April 30, 2012

Living Divani Salone del Mobile 2012

Living Divani introduced some new pieces last week at the Salone del Mobile that we are very excited about.

We have below video footage taken of Living Divani's stand at the Salone del Mobile 2012 as well as images taken of the new pieces.  Enjoy!

Rod and Rod XL, sofa, bench, and armchair collection, designed by Piero Lissoni.

Rabbit and the Tortoise, table collection, designed by Studio Juju.

Stack table designed by Nathan Young.

B2 coffee table designed by Victor Vasilev.

April 25, 2012

Vaudeville Furniture Fair Spirit Brings Italy Out of Its Funk

by Alice Rawsthorn

MILAN - Some things are best left to the professionals - plumbing, laparoscopic surgery, supramolecular chemistry, dentistry. Judging by Lenny Kravit's attempt to cast himself as a rock star-turned-designer at the Milan Furniture Fair last week, furniture design may be among them.

Covering a Philippe Starck chair with a couple of fake python skins and animal pelts doth not great design make, although it can be promotional triumph, as Mr. Kravitz ("the Kanye West of design," as one wag dubbed him) demonstrated when his efforts for the Milanese furniture manufacturer, Kartell, were splashed across the Italian media. But it says a great deal about the fair, which is the biggest event of the year for Milan and the global design scene, that his project was by no means the silliest thing in it.

There was tough competition for that. One young designer staged an "Occupy My Sofa" show, presumably unaware that the anti-capitalist activists in the Occupy movement might object to this name being used to flog furniture. The French architect Jean Nouvel inexplicably chose to display several life size statues of himself in an installation for the Swedish flooring company Bolon. And the Dutch artist Joep van Lieshout of Atelier Van Lieshout picked "WWIII" (yes, as in World War III) as the title of an exhibition of his industrial design projects.

It was all part of the Fair's vaudeville spirit and a welcome respite from Italy's economic problems and the furniture industry's financial woes. A pleasant outcome of the economic squeeze was the chance to enter some of the grander historic buildings in Milan, whose owners had hitherto rebuffed offers to rent them during the fair, including the ornate 18th-century Palazzo Clerici, where the Italian design magazine Domus staged an exhibition of the new production technologies beneath the Tiepolo frescoes. The experimental design scene, which recently emerged in the Ventura-Lambrate area of the northeastern Milan, is now imperiled by the Furniture Fair's equivalent of gentrification. It has become so expensive to show there that many of the young designers have been replaced by corporate exhibitors, including the retail giant Ikea.

Part of the "Future in the Making" exhibit organized by Domus at Palazzo Clerici.

This was not a vintage Milan Furniture Fair. There were relatively few landmark products, and at times the splashy events staged by technology companies, car manufacturers and cosmetics brands threatened to overpower those of the furniture makers. Yet there were plenty of intriguing developments, and many of them came from small, often family-owned, manufacturers that operate as industrial artisans by focusing on specific materials or production techniques.

Typical is Mattiazzi, an Italian company founded and run by two brothers, Nevio and Fabiano, that specializes in wooden furniture. They produced the most compelling chair of the fair, the Medici, with the German designer Konstantin Grcic. Known for his technocratic design style, Mr. Grcic originally trained as a cabinet maker and returned to his roots for the Medici, which he conceived as a low chair made from wooden planks in an imposing shape, with the grain of the wood clearly visible.

Similarly, the Japanese porcelain maker Arita developed Color Porcelain, a beautiful series of plates, bowls, teapots and vases designed by the Dutch group Scholten and Baijings, whose work is dominated by their use of color. Their characteristic combination of vivid hues with sugary pastels looked exquisite in Arita's luscious porcelain.

The color Porcelain collection at the Milan Furniture Fair, designed by Scholten and Baijings for the Japanese porcelain maker Arita.

Another Italian family company, Salvatori, which works with marble and stone, pulled off one of the technical coups of the fair, with the Israeli designer Ron Gilad, by coaxing Carrera marble into improbably curvaceous shapes for the aptly named Soft Marble series of benches. The marble in one piece, the Girella, curls around like a biscotto arrotolato, the Italian version of a Swiss roll.

Soft Marble series of benches designed by Ron Gilad for Salvatori.

One of the most appealing fringe exhibitions, Japan Creative, featured finely made objects developed by international designers in collaboration with Japanese craftsmen and artisanal manufacturers. The British designer Jasper Morrison produced an elegant set of cast iron pots at the Oigen Foundry, and his compatriot, Peter Marigold, devised a wooden bench with the woodwork factory Hinoki Kogei.

Also on the artisanal front, the Spanish designer Tomaso Alonso made a beautiful tool kit at the IN Residence workshop program in Turin. And the hit of the student shows was a portable disaster relief kit made by Hikaru Imamura, a Japanese graduate of the Design Academy Eindhoven in the Netherlands.

