the cappellini lounge at cappellini point will feature an installation dedicated to s.pellegrino‘s first design project, created in collaboration with giulio capellini. three international designers— neri&hu, steven haulenbeek, and philippe nigro will each conceive a different label for a limited-edition series titled the journey of water.
above> piero lissoni, nasir kassamali and giulio cappellini
saturday 14 may 2016 / 3p / conversation room / wanted design manhattan / 269 11th ave ( btw 27th & 28th )
italian design brands and the us market: opportunities
guilio cappellini / creative director and talent scout
nasir kassamali / founder of luminaire and talent scout
piero lissoni / architect and designer
in conversation with gilda bojardi / editor in chief interni
use your ears to listen to the ‘i’s’
above> embroidery chair | johan lindsten | cappellini | 2016
the four seasons are the characters of embroidery chair series by johan lindsten. expressing the encounter between the embroidery tradition passed down through generations and next-generation industrial technology, these four chairs with ash wood body and backrests with cross-stitch embroidery on tapestry wool depict painterly landscape scenes drawn from the essence of the four seasons. colors change together with seasons from the ash stained walnut shell of autumn to the white ash of spring, from the black stained ash of winter to the red stained ash of summer.
orla plus | jasper morrison | cappellini | 2016
orla plus collection by jasper morrison is the tale of the development and evolution of orla project. the asymmetry theme combined with smooth lines is the leitmotif of this collection that consists of sofas in either two- or three-seater models, an armchair and a swivel chair. fixed cover for the base and removable covers for the cushions are available in all fabrics and leathers of the collection. the pillows are removable and have polyurethane foam padding.
below> utrecht chair | gerrit t. rietveld | 1935 // boxblocks | bertjan pot | cassina | 2016
the artist bertjan pot has designed an exclusive bespoke textile in three jacquard versions for the utrecht armchair giving a contemporary twist to this icon by gerrit t. rietveld. the architecture of the armchair is reflected in the innovative workmanship of the boxblocks fabric which is made up of 8 colored threads mixed 2 at a time to create 19 different colors on a template which outlines the shape of the armchair. carried out with an advanced computer controlled jacquard weaving machine. the result is a unique and perfectly balanced geometric pattern in which the combination of triangles is never repeated. a homage to dutch creativity, each unique boxblocks version fits 90 limited edition pieces like a tailor-made dress, for a total of 270 models, which are progressively numbered to guarantee the cassina mark of authenticity. the utrecht armchair was designed in 1935 and has been exclusively produced by cassina since 1988.
“my concepts are never single lined or step by step but they are always a meeting point of different ideas and feelings.
for the boxblocks textile of the utrecht it was important for me to do something today that was not technically possible at the time of the armchair’s creation.
the pattern is inspired by the modernist ‘block-sculptural’ shape of the chair itself. when talking patterns there are generally two types, one is the pattern that respects the product and enhances its shape (think traditional tartan checks and stripes), the other is the pattern that crosses seams and dazzles its actual shape (think zebra stripes and large organic flower prints)… this one does both.”
below> lloyd | jean-marie massaud | poltrona frau | 2016
jean-marie massaud designs lloyd, a system of storage units and bookcases with variable geometries. thin vertical wooden rods create light grilles that run from top to bottom on invisible horizontal rails. each grille can be moved as desired to create sequences that are different each time. a fluctuating score of solids and voids, of light and shade. a sensual game that offers a glimpse of the contents, books and objects, without fully revealing them.
the most advanced technology is combined with traditional materials, wood and saddle leather, to form a solid and minimalist structure. the effect is almost intangible, transparent. the horizontal elements on which the grilles slide are made from hpl, a material which even in very thin layers guarantees stability and strength, with a natural oak veneer. the vertical uprights, in mdf covered with cuoio saddle or cuoio saddle extra leather, are placed at regular intervals to give the piece of furniture rhythm and enhance the liberating effect of the grilles.
