It’s the time of the year again when the design industry and press descend on the European trade shows – imm Cologne, Maison et Objet in Paris (see my round-up here) and Stockholm Furniture Fair – all in search of the latest launches, key designs and the interior trends that will define the year ahead.
I’ve got a bit of FOMO that I couldn’t make it to Stockholm for the fair (teaches me for being disorganised…) but there’s been so many lovely, new pieces of minimalist furniture popping into my inbox, that I thought it was the perfect moment to do one of my ‘On my radar’ posts for February.
On my radar is a monthly (or near monthly…) round-up of new products and designs that have caught my eye and that I think you’ll like too. I’ve been a bit lax about writing these kinds of posts recently as naturally there weren’t many things launching in November and December, but January and February have certainly made up for that with an injection of newness and fresh energy. That’s not to say that everything has to be new or newsworthy – this isn’t about the latest must-have or things you need for your home, but starting the year with an injection of some much-needed design inspiration. We don’t necessarily need more chairs or tables, but there’ll always be a desire for beautiful imagery and ideas to help us think a bit differently or gain a new perspective on our own homes. There are lots of things to take away from these eight finds here beyond the products themselves, whether it’s styling ideas, tonal inspiration or considering how to mix textures.
There are various threads that we are seeing across the design fairs though, that are worth noting. Curved forms are here to stay, with sinuous, curvaceous, almost shell-like sofas and cocktail chairs upholstered in velvet, looking like they’ve come straight from a vintage club room. Pastels are back in – peachy pink, lilac, soft green, sand and pale yellow. Marble is still popular, especially richly veined varieties in light pink and dark green. There are plenty of chandeliers and pendants with round or curved, opaque glass bulbs. Actually, almost everything has rounded edges, from oblong shaped mirrors to side tables and lollipop shaped lamps. It’s also the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus so expect to see new re-editions of classic designs, retro inspired interiors and furniture made of black metal frames. Let’s take a closer look!
1. New MENU designs for 2019
Danish brand Menu has some lovely new minimalist furniture launches for 2019, all based around the concept of ‘Connected Spaces’. They’ve noticed a blurring between the worlds of home and work, with many of us travelling the world, working from home or seeking the comfort of home in a coffee shop or boutique hotel. It’s something I’ve noticed in the design world – the contract market is making references to the domestic to help people connect with their spaces, while the designs for our homes are taking inspiration from stylish, aspirational spaces that are more public in nature (if you’ve ever been to a fancy hotel and snapped a photo of the beautiful bathroom then you’ll probably know what I’m talking about). Menu has noticed a need for multi-functional, adaptable objects that give interiors meaning and create a sense of belonging.
The new Tearoom sofa and lounge chair designed by Nick Ross have been added to the already popular Tearoom club chair. It was Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Willow Chair of 1904 that first inspired the clean, curved silhouette of the design. Ross’s timeless, elegant and beautifully luxurious interpretation has a generous, low seat and gently curved back made of a wood and foam construction.
Menu has added the new Harbour Side Chair to the Harbour Series, originally conceived for their showroom and cafe in Nordhavn, Copenhagen. This is a more compact version of the original chair with armrests, condensed down into a slim shell that can fit in smaller spaces and under more tables. You can choose from various options – leather or upholstery, and steel, wood or a swivel base. I’m loving the muted green version.
Other products to note from their new collection include the sculptural Échasse Hurricane by Theresa Rand that can be used for floating candles, and the new Bank Pendant by Norm Architects that’s inspired by a vintage-style pendant found by the designers on a trip to New York City.
But I think you’ll love Menu’s updated Bath series by Norm Architects. I recently designed a monochrome bathroom for a client and had such trouble finding good quality black shower trays and minimal towel rails so I’m pleased to see these smart, new additions – including bins, mirrors, a shower tray, a toilet roll holder, a shower wiper and a towel ladder.
2. New Atelier Chair by TAF Studio for Artek
One of my design favourites – Finnish furniture brand Artek – has released a stackable, wooden chair that’s beautifully simple in expression. The Atelier Chair was originally designed by TAF Studio for the restaurant of the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm (which reopened after an extensive renovation at the end of last year). The inspiration draws on Artek’s heritage working with wooden furniture and expert craftsmanship. The result is a practical, versatile and lightweight design that will look at home in both a commercial setting or at the domestic dining table.
First image below: Erik Lefvander, second image: Nationalmuseum, Pia Ulin
3. Northern’s SS19 collection
Following on from Northern’s expansion last year from lighting to furniture and accessories too, the Norwegian brand has added several new pieces and updated versions to their SS19 collection.
