototypes for all of Inga’s most famed works, which were illuminated beautifully by the lights she also designed, produced by Wastberg. Each shade is equipped solely with a 5W dimmable LED and fitted with a reconfigurable header.
Inga spoke about her work and explained the importance of design process, the charm of the happy accident and the necessity to play with materials and function. She gleams with excitement as she discusses the emphasis mechanics and engineering have on her work. Sempe is very hands on with the producers of her designs; creating pendant lamps that expand with the number of people at your dinner table [Plisse Lamp, produced by Luce Plan, 2009]. Overall, the attention to detail and experimentation was paramount. Seeing her sketchbooks showing the different stages of completion as well as forgotten design decisions made the entire experience somewhat magical.
Swedish design studio Form us With Love presented the exhibition concept Form Us With Friends during Design Week for the third year running, showing new product designs from five manufacturers. The design trio met on a course in product design at Karlmar University, and consists of John Löfgren, Jonas Pettersson and Petrus Palmér. They have a distinctive clear, functional and minimalistic approach. The items showcased at Design Week are perfect examples of this style.
Plaid, room divider for Abstracta (Sweden)
Plaid is a blanket-type sound absorber that can be suspended draped or mounted, depending on the changing needs of the user. The inspiration came from the factory environment, where noise curtains are used to curtail sound travel across the interior landscape. The finished product is more refined than this, made from industrial felt and bonded with PET foam. Plaid can interact with existing structures, fold over metal brackets between desks, be suspended with wires from the ceiling or used in multiple to segregate space in an intimate and flexible way.
Plug Lamp for Ateljé Lyktan (Sweden),
“This was a really simple idea,” says John “We wanted to create a lamp with the added bonus of an electrical socket.” The trio describe the changing needs of electronic users “The first thing you do when you arrive somewhere nowadays is to look for a plug socket” This duality speaks simply of our human reliance on power but presents a simple and attractive solution
Form pendant lamp for Design House Stockholm (Sweden)
Three glass pendants blown in simple, geometric shapes – a circle, a rectangle, and a triangle – is comfortably familiar. “They are simple shapes, but we appreciate that. It doesn’t need to be super crazy” says John. The uniqueness is derived from the interplay between the shapes; the varying combinations and compositions create larger more intricate installations. The consumer decides on the formation, selecting the quantity and variety of the base elements, allowing for thousands of individual assemblages.
Bento chair and table for One Nordic (Finland)
Lego and furniture design are not the most obvious soul mates, but for One Nordic they are the perfect match. Bento was developed as a component-based solution to the high costs associated with preassembles furniture, which the team affectionately refer to as “Legoism” Made from bent birch plywood, the chair and table are playful and modern, but retain links to Nordic design tradition
Slab Vases for Silestone (Spain)
Slab Vases is a conceptual piece featuring rings of Silestone sipped over a metal bracket measuring around 40cm high to produce a watertight vessel. “From our side it was really about being able to handle the material: to feel it, to lift it, to be able to feel the weight,” says Petersson “It’s really meant to be played with. As with Plaid and Form, the user devises their own creation from a combination of set ring components, which vary in size and cut.”
The Form Us With Friends exhibition showed a clear and instructive insight into the design process behind one of Sweden’s most creative design studios, shining a light on the construction process and the relationships with manufactures guides the viewer through the routes normally left unseen.
Words & Images by Gem Barton
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