each individual grille is a painstaking piece of cabinetwork. the solid oak rods are cut in different thicknesses and then individually glued by hand. given the very reduced surfaces of the rods, the lead-colored dye is also applied by hand in several phases.
there is an infinite number of possible compositions. in the wall version the base is closed by mdf panels covered, like the uprights, with cuoio saddle or cuoio saddle extra leather. in the freestanding version, the mobile grilles run along both sides for an even more vibrant and chiaroscuro effect. in all variants the sides of the structure are closed by fixed grilles.
the lloyd can take the form of large bookcases or open storage units of various sizes. widths range from 225 to 280 cm, heights from 46 to 188 cm and its depth is 42.5 cm. the composition can rest on lead-colored solid oak stands or sit directly on the floor on steel feet with matt gunmetal grey finish.
event> “being original: making the case for authentic design” aia and idcec approved ceu course
date> tuesday 22 september 2015 | 12 noon
venue> centro | 4727 mcpherson avenue | st. louis MO
rsvp> by friday 18 september 2015 | firstname.lastname@example.org
instructor> john james jenkin, ceo, driade
Be Original Americas™ will present their first-ever Continuing Education Unit (CEU) course on the importance of authentic design while delving into the nature of innovation and creativity. The economic, social, legal, and personal costs of supporting knock-offs will be highlighted. This will be held at Centro, St. Louis’ premiere location for the best in design, during St. Louis Design Week. Instructor John James Jenkin, CEO, Driade and a Be Original Americas board member will lead the program for architects and interior designers to earn continuing education (0.1 IDCEC/1 LU AIA) credits for members of American Institute of Architects (AIA) and Interior Design Continuing Education Council (IDCEC). The 2 hour program will include a 1 hour course, networking and lunch.
[ be original americas ]
Be Original Americas, founded in 2012, is committed to educating, informing and influencing designers, businesses, and the greater public on the value of purchasing authentic designs. The goal is to elevate the discussion so that all who appreciate good design also understand the economic, social, and ethical reasons to support the creators and manufacturers of original, authorized design, thereby ensuring its future.
[ centro ]
Cento began in 1988 as a trade showroom representing furniture, lighting, and textiles from around the globe. In 1998, Centro opened its doors to retail clientele in the historic Central West End neighborhood of St. Louis, MO. A showroom expansion in 2003 tripled the size of the showroom. Today, Centro is the exclusive St. Louis retailer for over forty-five of the leading design brands in the world, including B&B Italia, Driade, Zanotta, Tom Dixon, Flos, Cassina, Alessi, Moooi, Cappellini, Artemide, Fritz Hansen, Knoll, and Herman Miller.
auction ends 13 june 2014
[ alessi ] presents Noè, set of 6 champagne cork pincers made of 18/10 stainless steel and hand gold plating in 24 carat gold designed by Giulio Iacchetti. The champagne cork opener from the “Noè” series shape is inspired by the outline of a bottle. Produced in AISI 630 steel that is cast in a shell with the lost-wax process and then polished, Giulio Iacchetti’s cork opener features cutters on top, allowing you to cut the metal cage that secures the cork. You can then release the cork using the tool to make expulsion easier. The cork opener comes in special packaging developed for the Objets-Bijoux featured in the Alessi catalogue.
[ cappellini ] presents the Embryo Chair, design Marc Newson (1988), padded and covered with a special bi-elastic red fabric. Embryo Chair, armchair with three legs and metal structure is one of Marc Newson’s first design projects and it is proposed in an unusual red fabric. This product is one of the most significant works by the Australian designer. Embryo Chair is part of the permanent collections of Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg (Germany), Museum of Modern Art San Francisco (USA).
[ cassina ] presents 699 Superleggera chairs (set of 2), design Gio Ponti (1957 – 2013 special edition) in matte grey lacquer finish structure and upholstery fabric from the Gio Ponti collection (Rubelli).
