While many of us were still recovering from over indulging during New Years celebrations, the design world was preparing for their first trade shows of the new year - IMM Cologne in Germany from January 15 to 21 and Maison & Objet in Paris from January 19 to 23. With these two fairs closing just a few days ago, it's time for Design daily to highlight the most exciting new products.
While IMM Cologne is known as the European fair where distribution deals are done and big orders are placed it has retained its fair share of interesting installations and exhibitions that feature rising new stars and total unknowns.
One such event at Cologne for the last seven years has been Das Haus, a large installation given over to one designer where all facets of the home interior are addressed. In the past this honour has been bestowed on Doshi Levien, Luca Nichetto, Neri & Hu Todd Bracher, Louise Campbell and most recently the German designer Sebastian Herkner. This year it was the turn of young Czech designer Lucie Koldova who works across lighting for brands like Brokis, La Chance and Lasvit and furniture for a number of brands such as Ton, Per/Use and Haymann Editions.
Shown below is Koldova's new 'Chips' lounge chair for long established Czech brand Ton. The extravagant bentwood frame uses fine mesh to create openness while wrapping around the user and was created especially for Koldova's Das Haus installation.
Pure Talents is a competition that is conceived exclusively for designers who are still pursuing their studies or have just left university. Now in its fifteenth year and representing submissions from young designers from 53 countries, the event is major drawcard in the fair's list of events. The winners this year were Yohay Alush with his outdoor furniture “Nocturnal Beasts” (1st prize), Alissa Arends, Leon Bucher and Yelim Kim with their “Fold it” table (2nd prize), and Julien Manaira with his poetic work “The once liquid plastic” (3rd prize).
Italian designer Umberto Garcia and his wonderful 'Varjo' lights (shown at the very top of this post) was one of Design daily's favourites. The light can be shaped in many different ways by moving horizontal rings - simple but extremely effective. A number of great new materials and concepts were on show including a chair made from inflated moose skin and a bar stool with a seat in bamboo that reinterprets a traditional rice harvesting scoop by Japanese designer Hiroyuki Morita. The 'Alces Alces' chair by Victor Alge (below left) takes the abundance of moose hides that result from the hunting season in Sweden and turn them in an envelope of upholstery that is filled with compressed air. This rounded leather form is contrasted nicely by a fine metal frame. Although still a little rough, the concept brings organic materials and design together in a suprising way. The 'once liquid plastic' shelf by Amsterdam based designer Julien Madeira (below right) is far more poetic using the subtle difference of light passing through layers of epoxy resin to full advantage. There is a delicacy and artistic quality in this piece not usually found in objects made from plastic.
Last year's Das Haus designer Sebastian Herkner always has a big presence at IMM Cologne. The German designer launched a number of new designs including 'Grace', a beautiful and minimal metal drinks trolley for Schönbuch (below left) and a reductivist side chair for Thonet dubbed an appropriately sparely named 'Model 118' (below right).
Herkner also showed his 'Mainkai' floor light for Avenue Road (below left) and the 'Moira' pendant lights for Fürstenberg. Both lights show Herkner's love for glass and porcelain and his ability to create develop new ideas in these highly malleable materials.
Herkner launched another eight products at IMM Cologne ranging from his first rug design for The Rug Company to glass stools for Pulpo and wire outdoor chairs for Ames Sala. Swedish design Monica Förster worked with newly reinvented German brand Wittman to produce a collection called 'Melange' which brought together a number of furniture objects that were developed as individual pieces rather than range of objects sharing core features or materials.
Maison & Objet may have once have had a reputation as an interior decoration show but in recent years it has strengthened its furniture offering with brands from all over the world choosing to launch new products there. Its obviously the fair where French brands can make that largest impression and companies such Ligne Roset have stopped showing in Milan in preference for launching their new products on home soil.
Paris based designers Pool have become a big name in design in recent years designing for French brands Petite Friture and La Chance among many others. Their style is intensely graphic but somehow soft at the same time. Their Cercle & Trait pendant was first presented at Interieur Kortrij in 2014 but has only now come into production with French handmade lighting company CVL Luminaires.
Alain Gilles is another Paris based designer although he is Belgian originally. The designer of many pieces for Italian brands such as Bonaldo and Casamania Gilles loves the interplay between hard and soft materials and objects that challenge existing typologies. HIs 'Geoffrey console for Ligne Roset has stripped back virtually everything and left just a fine metal stricture to allow the oversized circular mirror to stand while using a small brass shelf to counterbalance the symmetry.
The 'Sofa Atem' by Marco Lavit Nicora for Atelier Lavit seems to leap out as fresh new approach to sofa design. Not since Piero Lissoni's 'HI-TECH' armchair released in 2005 has there been such a refined and see through approach to lounge seating. Atelier Lavit is a Paris based studio working across architecture and design headed up by the 31 year old Marco Lavit Nicora who studied architecture at Ecole Speciale d’Architecture in Paris and at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.
Shown below is 'Beret' another new project by the prolific Sebastian Herkner. Inspired by the French hat the design continues Herkner's interest in combination glass and metal that first came to the fore in his hugely successful table design 'Bell' for Classicon in 2012.
Theres something extremely exciting about these nesting tables from Spanish designer Max Enrich for Petite Friture. The combination of the impossibly thin metal top on chunky cylinders expresses tension like a trapeze artists safety net. The interplay of the there shapes is also very successful creating shadows and strengthening the three dimensionality of the group. The shade of blue definitely helps but the group is also offered in Bordeaux red white and black for those who aren't into strong blues.
The work of Canadian design Philippe Malouin is always on the money and his first project for British brand SCP reconfirms this. First released at ICFF in 2017 the chair has an extremely small footprint for an upright lounge chair but being completely upholstered it manages to be extremely comfortable. The wrap around back helps in this regard, providing arm support. The shape radiates a desire to pull chairs together and have an intimate conversation rather than the usual distance created by large racked back lounge chairs.
'Oscar' from the Portuguese brand the Rug Society (below right) and the Sophie armchair by Federica Biasi (below right). The Cubism inspired rug is hand tufted in wool and is available in several standard sizes from 3 x 4m or can be made to a custom size. 'Sophie' is a brand new design from Milan based designer Federica Biasi who is also the creative director for metal object specialist Mingardo. The chair was shown as part of the Rising Talents Awards.
The dandelion style lamp 'Oyster' by Jette Scheib for Forestier (below left) and the new look 'Ronin' chairs by Frederik Werner & Emil Lagoni Valbak for La Chance featuring fabric by Parisian fabric house Pierre Frey. The Ronin chair was originally designed in 2013 but has had several incarnations where the backrest was changed to marble and now graphic upholstery is being offered for the upholstered version.