May 25, 2012

Ilmari Tapiovaara Designs Part of Artek Product Range

In 2010 the products of Ilmari Tapiovaara became part of the Artek product range.  The manufacturing facility where llmari Tapiovaara pieces were being produced had been failing. Artek saw this as an opportunity, in purchasing the facility, to keep the furniture pieces in production and promote them to a wider audience than before.  The Ilmari Tapiovaara pieces added to their existing collection mainly designed by their founders Alvar and Aino Aalto, Maire Gullichsen and Nils-Gustav Hahl.

Ilmari Tapiovaara was one of the greatest interior architects and designers of his era. With the mind of an explorer and a soul of a craftsman, Tapiovaara was always seeking for new solutions to improve everyday objects. During his long career Tapiovaara created dozens of iconic objects loved by the public.

Domus Lounge chair - Ilmari Tapiovaara (1946)

Domus chair - Ilmari Tapiovaara (1946)

Tapiovaara is especially revered as a master of characteristic and human objects and surroundings who captured the essence of Finnish identity. Today the contemporary Tapiovaara Family Collection maintains the timeless heritage of a master of Finnish design. Ilmari Tapiovaara graduated in 1937 as interior architect from the department of furniture design of the Central School of Applied Arts in Helsinki. After graduation he obtained the position of assistant for six months at Le Corbusier’s office in Paris. In 1938 Tapiovaara began work as artistic director and designer at Asko Oy, the largest furniture manufacturer in Finland, and in 1941 he was hired as artistic and commercial director for the furniture company Keravan Puuteollisuus Oy. In 1946–47 Tapiovaara designed, together with his wife, Annikki Tapiovaara, furniture for Domus Academica, the new student housing facility in Helsinki. It was in that project the famous Domus Stacking Chair was designed.

Mademoiselle Lounge Chair - Ilmari Tapiovaara (1956)

Tee-Tee Table - Ilmari Tapiovaara (1940)

Ilmari Tapiovaara was a great admirer of Alvar Aalto’s work, and he wanted to create products based on the same ideological premises. Tapiovaara embraced the principle of social equality of functionalism, and felt that architecture was the starting point of his design work. In addition to dozens of chairs and other furniture, mostly intended for public spaces, Tapiovaara also designed interiors for many banks, offices, hotels and showrooms starting in the 1940s.

Pirkka collection - Ilmari Tapiovaara (1955)

Ilmari Tapiovaara also worked abroad in various capacities. In 1952–53 he was employed as professor at the school of design of the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, and he also worked for a while in the office of Mies van der Rohe. In the late 1950s, he travelled to Paraguay, where he designed furniture on behalf of the UN development program, and in the mid-1970s he worked in Mauritius in a similar project. He also worked in an expert capacity in Yugoslavia, participating in the development of a centre for furniture and joinery industry. He also designed furniture for clients in Italy and Sweden, among others.

Trienna Table - Ilmari Tapiovaara (1954)

Ilmari Tapiovaara furniture collection for Artek

Ilmari Tapiovaara was awarded a total of six gold medals at the Milan Triennials in 1951, 1954, 1957, 1960 and 1964. He was awarded the Good Design Award in Chicago in 1951, the Pro Finlandia medal in 1959, the Finnish State Design Prize in 1971 and the Furniture Prize of the SIO Interior Architects’ Association of Finland in 1990.

Kiki collection - Ilmari Tapiovaara (1960)

May 21, 2012

New Products Presented by Porro

Among the most looked-for furnishing brands on the market, Porro stands out for its essential and immediately identified language, with simple signs, geometries, shapes, without forgetting in case of highly complex production processing too, its unique company philosophy: simplicity.

All Porro products are the result of a subtraction, form a progressive simplification process. Systems which are complex too, are the result of a very simple aesthetic vision, based on consistency, simplification, simplicity, without forgetting quality, the best possible quality at all.

In the recent years, Porro has collaborated with International designers such as Jean Marie Massaud, Christophe Pillet and the Swedish group, Front.

This year at the Salone del Mobile Porro introduced a few new pieces but also reinvented some of their already established pieces from their furniture collection.

The new Chameleon unit, designed by Front, is a magic volume, opening on itself as a Chinese box game, changing appearance and revealing new finishes. To be used as a bedroom unit or to furnish the living room, it consists of a pear-wood crate, a soft wood in a delicate rose color, customized with drawers and shelves and covered with precious leathers, used as a hinge, allow to turn it and changed into a luggage or a bag, to change its color and look - from white to black - according to your mood.

Piero Lissoni designed a new accessory for the Porro Collection: the Tiller sideboard, available in two models, vertically developed on 1.6 meters wide and horizontally developed on 2.2 meters wide, shows 4 doors can be opened one on the other pleasantly changing the front design appearance. Raised on 4 matte black metal feet from the floor, Tiller proves once more the technical expertise of a brand able to test year after year new opening mechanisms and technologies. Structure in Eucalypt wood, inner drawers on demand.


