The concept of a ceramic swan came from Antonio’s desire to have a watering-can connected to the aesthetical and practical world of gardening. Why we can not insert in it a glimpse of our indoor daily life, by transforming it in a tea pot? After all watering plants could be compared to pouring tea for friends. Changing the concept and the use of two common objects – like a watering can and a kettle – is a way for Antonio to magnify our usual life and putting some fantasy and magic in such tenderhearted gestures. The hybrid shape of the tall kettle could be seen as a weird swan and the short one could be seen as baby elephant with is very long trunk.
Bathtub fun and other aquatic adventures are guaranteed with Bote. Composed by a cork hull and a plastic add-on piece (a sail, a row of engine chimneys or a cabin) Bote is your ticket to plenty of imaginative seafaring. This indomitable will brave troubled waters, heavy downpours and pirate raids: cork’s buoyancy ensures that, no matter how perilous the journey, Bote will always resurface for new bathtub play.
Hong Kong-based Michael Young has been amongst the most successful and influential designers of his generation. Works in China – Part 1 Design Art is an exhibition showcasing the latest and most iconic works of Michael Young’s 20-year industrial design career, plus the launch of his book Works in China written by John Heskett. The book delves into the process of design documenting a number of Young’s products from the initial sketches, right through to the finished products. An eye-opening look at the staggering amount of work that goes into producing everything around us and must-read for anyone interested in design.
“This is my first show in 10 years. I started out making one offs in London as it was all that one could make back then, but it was a passion. After years of mass production it’s refreshing to go back to my roots and play a little.”
- Michael Young
Who can resist the charm of these comfortable poufs designed by Aleksandra Gaca? The poufs are made in a three-dimensional elastic fabric and their shapes are highly flexible.
The celebrated designer Karl Lagerfeld recently teamed up with the Swedish brand Orrefors to create a collection of crystal glasses which include champagne flutes and coupes, coasters, bowls, vases, as well as water and liqueur glasses. Transparent, black or milky white, and sometimes engraved with the KL monogram, the series is sophisticated and elegant.
Glassware, by Karl Lagerfeld, for Orrefors
Lines and Waves are the revolutionary protagonists of the installation conceived by the French designer for Lea Ceramiche. A micro-architecture, comprised of 3 communicating modules, stands out at the centre of the space and with a play on perspectives is surprising in the flexibility of the material covering it: super slim laminated porcelain Slimtech slabs only 3 mm thick. They however allow a large 300x100cm format, produced with advanced Lea Full HD technology which allows all types of decorative designs to be printed on glazed porcelain.
The Lines pattern, a composition of lines and vertical strokes which overlay and follow one another, first of all drawn by hand, then converted graphically by computer into countless punctiform elements, confers vibration, as well as depth, to the surface and intensifies the sensuality of the material through colour variation. Inviting visitors to enter the narrow and quiet passages and become totally immersed amongst the materials. A sensory conversation between design and technology.
Dotted Conversation, 16th – 20th June, Deco Design / Lea Ceramicheby, Paris Patrick Norguet, for Lea Ceramiche
Thirty-seven-year old Jean-François d’Or (a name that befits the sunny, luminous quality about him) is considered one of the most talented, prolific and appreciated designers in Belgium.
In 2010, he was chosen to represent his hometown, Brussels, during the national design week (Design September), and a retrospective selection of his works was displayed in one of the shiny spheres of the iconic Atomium. On this occasion, critics praised his “simple, unpretentious, logical objects that appeal as much for their evident, clearly perceptible design as well as their discrete poetry”. “Humble” is quite the epithet for Jean-François d’Or — and he proudly claims the label, turning these words from Belgian poet George Linze into his motto: “A strange phosphorescence covers the humblest objects as if poetry were only what is extraordinary about the ordinary”.
Droog design, Domani, Interni Edition, Konstantin Slawinski, Jongform, Ligne Roset (his terracotta Maternity pot was recently released during the Milan Salone, another landmark in the collaboration he started a few years ago with the Roset group) or The Conran Shop are among the brands his name has been associated with. Lately, he has designed a bed for Magnitude (which was introduced during the Kortrijk fair) and a series of door handles for Vervloet (on display at Maison&Objet in Paris). A large panel which somehow illustrates his versatility, as well as his ability to absorb himself into raw material, whether clay, glass, metal or wood is involved.
Graduated from the renowned La Cambre School of design in Brussels (1998), he started his own studio, Loudor design, five years later. In between, he had managed to achieve a project in New York with textile designer Caroline Ray, then to work in his homeland with star designers such as Maarten Van Severen and Hans De Pelsmacker. Already granted a Henry van de Velde award (Belgium’s most coveted prize in the design field), this deeply grounded young man’s creations are now everywhere, through his brainchild: Loudor design has set up ongoing collaborations with the most prestigious design labels in Europe. A gifted, modern day alchemist, well-named Jean-François d’Or seems to turn everything he touches into gold.
– Elodie Palasse-Leroux
(French journalist Elodie Palasse-Leroux is the founder and editor of Sleek design, launched in 2009)
Bonbonne hanging lamp, Bonbonne floor lamp, Arlequin, Bonbonne, Drop, Mezzoluna, by Jean-François d’Or, Loudor design
Hong Kong based homewares brand Puzhen has acquired several ancient pottery factories in China, including one which specializes in Zisha pottery production. Zisha pottery is made from special clay gathered on site; it is distinguished by its exceptional hardness and ability to be formed very precisely. The Sha diffuser uses this precision to marry the traditional pottery to modern electronic components used to diffuse essential oil vapor, housing it in a perforated metal mesh lid.
Simple yet clever, the bread bin’s circular shape was inspired by existing bent wood remnants and the three holes in the top are reminiscent of those found in bowling balls and function as ‘handles’ with which to lift the lid. Made of natural beech wood.
Loaf Bread Bin, from Established & Sons
“While most Iittala dinnerware embraces form over ornamentation, Taika breaks the mold. True, the forms are clean and simple, but the surfaces are wildly decorated with imaginative owls, foxes, and trees in a rich Nordic tradition. Taika means magic in Finnish, and the enchanted forest theme is apt. The designer of these fanciful scenes is Finnish illustrator and artist Klaus Haapaniemi, a rising star in the international design world. Each porcelain mug, bowl, or plate comes in either a white or midnight-blue background, which allows for individualized expression in mixing together or with Iittala’s all-white Aika dinnerware.”
Iittala Taika Dinnerware by Klaus Haapaniemi