In collaboration with furniture maker Norbert Brakonier S.A. we finalised the first working prototype of the ‘plywood table’, a product that aims to be good value and equally good quality. Manufactured from a single thickness of standard factory made plywood with white melamine surfaces, the angled legs with its chamfered corners give the table structural stability and character. Additionally, custom-made large aluminium screws in a brightly anodised colour connect the table top to the legs, all visible and obvious!
The Concorde might have been a fuel guzzling, noisy and elitist plane representing the excesses of the ‘trente glorieuses’, but it also embodies a great believe, excitement and optimism in the future. Not something you can say about today…
Also great is to see a really good quality and stylish souvenir that was handed out to every person flying with the Concorde. The pen looks as fast as the the Concorde flies and even has a bit of a nose like the real thing. Try and find a pen in your drawers that you got for free that is of any quality…
It is well known that the bistro culture in Paris is a league on its own, sitting tightly packed on street corners, coffee & cigarettes, waiters that don’t care, gazing at the people passing by …
The typical Paris bistro table with a single foot and an oversized thin metal edging embodies this way of life quite well for me. Every bash and knock the metal edging gets adds character & texture to the table, making it age gracefully without aspiring to be perfect.
Embossing leather is another one of these crafts that are very difficult to still find but have a great creative potential. This very old, worn and grotty leather embossed folder almost blends in with the wooden desk and is getting more beautiful by the day.
Beautifully crafted natural materials have this quality of ageing well and are able to take the wear and tear of life. Something that many more contemporary materials and finishes simply can’t take.
Another fine example of upholstery craft – by the artist Yannick Pouliot in his work Régence: monomaniaque.
Good craftsmanship is key to produce fine quality objects. Unfortunately, outside the luxury industry, they are hard to find. With labour costs going constantly up are we loosing all the fine techniques that made objects special? It seems a shame, but it motivates me even more to collaborate with skilled craftsmen on the next projects!
I recently acquired this coffee machine designed by Gaetano Pesce at a vintage design auction. Everybody I have shown it looked at me with disbelieve , not understanding why I would spend money on such an ‘ugly’ object.
I beg to differ! Beauty can be something that is not immediately recognised, something that grows slowly on you. The lack of ‘good design taste’ and perfect shapes creates an edginess that needs to be tamed before you can begin to appreciate it. I find the volcano iconography is also quite appropriate for a moka coffee maker…
In other words, it is an acquired taste, a bit like coffee.
I have seen this type of benches before in forests and parks without really appreciating them. But the concept of a bench with a cast structure that mimics root wood, as disturbing as it looks, starts to grow on me. If you choose casting as a technique you can also open up to other shape typologies, no reason to keep the geometric language you pretty much have to respect if you fabricate something in any other standard way.
To then paint it in such a colour makes the bench almost eccentric, even if it goes against the initial idea of making the bench blend into its natural surroundings.
I also wondered if Maarten Baas came here on holiday one day…
Here another fine example of a vintage kids furniture piece I recently bought. Named Hokus Pokus, this multifunctional furniture was manufactured in Sweden by AB Bjärnum Möbelfabriker. All in one, it is a high chair that becomes a rocking chair with steering wheel or a desk with seat, depending on how you flip it around. Every aspect and form has a purely functional ‘raison d’être’ which gives the object its visual complexity and its overall shape. This uncompromising and honest approach linking form and function makes this unusual object in my view very interesting.
I found this versatile piece of kids furniture in a vintage shop. It consists of a bench, desk with seat and storage facility. Convincingly basic and low-tech its shape results purely from the functions it serves. Manufactured by a brazilian company called Estrela.