The new design to enter into the Porro table collection is the new extension table, Taac, by the young Italian designer Michele Cazzaniga, whose top can extend form a minimum of 190cm to 300cm wide, and is 95cm deep. A project simply translating the practical requirement of the new shapes, materials and technical solutions: in Eucalypt, a dark wood, extremely consistent and richly shaded, barely displaying the internal black aluminum frame.

Stolen form a fairy tale, directly coming from a children's book, the result of any dream coming true, the Gentle chair entirely reinterprets the seat archetype, making its shapes far more modern and purified. If at a first glance it looks like a continuum, a pattern drawing drafted without moving the pencil from the paper, in reality it perfectly hides a complex project, matching metal covered by soft leather at the back legs level, moving up to the back arch, to the light wood of the front legs, becoming the arm and back supports, in a subtle opposite contrast. The soft back and the leather upholstered seat make the chair "soft" at the touch and at sight, in a harmonic double-colored optical effect, graphical and retro at the same time, always two colors perfectly and elegantly matched.

The Jade designed by Christophe Pillet was reintroduced this year in a new finish, canaletto walnut.  Its harmonious lines and relaxed posture distinguish the Jade lounge armchair: presented by Porro in leather or eco-leather it appears to be suspended on the structure with cross base, supported at four points.

A new round version for the Synapsis table, designed by Jean Marie Massaud, was added this year to compliment the original design of the oval table with cut ends version. The innovation of this item is represented by the bearing element: a plated, white or black steel wire grille that has been emptied and transformed in a web of welded pipes. The base looks very light when coupled with the light top. The oval version is available in Pral, in all the lacquered colors of the sample collection, white or black high resistant matte lacquered, in black stained hemlock or in "carbone" oak. The round version is available in Pral or in all the lacquered colors of the sample collection.

May 18, 2012

Alvar Aalto - One of the Founders of Artek

Window display: Pendant lamp A331 designed by Alvar Aalto (1953), Tee Tee Table designed by llmari Tapiovaara (1940), Armchair 401 designed by Alvar Aalto (1933), and Bench 153B designed by Alvar Aalto (1945).

DZINE  is pleased to be representing the Finnish company, Artek.  Their business model “to sell furniture and to promote a modern culture of habitation by exhibitions and other educational means.” The founders of Artek advocated a new kind of environment for everyday life, a philosophy close to that of DZINE, a belief that design is ultimately about living with greater elegance and ease.

Alvar Aalto, one of the founders of Artek, was born in Kuortane, Finland. Alvar Aalto is recognized today as one of the great masters of modern architecture. During his long and prolific career, Aalto’s work embraced almost all key public institutions - town halls, theatres, churches, libraries and universities - as well as standardized housing and private homes.

Lounge chair 43 designed by Alvar Aalto (1937)

Chair 66 designed by  Alvar Aalto (1935)

Aalto’s architecture is distinctively Finnish. It is marked by a warm humanity and strong individuality. His buildings derive their special aesthetic character from their dynamic relationship with their natural surroundings, their human scale, superbly executed details, unique treatment of materials and ingenious use of lighting. Like all great art, however, Aalto’s architecture transcends national boundaries. His work is not the exclusive property of Finland: it forms a part of a common cultural heritage of European and worldwide significance.

Pendant lamp A110 desinged by Alvar Aalto (1952)

Tea Trolly 900 designed by Alvar Aalto (1937)

Alvar Aalto began designing furnishings as a natural and important extension of his architectural thinking. His first modern piece of furniture was created in 1931-32 for the Tuberculosis Sanatorium in Paimio, which proved to be his international breakthrough. Artek was set up in 1935 to market and sell Alvar and Aino Aalto's furniture, lamps and textiles, particularly on international markets where Artek focused its operations from the initial stages.

Tuberculosis Sanatorium in Paimio.

Armchair 41 "Paimio" designed by Alvar Aalto (1932) for the Tuberculosis Sanatorium in Paimio.

Sofa 544 designed by Alvar Aalto (1932)

Through the innovations in form and line that were born in his furniture designs, Alvar Aalto’s name has also become important in the history of design. In fact, Aalto first achieved fame in Continental Europe as a furniture designer, and only later on as an architect. His contribution to furniture design was among his foremost achievements in its own right, and it sowed the seed from which many of his architectural ideas sprang forth. Alvar Aalto’s furniture and lighting pieces form the basis of the Artek range.

May 16, 2012

New Products Presented by Living Divani

Living Divani, the dynamic family-run firm with its signature upholstery, presents a new collection born of curiosity and the drive to experiment, to instill new genres, materials and balances into its geometrical world full of light, comfortable furniture.