Based on the Ligurian tradition of the Chiavari chair, the Superleggera marks a high point in the research of Gio Ponti and of the skill and ability of experimentation and craftsmanship of Cassina and its artisans. Progressive lightening of the structure and alterations to the form of the uprights, with respect to the first version, the Leggera of 1952, led in 1957 to a solution marked by a perfect balance between solidity and lightness. “Creating the Superleggera – Gio Ponti said – I have applied an eternal technical process, that strives to move from weight to lightness. By subtracting – inert matter and weight, finding of the form with the structure, wisely and without virtuoso gestures, respecting utility and the ‘exact solidity.’
[ flos ] presents the set of 2 String Light lamps, design Michael Anastassiades (2014) in a conical version with wallrose, white finish and decoration by American artist Shantell Martin. «Every time I take the train, I sit by the window and watch the series of perfectly parallel strings connecting the pylons, as we move at high speed. I love the way they divide the landscape and how spheres are occasionally beaded through the wires at random intervals. I also love how, in Mediterranean cultures, strings of lights are stretched between posts to mark an outdoor space for an evening party in a village square. And finally, I love how human ingenuity works around problems created by everyday things in the house (like switches and power points) that others have chosen to position where we don’t want them.» This is how Michael Anastassiades, a Cypriot designer based in London and born in 1967, describes the Spring Lights ceiling lamp. A system of tensors gives volume and three-dimensionality to the form outlined by this lightweight cord that plays with space. Light source: 1 LED Array 2700K – 1980 lm total – CRI90 – 25W, dimmer regulation through Bluetooth Android and Apple application.
[ kartell ] presents the Bourgie table lamp, design Ferruccio Laviani (2004), one-off metal finish in tones of gold, silver and copper. Ten years after its debut, the Bourgie table lamp has become a genuine bestseller, a transverse, eclectic object that fits into a wide range of decor styles. In this tenth anniversary year, the lamp has been made with a special one-off metal finish, becoming part of the “Precious Kartell” collection. The three parts of the structure are colored in gold, silver and copper, topped by the large copper-color shade, in one of this season’s hottest hues.
[ poltrona frau ] presents the Juliet armchair and pouf, design Benjamin Hubert (2012) in a special Nest-category leather and crimp stitching in the inner part of the seat and back. Juliet is the armchair that symbolizes Poltrona Frau’s one hundredth anniversary, winner of the design contest held by the company to celebrate this important event between twelve talented designers from all over the world. With an invitation and a challenge: to project the brand values into the future, and to do so now. The structure is created from solid beech and birch plywood. Upholstery is in Pelle Frau leather and further embellished by an innovative crimp stitching in the interior part of the seat and backrest.
what> INTERNI 60th anniversary online auction
when> may 19 > 13 june 2014
where>: auction details
the 26th annual [ international furniture fair ] is at new york city’s jacob k. davits convention center. we’ll alert you to events of interest, adding them to this post as they come in. we will be attending. following @ICFF #ICFF @wanteddedsign #wanteddesign @IndustryCityBK @NYCxDESIGN #nycxdesign
[ be original ]
sunday, 18 may | 2 > 3p / [ be original americas ] returns to [ wanted design ] with a hard hitting look at why original design is important – to everyone. amanda dameron (editor-in-chief, dwell), will lead a prestigious panel to explore how in the advent of our Internet age, good design is available to the consumer through myriad channels. so how can the design industry continue to educate the public about making informed choices, honoring authentic design and eschewing the convenience of knockoffs? panelists include felix burrichter (editor & creative director, pin up), giulio cappellini (art director and creative managing director, cappellini), paolo cravedi (managing director, alessi na), nasir kassamali (president, luminaire), bonnie mackay (bmackay consulting) and mark schurman (director, corporate communications, herman miller
event> be original americas panel: design for our times: authentic or bust! #BeOriginal @BeOriginalUSA
where> wanteddesign | conversation lounge | 11th avenue at 27th street
[ more information ]
[ wanted design ]
friday, 16 may | noon > 10p / wanted design [ pre-view – by invitation only ] a whole gamut of time-slots for bloggers, press, interior designers, vip’s and everyone else taking place at the terminal stores, the tunnel [ WANTEDDESIGN 2014 ]
event> wanted design: preview
where> 269 11th ave / between 27th & 28th
[ wallpaper* handmade ]
friday 16 thru 31 may / wallpaper* handmade in new york | fresh from milan’s salone del mobile, the exhibition dedicated to the marriage of craftsmanship and design, will arrive in new york for ICFF with several newly commissioned design pieces created in collaboration with british car manufacturer jaguar. the exhibition will be held in the 345meatpacking building, a new luxury development from ddg. [ more handmade ]
event> wallpaper* handmade in new york
where> 345meatpacking | west retail 345 West 14th Street
[ herman miller ]
friday, 16 may | 4 > 6p / alexander girard: an uncommon vision [ pre-view – by invitation only ] on the occasion of the first archival reintroductions of furniture and screen-printed fabric panels by iconic 20th century designer alexander girard, herman miller and maharam celebrate his life and work with a special exhibit and installation. an uncommon vision will be open to the public 17 > 28 may 17-28 at .