The design that has really caught my eye is the Hifive module storage system by Rudi Wulff. It’s made up of various modules that can be combined and configured to suit your space, whether it’s an open display, a cabinet with a rolling door, a metal base or a wooden top. There’s also a more compact unit that can be secured to the wall so it floats – perfect for smaller spaces and tight hallways. I love the dark smoked oak version, it has a richness and an almost vintage quality to it.
For Northern, curves are the order of the day, from the minimalist lines and bold, geometric shapes of Mario Tsai’s Oblong two-seater sofa to the rounded edges of the Peek series of mirrors, conceived by Elina Ulvio, with their simple matt black frames.
Having started out specialising in lighting, you can expect good things from Northern when it comes to simple lamps. Ombre designed by Antoine Rouzeau is a characterful design with a compact base and a playful, hat-like shade. There’s also Ink, a minimalist wall lamp by Felix Isidorsson with a smooth, concave black shade reminiscent of a drop of ink.
Images courtesy of Northern, photography: Chris Tonnesen
4. New Rope Rug by Pauline Deltour for Hem
Swedish brand Hem has launched a textured, new rug made from a series of intricately woven ropes. Designed by French designer Pauline Deltour, the new Rope Rug is described as a ‘contemporary take on traditional carpet crafts’, combining familiar weaving patterns with unexpected materials to create something that’s both functional and eye-catching.
Coming in four, muted colourways, the rug is made by criss-crossing ropes in three sizes and securing them with a vertical thread. It’s manufactured in India using special dying techniques that preserve the colour ways and make the rugs easier to clean. The Rope rug is available from February, starting at 399 euros.
5. Gravity table by Hanne Willmann for Favius
Favius is a new name for me – based in the historic city of Regensburg, they’re a brand that combines traditional craftsmanship with new manufacturing processes to create minimalist furniture made exclusively in Germany. Their designs are defined by an ethos for ‘puristic elegance, timeless design and high-quality materials’.
Their new Gravity table by Hanne Willmann has caught my eye. Where most furniture brands have used marble to create a beautiful table top, Willmann has turned things on their head and designed a unique, cross-shaped base. It provides stability for the black-stained oak surface and powder coated metal frame, while also creating an eye-catching form. Available in two sizes, choose from blush pink Breccia Pernice marble or rich, black Nero Marquino.
6. New Linea Akademia chair by Kaksikko: Wesley Walters & Salla Luhtasela for Nikari
I met Finnish brand Nikari at Milan Furniture Fair last year and fell for their elegant, understated designs, and even more for their values of uncompromising craftsmanship and sustainable production.
At Stockholm Furniture Fair this week they launched the new Linea Akademia chair by Helskinki-based design duo Kaksikko. Kaksikko is a young, emerging name to watch – Salla Luhtasela and Wesley Walters met while studying at the Aalto University in Helsinki and together share an interest in functional, understated forms that highlight each material’s tactile qualities. They specialise in ceramic tableware and wooden furniture, such as the Linea Akademia chair. The simple design stems from Walters’ Master’s thesis at university and combines inspiration from Finnish heritage, Shaker furniture and Japanese design. It has such a beautiful shape with a subtle, curved seat and back rest.
photo credit: Chikako Harada
7. Calmo sofa by Fredericia
Danish brand Fredericia has released a stunning, new sofa series called Calmo, designed by Hugo Passos. The sofa’s clean, straight lines and subtle curves give it a timeless appeal that’s bound to be popular – I think it could possibly be my dream sofa. I love the low back, the simple cushions and the slender black legs that give the design its lightweight appearance. The most beautiful detail, though, is the discrete curve of the inside of the arm rests that prevent it from looking like a million other sofas.
Calmo comes in a range of sizes, including a version with a chaise. Often these low, minimalist sofas can be fairly hard as the cushions are quite shallow, but here 100% down filled cushions provide a boost of comfort. This is a well-crafted sofa designed to last a lifetime.
Available from August 2019, starting at 3,972 euros for a two-seater sofa and 2,837 euros for a lounge chair.
8. Re-edition of the cantilever chair S 533 F by Studio Besau-Marguerre for Thonet
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus, German brand Thonet has produced a re-edition of the classic cantilever chair S 533 F, originally designed by Mies van der Rohe.
The new limited edition, reinterpreted by interdisciplinary Studio Besau-Marguerre, comes in two harmonious, softly muted colours. The clean lines of the design have been softened with a pale anthracite leather and a soft rose leather. I love that Studio Besau-Marguerre have given this minimalist furniture design a feminine touch and a lovely, tactile feel.
all images courtesy of respective brands