Among the major manufacturers, Vitra of Switzerland presented Corniche, a new means of display and storage devised by the French brothers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec. Made form glossy A.B.S. plastic, each Corniche, the French word for mountain ledge, forms a small shelf on which objects can be shown off, or deposited safely. The best toy of the fair was Rocky, a perky plastic rocking horse devised by the Australian designer Marc Newson for the Italian company Magis.

Corniche designed by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Vitra.

An encouraging development on the sustainable front was the Hemp Chair, which was originally shown as a prototype in Ventura-Lambrate at the fair last year by its German designer, Werner Aisslinger, as the first chair to be made in a single piece of material from a natural composite fiber. He has since worked with the Italian group Moroso to develop it for mass production.

Hemp Chair designed by Werner Aisslinger for Moroso.

The technological star of the week was 3D printing, the very fast, very precise system of customized production, which dominated many of the experimental shows, the most dynamic of which was Domus's collection of robots and printers beneath Palazzo Clerici's Tiepolos.

So far, 3D printing has been applied mostly on a small scale. The most convincing examples were exhibited at the Nilufar gallery: a series of bowls designed by the Japanese group Nendo, and a set of tables developed by the Swedish-German design team Kram Weisshaar. There is so much interest in the technology that the furniture industry may accelerate its efforts to apply it on a more ambitious basis, perhaps in time for the fair next year. Who needs snakeskin?

Check out the original article here.

April 21, 2012

Jeff Koons, Baroque Egg with Bow

Design Art News
Jeff Koons, Baroque Egg with Bow, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
22 February 2012 - 2015

Museums throughout the world have been lining up to exhibit the immense, gleaming orange ‘Easter egg’ with magenta bow ‘Baroque Egg with Bow (Orange/Magenta)’, by multimillionaire artist Jeff Koons. The private collectors, however, chose Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen because of their special link with Rotterdam. The object (over 6 m3) will be on show in the museum for three years.

This week, ‘Baroque Egg with Bow (Orange/Magenta)’ (1994-2008) by the American artist Jeff Koons (1955) has being installed in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. The giant ‘Easter egg’ with magenta bow weighs two thousand kilo and is worth millions of Euros. Thanks to the lenders from Rotterdam, the work will be on view for the coming years in the museum’s entrance area. Koons made ten eggs in a period of fourteen years. Each object is part of an important private collection, such as those of François Pinault and Damien Hirst. No single egg belongs to a museum collection. As with many of his works, Koons stimulates several senses with his Eggs.

Jeff Koons is famous for his enormous objects such as gigantic rabbits and religious pigs with which he topped, until recently, the list of best paid artists ever. Koons is a master of enlarging everyday objects to enormous proportions. His “new-pop-art type” works are uncritical blow ups of the consumer society. In his creations, he brings together high and low culture in objects that are seductive, but at the same time überkitsch. His New York studio, where more than 80 people work, is reminiscent (as, too, is his work) of Andy Warhol and his Factory in the sixties.

The ten gigantic eggs by Jeff Koons belong to his famous ‘Celebration Series’ which he began in 1994. Five of the eggs have a smooth surface: the so-called ‘Smooth Eggs’. The other five are called ‘Baroque Eggs’ and look as if they are packed in crumpled foil. At first glance, the design seems banal, but refers to ideas such as (re)birth and fertility; recurring themes in the artist’s work. The coating of the eggs has been applied layer after layer by hand, in order to achieve as glossy an effect as possible. This technique is derived from the automotive industry. Each Egg has been worked on by several people for a whole year.

Other well-known sculptures from the ‘Celebration Series’ are: ‘Balloon Dog’, ‘Hanging Heart’ and ‘Diamond’. This series also includes, in addition to sculptures, a number of oil paintings. The Celebration works have previously been shown in places such as Versailles (Paris), Neue National Galerie (Berlin) and on the roof of The Metropolitan Museum (New York). All creations in the ‘Celebration Series’ are superbly executed technically.

With thanks to the Bert Kreuk Collection.

April 12, 2012

Private Residence in San Francisco / Garcia Tamjidi Architecture Design

Architect: Garcia Tamjidi Architecture Design

General Contractor: M J Moore Design and Construction
Photography: Joe Fletcher Photography

Designed for a couple whose hobby is racing motorcycles and setting world land speed records, this flat becomes a private retreat from an adrenaline charged lifestyle. Originally a two bedroom, one and a half bath condominium, the floor plan was stripped of all but completely utilitarian necessities.

Organized around a very long double-sided storage wall, retracting fabric scrims are used to create more private areas. The interior view, a place to relax, meditate and dream, provides a counterpoint to the openness of city and water views.

Project Size: 1,325 square feet

Project Completed: January 2012
Products from DZINE:
Sink: Sabbia designed by Naoto Fukasawa for Boffi
Faucet: Liquid designed by Piero Lissoni for Boffi 

Bathtub: Iceland designed by Piero Lissoni for Boffi 
Tub Filler: Liquid designed by Piero Lissoni for Boffi 

Powder Room Sink: Zone designed by Piero Lissoni for Boffi 
Powder Room Faucet: Square by Agape

April 9, 2012

Photography: Centro Niemeyer by Danica Ocvirk Kus

Daily Icon

Centro Niemeyer is a new cultural complex in Avilés, and is part of an ambitious scheme to redevelop the riverfront. Brazilian architect, Oscar Niemeyer, designed the complex as a gift to the principality.