event> alexander girard: an uncommon vision
where> 446 west 14th street
[ herman miller ]
saturday, 17 may | 4 > 6p / herman miller collection [ pre-view – by invitation only ] join us in celebrating the herman miller collection and get a sneak peek at new designs from bassamfellows and Studio 7.5, as well as exciting reissues from the archives.
event> herman miller collection
where> 848 washington street / the standard hotel, highline room, 3rd floor
[ flos ]
saturday, 17 may | 6 > 8p / michael anastassiades string & ic lights | celebrate north american debut of string lights and IC lights and view local artist shantell martin’s one-of-a-kind drawings. refreshments served.
event> michael anastassiades string & ic lights | opening reception
where> 152 greene street (at houston)
[ cappellini> ]
saturday, 17 may | 6 > 8p / branching light | cocktail reception | exhibition of new works by ivan butorac 17 > 31 may 2014.
event> branching light | cocktail reception | email@example.com
where> 152 wooster street
[ cassina> ]
saturday, 17 may | 6 > 8p / avante-garde retro
event> avante-garde retro | cocktail reception | firstname.lastname@example.org
where> 151 wooster street
[ chicagoland> ]
friday, 16 may | noon > 10p / chicagoland in new york | is an exhibition of design work by 14 chicago designers that will be shown during NYCxDesign. it’s challenging to see it all opening night, so we invite you to join us again saturday at 4pm. we’ll be serving beer from the chicago-based revolution brewery. press preview noon > 4p
event> chicagoland in new york | opening reception 7 > 10p
where> 269 11th avenue terminal stores
>> EXHIBITIONS / POP-UPS <<
[ rational x intuitive thought ]
17 > 19 may / rational x intuitive thought | drawing from the spirit of duality between designers george yabu & glenn pushelberg, the exhibition will launch new collections for pampaloni, stellar works, avenue road, van rossum and the rug company. public viewing 17 > 19 may.
where> swiss institute, 18 wooster street
[ empasso ]
thru 3 june / empasso gallery: compasso | usa launch of newly re-issued furniture pieces designed by oscar niemeyer & jorge zalszupin, two of brazil’s most celebrated and influential architects. public viewing thru 3 june.
where> 38 north moore street (hudson street)
[ industrycity/design ]
thru 20 may / industrycity/design | a historic, thirty-acre manufacturing and innovation complex on the waterfront in sunset park, brooklyn, as part of NYCxDESIGN. open to public all day noon > 7p / sunday noon > 4p / closed monday, 19 may.
where> 220 36th street / brooklyn
Many of the firms showing at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair also have showrooms in SoHo or other areas downtown from its site, the Javits Convention Center. But while Vitra, Artek and many others chose to take space at the fair as well, American stalwarts Herman Miller and Knoll were not to be found. Such absences suggest that despite some 600 attendees, the fair celebrating its twentieth fifth anniversary is somehow still not yet mandatory attendance.
