Alias revisits a key archive project by Pio Manzù, the brilliant protagonist of Italian automobile design during the sixties. The idea materialised at the GAMeC of Bergamo where the archives of Pio Manzù’s work are stored. It is here that Renato Staffaucher and the designer’s son, Giacomo Manzoni, met in 2010. Together they studied sketches, projects and materials until their attention was drawn to a prototype chair designed for the Rinascente department store, clearly taking its inspiration from the automobile industry. Unfortunately, the chair base was missing and only one photograph had survived to tell its story. So began an exciting journey of research and reconstruction. Three-dimensional systems were used to redesign the five-star base originally created in Pio Manzù’s day by a collaborating Japanese artist. At the same time, the leather prototype, which had been damaged over the course of time, was carefully restored. The re-edition began to take form and finally reach its completion. The decision was made to integrate a footrest on a four-star base, designed to be wholly coherent with the design and proportions of the chair. This journey of culture and design has given Alias the opportunity to discover a deep-rooted affinity with the historical figure of Pio Manzù. One of the first designers to have conceived the man-machine relationship beyond mere function, considering aspects of safety and well-being, Manzù’s uncompromising approach to design and his familiarity with technology made him a genuine pioneer in the sphere of ergonomics.
“Little Ben is inspired by the shape of an old English tea table. During our research we had noticed that because of its size, small side tables for living rooms allow either place for coffee and tea, or serve as a repository for the daily newspaper and books. Our aim was to accommodate both possibilities in a occasional table and also maintain the classic elegant shape of a traditional coffee table. It was resolved by taking a recess in the table leg, that allows to collect upright or rolled magazines. The occasional table is made out of beech wood with small construction tricks by classic wood turner crafts.”
Little Ben Table, by Designer, for Studio Dreimann
The Scatter Shelf is composed of 5mm black acrylic shelves in a grid form, stacked in three layers and slightly displaced. The resulting shelving unit is not only structurally strong but creates a visual effect in which objects placed on the shelves appear as though caught in a spider’s web when viewed from the front. When viewed on an angle, the glossy acrylic face creates a series of reflections within the shelves, making the ‘opaque’ acrylic appear to be transparent. The diffused reflections caused by the surfaces’ shine and form also separates and scatters the view behind the shelving unit, creating a completely kaleidoscopic effect.
Scatter Shelf, by Nendo
Photos by: Masayuki Hayashi
This trio of outdoor furniture is designed for the garden, terrace or the swimming pool – either at home, at the restaurant or at a hotel. Part of the larger BD Showtime Collection designed by Jaime Hayon, which takes its inspiration from MGM musicals.
The Showtime armchairs have an optional cover, to take shelter from the sun or for reading or listening to music in privacy.
The designer has a true passion for simplicity and minimal construction, where maximum strength is achieved with a minimal use of material and components.
All of this is reflected in Mensa6, Michael Schougaard Svane latest design. (2011 winner of reddot design award) The table with a 6mm thick table top only consists of 4 components and the principals of minimal construction is used to achieve maximum strength and stability.
Mensa6 Table, by Michael Schougaard Svane
Combined with a love of typography and a need for adaptable furniture, ByALEX designed the A Range: considered, playful and enjoyable. The Replica typeface – designed by Norm in Zurich – was specifically used in the design, as the distinctive diagonal cuts mean that there are no protruding elements, to trip you up!
The A Stool, The A Coat Stand and The A Side Table, from ByALEX
Designed by Jeffrey Bernett for B&B Italia in 2001, Landscape is a modern classic. For the 10-year anniversary of this project a new rocking base transforms it into the most modern of rocking chairs, while a cushioned seat with a three-dimensional surface, designed by Kvadrat for B&B Italia in seven colour variations (mustard yellow, purple, yellow, beige, sage green, orange and dark brown) enhances its comfort.
Landscape Rocker, by Jeffrey Bernett, for B&B Italia
Bernhardt Design has unveiled a bar stool called Forest stool by designer Arik Levy. The stool features a stylish collection of horizontal bars at alternating heights, giving the stool an appearance of a forest of trees.
“Forest is the result of the battle between nature and man; the creation of comfort by the variable heights of the footrests.”
- Arik Levy
Hans J. Wegner’s Oculus Chair was designed in 1960, but there were only two prototypes made — one in orange fabric, the other in leather — and the chair was largely forgotten. A half-century later, in 2009, it was rediscovered when Knud Erik Hansen, the owner of the furniture maker Carl Hansen & Son, received an e-mail from the Wegner studio with a picture of the chair from a 1968 magazine.
“The studio asked if we liked the chair,” said Thomas Vagner, the president of the company’s American branch. “Of course, we loved the chair.” The leather prototype had been lost, but Wegner’s family still had the orange chair. “Normally, when we develop or relaunch an old product, we buy it at auction and cut it in two to see what it’s like on the inside,” Mr. Vagner said. But since it was the only one, they had it scanned in 3-D, so they could see the interior.
During a collaborative research workshop organized by dutch company Arco, London-based Okay Studio created a series of new furniture pieces, including the Mushiki storage system by Spanish collective member Tomás Alonso. Named after the Japanese word for steaming vessel, these side tables draw their shape and functionality from the stackable bamboo components of their namesake object’s design.
Available in two sizes, each round structure features a column with a wooden hinge running along it, which allows various modules to be stacked, rotated and opened. Like many of Alonso’s designs, these tables combine simple elements to render more complex structures, enabling users to adjust its movable components to explore proportion and spatial relationships. With a strong emphasis on how humans relate to the products, Alonso says, “For me it’s important that what I design makes its way into people’s hands and people’s homes. I would like my objects to be used, lived with and enjoyed.”