Today’s ‘On my radar’ is a round-up of simple chairs, tables and accessories by some of my favourite Scandinavian brands. From Muuto and MENU to Fredericia and Ferm Living, there’s a focus on celebrating the honesty of natural materials and the craftsmanship that goes into making these designs.
Workshop chair by Cecilie Manz for Muuto
Workshop is a simple, new chair designed by Danish designer Cecilie Manz for Muuto. I spotted the design at Muuto’s new showroom in London (on Baltic Street East) and fell in love with its sturdy shape and clean lines. The chair’s frame and legs are made of solid wood, while the gently rounded back and seat are made of veneer. It’s an understated, honest design that celebrates craftsmanship, highlighting the beautiful, refined joints and natural grain of the wood.
Manz says of her design philosophy: ‘I design things that have a meaning to me. My general idea is always to have a clear argument legitimising the designs that I make. Function is essential, and if I cannot formulate a good reason for a new product, it is better to refrain from making it.’
PK1 by Poul Kjærholm for Carl Hansen & Son
Carl Hansen & Son has relaunched, PK1, a dining chair that Danish designer Poul Kjærholm first designed in 1955. The PK1 has a light, fluid form with a simple steel frame and beautifully woven organic flag halyard. I think it’s completely different to other, mostly wooden, chairs on the market, combining the designer’s clean aesthetic with a passion for authentic materials and the craft process.
This version has been made a little larger for today’s consumers (for our larger bottoms!), but retains the ethos of Kjærholm’s design. The chair is stackable and comes in stainless, chrome-plated or black powder-coated steel with natural or black flag halyard.
‘Poul Kjærholm had a penchant for steel, but he also valued organic materials – in this case, the flag halyard, which gives the light chair a welcoming feel that complements other furniture in our collection,’ explains Knud Erik Hansen, CEO of Carl Hansen & Son. ‘While very simple in all its details, the PK1 is unquestionably brilliant in its expression, and the chair’s woven seat makes it very comfortable, as it gently molds to the body and provides support where it is needed.’
Barstool and side tables by Aurélien Barbry for Fredericia
French designer Aurélien Barbry has designed a new range of barstools and side tables for Danish brand Fredericia. The Barbry collection has a striking expression, with a slender steel frame made of three sculptural sections that add stability and create footrests. The stools and tables are topped with a black lacquered ash or solid oak seat, and a version upholstered for comfort.
Says Barbry: ‘When designing new objects I always look at existing structures, which I try to refine and infuse with a certain twist that enhances both functionality and contemporary esthetics. As for the barstool and side tables, the various products are made of the same pieces of steel. This is a quite unique approach, both from an aesthetic but also from a production-wise point of view as we have a stock of pieces that can be used for either a barstool or a side table depending on the demand.’
New images from MENU
MENU has released gorgeous new imagery of its collections. I love the beauty of the Socket Occasional by Danish designers Norm Architects – it has a weighty, heavy base made of brass with a simple round bulb above. ‘In our work, we aim for geometrical purity,’ the designers explain. ‘We want to arrive at the maximum expressivity with the minimum of expression. It’s not about designing less of product. It’s about soft, streamlined shapes that invite you to touch them.’
One of my favourites is the Hover Bowl, also designed by Norm Architects. Made of marble, it’s a simple and refined bowl that looks like it is hovering and floating. It can be used as a soap holder, tea light holder, or vessel to hold little things you don’t want to lose such as keys.
Herman Chair upholstered by Kvadrat for Ferm Living
Ferm Living, in collaboration with Danish design duo Herman Studio, has updated its Herman Chair with an upholstered version. Using the Fiord fabric by Kvadrat, a woollen upholstery made with a mélange yarn and a unicoloured yarn, the updated chair marries simple design and comfort. The curving back of the chair has a characterful expression, while the thin legs add clean lines.
‘When designing the chair, it was important to us that the chair would keep its original expression in an upholstered variant. By adding the Fiord upholstering which is not a noisy pattern, the chair gets a nice tactility, elegance, and not least quality, while the shape of the chair is still clear,’ says Herman Studio on the updated Herman Chair.
Do any of these designs catch your eye?
All images courtesy of brands