The ICFF and attendant events all over town were packaged this year as NYC X Design, which meant official city support for the idea of a design week promoted in previous years. The idea of a Milano Manhattan style remains elusive however.
parabola chair | carlo aiello | 2013
Even before the show opened, Carlo Aiello’s Parabola chair has emerged as the ICFF’s star: it suggests a cerebral cousion of Harry Bertoia’s diamond chair, mapping out the space time continuum for Star Trek. Or is it Mr. Spock’s shopping cart?
At ICFF, Molo’s stand, all of brown paper, caught attention. Inside were some of the company’s cloudlike, pleated paper lighting elements.
In an era dedicated to innovation, the classics face a challenge in mixing novelty with durability… Artek offered up new editions of its Aalto stool, much as Converse keeps producing new graphics for the Chuck Taylor All-Star. Carl Hanson celebrated the anniversary of the Wegner Shell chair with new fabrics. (Wegner is 93, the chair is 50.)
stool 60 | mike meiré | 2012
In addition to ICFF, several smaller gatherings and many open houses, parties and panels were part of the event.
Wanted 2013 is the name of a rival gathering of designers in the huge, solidly build brick warehouse downtown near the river called rather ominously Terminal Stores. It showed a more experimental and informal air than ICFF.
Intramuros magazine showcased a homage to Cappellini, who would otherwise be expected on the floor of ICFF at the Javits Center. Bright red examples of Cappellini products sat isolated silver lined booths with a vaguely pornographic mood to them. The Istanbul and South American delegations were impressive.
hai lounge chair | luco nichetto | one nordic furniture company | 2013
Some eyes were caught by One Nordic Furniture Company, from Helsinki, with its lovable Bento chair. Also at Nordic was Luca Nichetto’s Hai chair, which channeled the spirit of Gio Ponti. (Ponti, was also evoked at Vitra, with the Repos wing back chair by Antonio Citterio. Ponti also seemed an inspiration for Toshiyuki Kita’s “@” chair for Ligne Roset. Gio Ponti is the subject of a show to come this spring [ Living “Alla Ponti” ] at Molteni in SoHo.
In this, its second year, it hosted talks and such events as the School of Visual Arts Products of Design program’s meta design interpretation of the show. (url.)
pixel chair | valerie chin | 2013
There was student work, as at ICFF. The Rhode Island School of Design dispatched the alumni show originally curated by its chief, John Maeda, for the Milan fair. One witty example was Valerie Chin’s “Pixel” chair.
The curatorial group Sight Unseen produced a showcase at The Standard Hotel. This year, the American Design Club returns to Noho with its ninth group showcase, entitled Trophy: Awards We Live With. The group’s organizers explain: “A trophy is a memento, token, or symbol, used to commemorate an achievement or victory. Whether they are awarded, stolen, or created, trophy objects can come in many forms.”
<a href="about phil patton
On February 8-9, 2013, the fourth U.S. edition of Pictoplasma NYC Conference will unfold at the Tishman Auditorium, Parsons The New School for Design. Originating in Berlin, Pictoplasma is an international network of designers, illustrators, animators and artists who share a love for abstract and reduced character representation. The conference attracts upwards of 300 attendees to dive into the contemporary character-driven art and design. To coincide with the marathon of inspiring lectures, talks and panel discussions, Cappellini will host a group exhibition composed of a curated selection of participants.[ pictoplasma nyc ]
todd bracher sitting on humanscale’s “trea” [click on photo to enlarge]
It’s Tuesday, 14 June, Flag Day. We’re talking to Todd Bracher in the Chicago showroom of Humanscale.
[DesignApplause] Todd, give us a little idea of what your work environment is like.
[Todd Bracher] I’d say my work environment is quite neutral. I’m based in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, which is sort of a barren part of New York City, which is quite a contrast in its own right. It’s almost like working on a sailboat. You have views onto the harbor and to the East River. It’s wonderful. But what I love about it is the large, open, industrial-like space, really neutral, no outside influences around me. In other words, I look out the window and I see the water and the sky and for me it’s just a white slate. It’s a wonderful place to think and not be influenced by anything.
