Design Diary

A personal review of design creations.

The ‘Ocean’ pendant light

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Taiwan is not only the world’s leader in plastic production, it embraces, supports and creates products from traditional crafts.


I like projects that support local craftsmanship and traditions. Here is Kamaro’an whose name originates from Pangcah, an indigenous language in Taiwan, meaning ‘the place to live’.

Launched during Taiwan Designers’Week in 2015, directed by Ben Chiu, Kamaro’an was awarded ‘Rising Asian Talent’ by Maison & Objet in 2017.

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The brand is inspired by Taiwanese indigenous culture, using natural materials and employing indigenous weavers. They devoted to provide culturally-related employments in Hualien to welcome youths to come home. Kamaro’an has also opened a space in the capital last year. Located in Huashan 1914 Creative Park, it showcases their creations with various materials such as banana fabrics, betel nut, driftwood and more.

The ‘Riyar’ pendant light (or ocean in the Pangcah language) is part of the Umbrella Sedge Series. The sedge takes 4 to 6 months to harvest and it grows in crystal-clear water. By separating the skin from the inner fibers, craftsman Sumi Dongi avoids mildew problems, and makes the mats more delicate in nature.

The next step is the weaving of the umbrella sedge on structural metal frames to create lightings with a contemporary shape. This enables the craft to produce in a small but scaled system.

Each Riyar pendant light looks unique in every angle. Dimensions: 58 x 58 x 60 (cm). 

Between Escher & Nendo

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The master of optical illusion meets one of the leading contemporary design studios at the National Gallery of Victoria (Melbourne) for an incredible unique exhibition:  Escher X nendo | Between Two Worlds.


One is the master of hypnotic works, the other one is acclaimed for the design aesthetics brought to the contemporary design world, both are geniuses using their brains to create either a hypothetic or a very real world. NGV’s ambitious exhibition showcases more than 150 of Escher’s woodcuts and sketches and commissioned Oki Sato and his team to produce large-scale rooms and installations to celebrate the Dutch’s master.

The famous works like the Drawing Hands; Day & Night; Relativity are of course present in Melbourne while the Japanese studio worked on immersive spaces focusing on the illusion of perspective. The complex drawings are opposed to pure, so Nendo-like, lines and spaces.

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The House in perspective space displays Escher’s works in a simple manner. But looking closer, the rods merge together and form a house.

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In the Gathered House’s circular space, the works of the Dutch master surround a centre piece constructed from thousands of miniature house motifs.

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In the Zooming House, a corridor between two rooms recalls Escher’s obsession with illusion. The pathway shrinks from four-metre to a tiny 55 centimetres.

‘Escher’s logical, math-based ideas and interests have inspired nendo’s work process and served as a base for the creation of this exhibition design and new collection of works. The different installations vary in scale and in spatial impact, enabling the visitor to experience Escher’s world in a very physical way. It’s as if they are walking inside Escher’s mind, but seeing the exhibition through their own eyes,’ said Oki Sato, Chief Designer and Founder, nendo. 

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Escher X nendo | Between Two Worlds will be on display from 2 December 2018 – 7 April 2019 at NGV International, 180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne, Australia. 

Pictures courtesy of Sean Fennessy and Akihiro Yoshida.

Design Your Christmas - Part 4

Chalet in Anzère (Switzerland)

Chalet in Anzère (Switzerland)


For our last chapter, we focus on wood, a traditional element associated with Christmas. As a log in the fireplace, the shelter of a chalet in the mountain, wood is soothing and protecting. So let’s celebrate it with five variations of its use.


Affe

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The iconic creation by Kay Bojesen has a mischievous look and light belly. Launched in 1951, it is part of an animal collection by the Danish functionalist designer. He was trained as a silversmith at the Georg Jensen workshop. It also includes an elephant, a bear and more… It was also the mascot of wildlife TV programmes.

Affe (monkey in Danish language), is also an iconic element of Scandinavian design. Made of out teak and limba wood, it measures 20cm in height. Every monkey consists of 31 wooden parts and is crafted by hand in Denmark. As the wood used is unique, each monkey have a different personality due to the different wood grain. Finally, the limba used is legally harvested following the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR) and the chosen plantation teak guarantees responsible and fair revenues for local populations. 

Price: USD 141* (EUR 125)

Source: Kay Bojesen


Patél

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Patél is a chair dressed by its tradition. The chair is composed of two elements: body and clothing. The body is moulded by industrial techniques, while the clothing is knitted in the sarape workshops by local craftsmen. Each piece has a specific colour, texture, and pattern, brought to life by the hands of the craftsman.