This year, the greatest interpreter of the Living Divani style, Piero Lissoni extends the family of upholstered pieces from the brand with the new Rod sofa, with its distinctive slender back and light, airy shell, lined with inviting cushions. Raised up on 12 mm wide chrome-plated steel feet, screwed into the frame, Rod comes in set dimensions, as an armchair, bench and two- or three-cushion sofa, available in two different depths. Its distinction lies in the possibility of choosing different coverings for the shell and cushions – enhanced with quilted details and bold buttons - mixing finishes with striking two-tone and two-material effects and captivating leather/fabric combos.

For the bedroom, Piero Lissoni brings us the new Chemise Bed and Chemise Sofa-Bed, which both echo the soft, enveloping lines and reassuringly classic design of the sofa from which they derive, created in 2010. In these products, minimal shapes are accompanied by maximum visual comfort, for those who do not wish to be parted from the harmonious softness of Living Divani even at night, and in their dreams.

The Milanese designer Francesco Rota, who skilfully balances neo-bourgeois touches with a more informal sense of relaxation, is the creator of the charming Hinge family of stools, with a slender metal structure that exudes measured elegance. Four light legs, joined together horizontally to provide comfortable footrests, topped by a slightly curved rectangular upholstered seat, in a range of colors, represent the ideal extension and complement for the Hinge family of tables, presented in 2010.

Living Divani renews its collaboration with Nathan Yong, the Asian designer whose work derives from a process of heartfelt thought, influenced by society and by Singaporean culture, and rooted in his childhood experiences. Off Cut bookcase is made by piecing together bits of solid walnut or oak, the off-cuts from processing larger wooden boards used to create other pieces of furniture. A light, ethereal construction, defined by what is removed, a subtle weave upholding invisible glass shelves and giving new life to material that would otherwise have gone for pulping, with a view to recycling and treating the environment with respect. Stack Table coffee tables on the other hand, focus on texture; comprising a set of three stackable containers of different heights, with a trestle structure and colorful shelves, which are lots of fun to rearrange, until you find your own favorite configuration.

The Rabbit and Tortoise collection alludes to the world of childhood and cartoons, to the stylized shapes of animals drawn by children. This family of occasional tables of various heights is designed by the young duo Timo Wong and Priscilla Lui, alias Studio Juju, also from Singapore. Seven tables, each a different shape and size, to be arranged so as to create flow within their space, making for constantly new ways of interacting, an experimental experience to be shared with the people who sit around the curves and use them in their everyday life. While the Rabbit model is shaped like a little bunny face, with two long ears pointing upwards, the cute Tortoise model depicts a head and shell, and the three Round tables A, B, C and two Long tables A and B, with different heights and dimensions, complete the range, offering a vast array of possible configurations.

2012 sees the continuation of the collaboration with emerging designer Victor Vasilev, born in Bulgaria, raised in Israel, trained in Denmark, and now working in Milan, who renews the success of Bukva bookcase with his new Coffee Table B2, which encloses magazines and other objects in an interplay of moving layers, with panels of different heights and sizes set over a square base. Available in a single 84 x 84 cm version that can stand alone or in multiples to create a larger composition, B2 seems like a miniature architectural structure, offering different perspectives according to the viewpoint.

From the imagination and creativity of Giopato&Coombes, the young designer duo - she Italian, he British - comes the armchair Kiru, with its name derived from the root of the Japanese word kimono, which means ‘to dress’. Refined, with impeccable bearing and grace, it has soft, broad shapes and distinctive sartorial details in the fabric that folds over on the sides and back, like an haute couture dress. A bold, decorative look, that arose from a rethink of the construction technique: the internal structure consists of a tubular steel insert with polyurethane foam padding, meticulously wrapped in a simply pleated fabric, without any visible stitching.

Among the new finds for 2012 is the young Italian designer Mario Ferrarini, born in 1978, who shapes the unbroken line of his stool/table Kalè using Crystalplant, a cutting-edge technological composite material. An object that brings to mind celestial worlds, a space-age habitat made of purified forms developed around the simple geometry of a circle. Softened with a round cushion, which sits asymmetrically on the splayed seat, it transforms into a handy stool. Kalè can be used alone or to enhance an existing setting, and is particularly attractive in small groups, forming a constantly evolving imaginary floral landscape.

These are the ten new designs from Piero Lissoni, Francesco Rota, Nathan Yong, Studio Juju, Victor Vasilev, Giopato&Coombes and Mario Ferrarini, which will all feature at the Living Divani stand at the Salone del Mobile, alongside the best-loved products in the existing catalogue. The architectural showcase, designed by Lissoni, creates a scenario with a highly seductive cosmopolitan look, where the brand’s sophisticated, contemporary proposals fit in seamlessly, proposing settings where home meets contract, as the firm reaches out to both sectors simultaneously.