[DA] Tell us a little bit about your process.
[TB] I don’t know if our process is unusual or not. We research and study nature, for example natural selection, and we talk a lot about Darwin and how nature finds the ultimate solution. It’s similar to baking bread. We know we need certain ingredients. We put all of the ingredients together and start to bake this bread. And we know that if we throw any of the ingredients away it won’t be just right. At the end of the day we pursue the most efficient solution based on market and client needs.
[DA] What kinds of things are you working on, what do you create?
[TB] This may sound cliche but we’re out to make real-world solutions and we’re not interested in just making beautiful objects. It will be beautiful but it has to sell, it has to be smart and useful for people. We work on a variety of things. From “Trea” for Humanscale which is intended to be a higher volume light task chair all the way to lounge seating and lighting. It’s a broad spectrum from creative direction to branding to final product production.
[DA] Your youthfulness belies remarkable accomplishments. You have a decade of experience working in Copenhagen, Milan, Paris and London; cited as America’s next great Designer and nominations for Designer of the Year in 2008 and 09. You headed Tom Dixon’s design studio, and the creative director at Georg Jensen. Does the head get in the way?
[TB] Are we talking about ego or too much stuff in the head?
[DA] Let’s talk about both.
[TB] If anyone thought I’m about ego then they don’t know me. At the end of the day I’m part of the tool. I am a collaborator. I bring my two cents in but the company has their part as well as the manufacturers and the guys in the workshop. The sales team has there part and everyone everywhere has their part and I’m just a cog in the wheel. And everyone is doing what they’re good at. I’m happy to be the face of the product but I’m not the only one involved.
[DA] What’s the genesis of you work? Does a client call you in and ask you to design a chair? How does it work?
[TB] It works in different ways. With Humanscale I had a conversation with Bob, the CEO and he basically said “make me something that’s cantilevered, make me something really smart, make me something beautiful. And it was sort of that casual. A very European way to approach it, while other clients bring a long brief, 10 pages long. But the first thing we do is we go out and do the homework. We find out what the market is looking for, what it needs, how it uses this or that in actual applications. It doesn’t start with drawing, it starts with research. We also pay attention to the psychological side, how people are attracted to the object. Finally we start drawing and building mockups which leads to final development. But it’s a long front-end of research.
above: freud | zanotta | 2002 [click on photo to enlarge]
[DA] Speaking of front-end, your work experience seems to begin in Europe, you spent 10 years there. You were quoted in Metropolis magazine to that end about where and how designers get their early experience. What inspired you to go to Europe and where to go?
[TB] I guess my earliest motivations was the a chance to be a bit selfish, to absorb myself in design. And I guess I learn more by doing rather than by reading. I had finished an undergrad degree in Pratt in 1996 and started designing consumer products for the U.S. market working for another designer. It was a remote caddy, spice racks, barbecue tools, these kinds of products. It made sense at the time but I wasn’t satisfied. I wanted poetry and artistry that went with it. I wanted concept and more meat to the bones. So I applied for a Fulbright grant and I ended up in Copenhagen, which gave me the wonderful chance to study Danish design. Young American designers, we tend to learn through studying books but in Copenhagen you can go directly to the factories, go visit the actual production that’s happening around the world. I spent two one-half years in Copenhagen and completed the master’s course. Then I went to Milan and started designing for Zanotta and a few other brands and ended up in Paris and then also London for Tom Dixon before coming back to New York. This first-hand experience gave me the tools I hope I need to design.
[DA] In Metropolis magazine you say the European manufacturer can be more spontaneous when giving you an assignment as compared to the U.S. manufacturer. Can you elaborate?