The carpentry is made in Mexico. The cotton is washed, dyed and spooled by hand. It is then woven with a treadle loom and finished by hand.

Mexico is a land of traditions, colours, customs and aromas. Since its origin, crafts and design have been under Mexico’s skin. Mestiz emerges from the merge of industrial and craftsmanship techniques. Its aim is to spread traditional craftsmanship and local talent into a contemporary lifestyle for its recovery and evolution.

Price: USD 405*

Source: Mestiz


Eferpa

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Anna Nóra, Emese and Nora are three hungarian ladies who make toys about two places of Hungary which are full of tales: the hills around Budapest and about Lake Balaton, the largest lake of our country. They know and love the fauna and flora of these two places.

The toys are about the enormous trees in the shady forest, the houses and the Children’s Railway. About the scent of the summer, about the ferries in lake Balaton, bout the sun, the heat, the smell of the water.

With its handmade toys, the Dombon-a-Tanya design lab specialises in wooden toys. To ensure accuracy, the bird, fish, tree and other flora and fauna designs in its Eperfa line are approved by the Hungarian Ornithological and Nature Conservation Society and Balaton Uplands National Park. All are made from discarded wood and most of the toys are manufactured by disable or socially underprivileged people.

Price: Various*

Source: Eperfa


Daybed

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This beautifully handcrafted daybed by Valentin Loellmann is made out of walnut and brass. The designer has shaped the daybed to support a reclining body with an organic shape. Each piece is completely handmade by Valentin and all are signed and numbered. Dimensions: H 46 x L 265 X p 86cm. Other dimensions or finishes on request.

Born in 1983 in Germany, Valentin Loellmann graduated in 2010 from the Academy of Fine Arts in Maastricht, he founded his studio, accompanied by Galerie Gosserez (Paris) who immediately perceives the talent of his expressiveness. The designer won twice the price for the “most beautiful contemporary design piece” at PAD London in 2013 and 2017.

Price: On request

Source: Galerie Gosserez


Andon

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If you stayed in a ryokan, you have noticed the traditional andon lamp, normally lit by candle. The light is softly filtered by Japanese paper. Initially from the Edo period, the andon lamp was a common object with a daily use.

Time & Style stores have tried to figure out how they could bring the traditional Japanese lamps into modern life. Tokaki is a generic term for andon lamps and lanterns using canola oil and candles. The challenge was to bring the electrical wiring into a simple shape and to recreate the flame.

The andon lamp’s filament light is achieved by replicating a faint red flame as seen just before diminishing, which was an essential element. They also have added a dimmer. 

Price: USD 655*

Source: Time & Style

*all prices are exclusive of local taxes and shipping.

‘Design Your Christmas’ is a series. Read the first chapter here, the second one here and our special focus on Middle East here.

The Imprint of a Paradise City

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In Seoul, the Paradise City welcome its guests in two new stunning windowless buildings by MVRDV.


Close to the Incheon airport of the Korean capital, an entertainment and hotel complex dubbed The Paradise City has a total of six buildings including a casino, two hotels, an art collection (including artworks by Damian Hirst, Yayoi Kusama, Georg Baselitz, Subodh Gupta and more) with an art garden.

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The Imprint by Rotterdam-based MVRDV is the latest addition to Paradise City, an entertainment and hotel complex comprised of 6 buildings located a kilometre away from Incheon, South Korea’s largest airport, and consists of a nightclub and an indoor theme park. MVRDV designed two simple volumes onto which they projected the facades of the neighbouring buildings, "imprinting" them in the form of relief patterns. 

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One building is a night club and the other an indoor theme park. The architects draped the buildings and worked on the relief patterns of the facades. They are made up of 3,869 unique panels, created out of glass-fibre reinforced concrete. Once installed, the panels were painted white in order to emphasize the reliefs, thereby transforming the two buildings into sculptural volumes of abstract art.

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"Reflection and theatricality are therefore combined. With our design, after the nightly escapades, a zen-like silence follows during the day, providing an almost literally reflective situation for the after parties. Giorgio de Chirico would have liked to paint it, I think." said Winy Maas, co-founder of MVRDV.

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The eye-catching effect is most probably the lifted entrances. The Club entrance is painted in gold and had been designed to be visible to passengers landing at the Incheon Airport.

Pictures courtesy of Ossip van Duivenbode