Centro Niemeyer, Avilés, Spain, by Oscar Niemeyer, Photography © Danica Ocvirk Kus

See original article here.

April 5, 2012

Design Gossip 10th Issue - Guest Edited by Rob Forbes

Light and Magic
Text & Photos by Rob Forbes

"Light is not so much something that reveals, as it is itself revelation." - James Turrell

One of the best lighting "exhibitions" I ever witnessed was "staged" on a spring day in a small cafe in Mallorca, Spain. (It could have been anywhere). We were finishing a leisurely lunch and coffee, enjoying the seaside quiet, when a bus arrived and disgorged a swarm of large, loud tourists, thoroughly dismantling the mood both visually and acoustically. We sat waiting impatiently for the check, annoyed by the sudden change to the environment, eager to get away from the tourist invasion.

Suddenly the sun appeared from behind the clouds, blanketing the cafe and patrons in a pattern of vivid light dots that shone through the perforated awning. The atmosphere underwent a complete transformation. Bodies retreated into the background, like deer camouflaged in a forest, and we left the place calm and amused, not irritated. It reminded me that light and its patterns can have a profound effect on any environment. It can change our mood from irritation to tranquility in a second.

We cannot really credit the person who designed the perforated awning as the visionary behind this lighting "exhibition". Many unrelated things (none of which were designed with the intention of creating the dot matrix) coalesced to create the effect. It was an act of nature, a form of lighting design that we often take for granted. Design that it is not in a showroom, not trying to be celebrated as design, is so often overlooked. But it's all around us at every waking moment. Missing its magic is like forgetting to notice the beauty of nature.

Lighting is a design category unto itself. Like music, it is magical and mysterious and sets up a deep primal resonance in us that connects us to the natural world. It acts directly on our psyches, creating and changing moods and feelings. This may be why the experience of viewing the stars on a pitch-black night, or catching a glorious sunrise or sunset, or stirring flames in a fireplace can be such a powerful experience for us. Light runs deep and affects everything it touches.

"The finest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. He who does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer feel amazement, is as good as dead, a snuffed-out candle." - Albert Einstein

Nature provides us with the most amazing light exhibitions everyday and the exhibition is always changing (thanks and kudos to the curator). Architects have been helping us to see the magic of light as far back as we know. I have included photos of some of my favorite "lighting solutions" taken over the years. The first is the Pantheon in Rome with an oculus that brings light to a silent dark mysterious chamber. Another comes from a courtyard in Cordoba Spain and another comes from an interior in Granada. Light and shade patterns from Louis Kahn's Kimbell Art Museum, light strips at the Schindler house in West Hollywood, a Turnbull wooden chapel in St. Helena California, a doorway from the Luis Barragan's Convento de las Capuchinas Sacramentarias an Tlalpan, Mexico City, are other examples. Each of these reminds us to consider light and the absence of light, pattern, space, and the magic of our physical world more fully. Architects can be extraordinary lighting designer.

Modern lighting designers are primarily focused on problem solving tasks, i.e. how to make our environments more efficient, comfortable and functional. Fine, but one of the lighting's other tasks might be to rekindle our interest in the character, magic, and elusive nature of light itself. The better designers do this unwittingly I believe. The perforations in the dome of Castiglioni's Arco could have derived from seeing sunlight spots on people or on forms just as I witnessed in that cafe on Mallorca. You cannot really look at Ron Gilad's Wall Piercing without a nod to the ephemeral quality of natural lighting. There are many other examples.

I'm treated to a light exhibition every morning from my apartment in San Francisco. The more dramatic and colorful lightscapes is perhaps the more seductive, but I'm partial to the other one. I see the lights on the buildings and the headlights from the cars and the neon cafe signage and it makes me realize that lighting is all around us in its magical form, if we choose to see it. Light is truly mysterious - even Galileo admits to understanding it "but little".

"Vision, I say, is related to light itself. But of this sensation and the things pertaining to it I pretend to understand but little. Even a long time would not suffice to explain that trifle, or even to hint at an explanation, I pass over this in silence." - Galileo Galilei, The Assayer

About Rob Forbes:

Rob Forbes' career includes work in both the Arts and Business fields. Forbes is best known as the Founder of Design Within Reach and for the vision of a business that has grown into one of the leading retail destination for modern design in the US. In his role there he edited a weekly online newsletter, Design Notes, that covered design broadly around the globe. His interests in design, culture, and the urban environment and his personal passion for bicycles led him to his new venture PUBLIC. PUBLIC is a design based business based in San Francisco with a mission to help reduce our dependency on cars and think more intelligently and artfully about the way we get around and connect with our cities and communities. PUBLIC launched in May 2010 in San Francisco and had become the leading nationwide direct source (www.publicbikes.com) for elegant modern city bikes and gear in the US. (text courtesy of Rob Forbes)