[TB] It’s more or less true though there are reasons for this difference. For the scale of the work that’s done in the U.S., for the difficulty of the task, it’s a much more complicated process. And to do it in a two-year timeframe versus a less complicated European one-year timeframe, I think the design teams here are faster actually. The difference for me may be European business is more emotion driven, it’s more about what you feel plus your direct connection with the owner where together you create something you both feel good about for that year and you see where that goes. It’s also not the long-term plan for most of the European companies and it’s more visceral, more from the hip. The U.S. is more of a marketed-to culture, less about the heart and more to where it’s going, what’s the business part, what’s it for. But it doesn’t mean it’s not beautiful, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t have meaning. At the end of the day it’s still a wonderful, beautiful product that’s well-considered.
[DA] What do you think about products that are designed to be polished and built to last versus products that are designed to be quickly disposable?
[TB] That’s a very broad question. I don’t really make anything that’s disposable. Even if it’s a plastic lamp it’s not made to be disposable. There are of course disposable products in the world, but I don’t intend to work in that world. Though I feel compared to Europe the U.S. is not disposable, most products are in fact built to last. Whereas a European mindset is what’s working and interesting at the moment and where it goes after that is a little less regarded. It doesn’t mean it’s not important but most European companies don’t depend on the product which sometimes works to their advantage and sometimes it does not.
[DA] Who or what inspires you?
[TB] What inspires me are things I could never do myself. For me to go to, let’s say the Museum of Natural History, and to study the life cycle and evolution of fish, for example, is absolutely brilliant and that inspires me. Not furniture, not something I could have made myself.
[DA] There isn’t a day that goes by that you’re not inspired. Right?
[TB] Ha! Well it’s one thing to be inspired and another on how to capture that which has an influence on what you’re doing. And that might happen once or twice a year if you’re lucky.
[DA] What are some of the characteristics of your work?
[TB] I guess you can say “efficiency” which may sound sort of boring but there’s a lot to it. There’s what I call “engineered aesthetics” where we’re making something that’s extremely beautiful but it’s also really purposeful. It’s not just about its beauty. The “Trea” chair for example is all about its reduction. Reducing materials, reducing everything to its bare essential but not letting it get cold and lose its sensual qualities. And at the same time you don’t see the springs and knobs and all those things that make an ergonomic chair comfortable. We’ve done away with all of that and made the mechanism internal. It’s all about boiling down the solution while maintaining the emotional qualities.
[DA] We recently purchased two Eames Sofa Compact benches for our living room. It amazes me that the solution in 1954 was you see all the bolts and springs and it’s so simply put together and yet something very charming. You are reminded of the limited technology.
[TB] For sure. And indirectly we have a similar solution on our “Trea” chair where you see how the back attaches to the seat, you see the seat, you see how the leg attaches, we’re not hiding that. But you don’t see the springs and the screws that make the chair work. It’s a balance between the two.
[DA] Has your style changed since you started? Has it always looked this way and you’re simply refining things?
[TB] It’s been pretty consistent. I’d like to think I keep using this reference that it’s like a tree, and our results are how a tree grows. You would never say that tree doesn’t look very nice, or that branch is in the wrong place. You can’t have an opinion like that in my eyes. It’s more about this thing looks this way because it has to look this way. When I look across my portfolio I don’t see things that could be different, instead the solutions are natural and self-evident.
[DA] How does your work represent your own philosophy on the state of design?
[TB] For me, I think about a fish skeleton. I think of its evolved structure over millions of years. I think of my world in a similar fashion, where I try to boil out the unnecessary and end with pure essentials that have evolved for a reason. You also find another level when you take something home and use it and really then begin to understand it. It may not be obvious until you use it, live with it. How that relates to the state of design today, is that for me, design is not subtle enough. Designers today are trying too hard to have their opinion. And what I do is not to have any opinion, I just let it evolve and let the fish skeleton do its task. And it’s beautiful for what it is, and it’s not about me, not about my opinion. The shapes of these chairs are not my opinion, they’re evolved to be what they are. That says a lot about me not being a designer, more of an editor of its evolution.
[DA] If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
[TB] Oh, I’d love to be a physicist, but that would never happen, I love to use my hands too much.
[DA] This will be the last question. What’s next?
