The quest for a better way of doing things often powers and inspires the design world of home interiors. It’s a realm that European designers tend to dominate with their witty, space-saving, streamlined and strategically engineered interpretations of all things related to the home. I wanted to personally experience this European ingenuity so I scouted the UK’s largest design trade event, 100% Design, as well as the shows Design Junction and Tent London for products that prove my theory. Here is the first in a series of blog postings on my Design Finds That Do It Better.
Rock Star Style:
London brand Buster + Punch presents its avant- guard take on luxury furniture, inspired by a world of custom motorcycles and the rockstar lifestyle. I spoke with Buster + Punch Founder and Designer Massimo Buster Minale who says his company aims to “kick minimalism in the teeth” with a rock star aesthetic that is sexy and dark and oh so cool.
His new lighting collection Hooked draws inspiration from the custom motorcycles that Massimo designs for celebrity clients. The bikes are prized for their knurled brass handlebars that appear as lighting fittings in the Hooked collection.
I’m infatuated with this collection because it amps up the whole Edison Bulb lighting trend with its raw exposed filaments. Each Hooked light is attached by a bronze hook so you can raise and lower the light and even move it to another area of your living space.
The Swing Table by Duffy London caught my attention because it illustrates how design can turn a daily routine into a novel, engaging experience. Imagine dinner time in your household with the Swing Table. I know my kids would run to the dinner table and eat their veggies if they could swing while they eat. I admire how Duffy London breaks all the rules of conventional furniture design by playing with the concepts of gravity, geometry and illusion.
The Swing Table also works as a great ice breaker and conversation starter at a dinner party. How could not you not crack a smile as you swing away with your cocktail in hand. A Geo lampshade and eight hanging chairs are suspended from the four-poster frame around a walnut table top. The Swing Table also is available in sizes to seat four and up to 12 people. Each one is handmade by local artisans and craftspeople using ethically sourced materials.
The Beatnik Chair:
I noticed a recurring theme or dare I say “trend” at the many exhibitions and trade shows during the London Design Festival: it’s the concept of cocooning furniture that envelopes you and provides your own private respite away from the white noise and distractions of your environment. The Beatnik chair is what I would call a “musical cocoon” because it allows you to retreat into your own soundscape with airplay speakers embedded in the furniture. Designer Matej Fegus calls this piece of sound furniture a “mood booster”. Made by Solvenija manufacturer Donar, The Beatnik recently earned the prestigious Red Dot Award for its clever design and engineering.
You can connect your digital music player and listen to your favorite tunes, pipe in a phone call or use your smart tablet with a mount fitted on the chair. Fegus says it’s the first chair with built-in Apple AirPlay technology, also supporting BlueTooth connectivity to virtually any device containing music and audio books such as laptop, mp3 player, mobile phone, tablet computer or even TV or Apple TV system.
Stylistically, the chair looks like something out of The Jetsons cartoon and perhaps that’s why it’s fast becoming a media darling. The BBC recently picked The Beatnik chair to feature in an upcoming sitcom says Fergus.
Le Huit by French company Isidore is a stylish solution for outdoor furnishings because it’s two chairs in one: lawn chair and lounge chair.
The chair is reversal allowing you to tip it over to one side for a lawn chair and the other side for a lounge chair. Notice in the picture that I am sitting in the lounge chair. The legs on the back of my seat are the feet of the lawn chair and the long platform for my legs becomes the high back for the lawn chair when reversed. Here’s why I would totally furnish my outdoor living space with Le Huit: I no longer need to crowd out my pool area with both types of chairs (lawn and lounge) when I’ve got a sleek, weatherproof, colorful dual purpose alternative in Le Huit.
Clever Storage Solutions:
Italian Design Company Ronda Design caught my eye at the show 100% Design for its magnetic shelving system called the Y shelf. It’s a clever, flexible way to build a shelving system without a handyman or even a hammer.
The L shaped magnetized shelves are available in painted metal or wood and each piece sticks to any metallic surface and you can configure it in a variety of stylish ways to custom craft your own shelving system.
This is such a brilliant design idea because you can change the configuration or even move the shelving system to another magnetized surface so it gives you complete flexibility to redesign your living space without being tied down to built-in shelves.
I also love the product’s sculptural quality and doubles as wall art. In the office you can see how the books are artfully displayed in color blocks—functional and artistic. The Y Shelf is available for sale in the US and retails for $392 per set.
Pedaling Wall Art:
The Pedal Pod takes on the function of bike storage with style. UK designer Tamasine Osher created the shelving system to show off your bike instead of hiding it from view in your garage. The Pedal Pod is available in solid oak, solid walnut or veneer. In Europe where space-saving design often dictates products, The Pedal Pod offers an ingenious solution by turning your bike into wall art with a few spaces for storing books or displaying decorative items.
So if you love your vino like I do, then you are probably proud of your collection. Why not show it off with The Vintage View.
This linear wine storage system caught by eye because unlike the typical wine storage systems that store bottles with the cork facing front, The Vintage View stores the wine bottles labels out so you can display your favorite vintage.
The linear racks come in one, two or three bottles deep, and nine or twelve bottles high providing a flexible and effective way to store wine bottles in nearly any space, regardless of height, depth or width limitations.
The architectural possibilities are many: display your wine in a niche, under a staircase, in your wine cellar, on a kitchen or living room wall. The linear racks come in a black or platinum finish and are easy to install by simply using a screwdriver to attach them to the wall. They retail starting at approximately $72 and up depending on the size of the linear rack.
Check back in for more London Design Finds as I continue to curate.
Tags: 100% Design, Beatnik Chair, Buster + Punch, Design Blogger Karen LeBlanc, Design Junction, Donar, Duffy London, Hooked Lighting, Hooked Lighting Collection, Isidore Design, Le Huit, magnetic shelf, magnetic shelving, Massimo Buster Minale, Matej Fegus, Pedal Pod, Rhonda Design, Swing Table, Tamasine Osher, Tent London, The Vintage View, Y Shelf