[TB] That’s probably the toughest question. For me, the next project or next opportunity is really about learning. Every project that I do I try and learn as much as I can. Not only about the technical aspects of design but also about the relations of the people I work with, and the market and where we are going with things. Projects that really get me excited are ones I know nothing about.
[DA] Just one more question. What part of what you do satisfies you the most?
[TB] When the project is finished and I can look back at all the knowledge added to my brain that wasn’t there before the project began. I also believe that mindset influenced me to move to and around Europe and face opportunities to learn the culture, the people who we design for. There’s a somewhat satisfying part using design as that tool to make it all happen.
[DA] Todd, do you have any questions?
[TB] Today is Flag Day. How long have we been celebrating Flag Day?
[DA] I’m not sure. I bet we’ll both research the answer. Thank you Todd, you bring new meaning to baking bread and a fish skeleton. It’s been a fun and inspirational conversation. We’re going to be interviewing Jeffrey Bernett in a few minutes. Do you know him?
[TB] Yes, we’re good friends and are always talking. Give him a hard time, he will enjoy that. [ bracher background ]
Native New Yorker Todd Bracher, founder of Todd Bracher Studio LLC, is a Designer and Educator currently based in New York City after a decade working in Copenhagen, Milan, Paris and London. Todd has collaborated with some of the world’s most prestigious brands around the world from Furniture and Object Design to Interiors and Architecture. Todd has been pinned as ‘America’s next great Designer’ by the NY Daily News as well as received several nominations for Designer of the year in 2008 and 2009. His experiences range from working independently, heading Tom Dixon’s Design studio, acting Professor of Design at l’ESAD in Reims France, to having been appointed Creative Director of the Scandinavian luxury brand Georg Jensen. [ todd bracher studio ]
Designed in 1996, Knotted Chair is one of the first projects designed by Marcel Wanders for Cappellini. Since then, the collaboration between the designer and the company still continues, with projects that are innovative and alluring. Now, 15 years and 1001 Knotted Chairs later, the first production of the piece will end. The final 25 Knotted Chairs in this version will be sold during the Milano Design Week.
Cappellini presents the 2011 collection as if it were in a giant box of sweets: fallen from above, one flap open to reveal its delightful contents. Groups of objects in different colours, shapes and materials, communicating with one another, creating a fun and playful setting against the silver-walled background of a giant magenta booth.
14 products by 11 designers once again reaffirm the adventurous spirit of Cappellini and its innate ability to surprise us with vibrant avant-garde projects, each of which draws strength from the richness of its language. The magical and delicate language of Nendo is apparent in the lines and sinuous curves of the Sekitei chair and the straight sharp lines of Thin Black Table; two products in which dotted lines give shape and the substance. Then there is the oriental influence of the Doshi Levien duo, who this year present their first design for Cappellini with the sophisticated Cape armchair.
Another two new designers are Raphael Navot with POH, a sculptured object, and Daphna Laurens with the Tafelstukken range of lamps: both prototypes strongly characterized by the presence of natural materials such as wood. This is a journey which will ideally follow that of Martin Vallin’s The Secret Clubhouse chair, presented as a prototype in 2010 and now part of the permanent collection. Also presented are the technical materials and angular forms of the Kobe table by Leonardo Talarico and the already famous sculptured Tron Armchair by Dror, now industrialized for mass production.
This is opposed to the “supernormality” of the now iconic projects of Jasper Morrison who, with the Bac One and Bac Two chairs, adds two more elements to the Bac family. Last but not least, living room furniture; the new system of Burkina Faso microcontainers by Giulio Cappellini is colouful, contemporary and functional, while the Cuba 25 by Rodolfo Dordoni and Basket by the Bouroullec brothers each offer two completely opposing conceptions and interpretations of the sofa. Open and closed, but able coexist and interact in harmony with the other elements of the Cappellini collection, the bookcases and the storage systems.
Cappellini Showroom / via Santa Cecilia 4, from 12th to 16th April 10am – 9pm