Directed by Common Good.
At first glance, you might mistake this spindle-back chair for mid-century Italian, but it is, in fact, the 1950s work of Massachusetts-born Paul McCobb. Though the “Shovel” chair, as it is often referred to (in reference to the seat shape) may be one of McCobb’s less celebrated pieces, it is certainly a distinctive design.
Originally intended as a dining chair, and part of McCobb’s Planner Group (manufactured by Wenchendon) line of furniture, the design works very well as a side chair in modern interiors. With a sculpted solid maple seat, the chair features twelve turned maple back supports, with framework and a base of wrought iron.
Paul McCobb briefly studied art, drawing, and painting at Vesper George School of Art, but had no formal design training; he first came to prominence in 1948 as a design and decorating consultant for Martin Feinman’s Modernage Furniture in New York City. While employed at Modernage, McCobb met B. G. Mesberg, his later business partner in the Planner and Directional furniture lines. McCobb went on to become one of the important names in mid-century design, and created some of the most iconic mid-century furniture pieces. Planner Group was among the best selling contemporary furniture lines of the 1950s, and was in continuous production from 1949 to 1965, not to mention, copied extensively. Though best known for his furniture designs, McCobb also designed radios and televisions for CBS-Columbia, Hi-Fi Consoles for Bell & Howell, as well as other household items.
Photos: 1stDibs (Original Berlin)
Published by Another Place Press, Kevin Faingnaert’s Føroyar is a photo essay in book form, about life in the sparsely populated villages of the Faroe Islands, the archipelago between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic, halfway between Norway and Iceland.
In 2016, the Belgian photographer immersed himself within the Faroese lifestyle and community. On capturing the essence of this enigmatic, remote place, Kevin said: “Here, across swathes of snow-veiled landscapes and bordered by the dramatic coastline, villages are slowly dropping into decline as more and more of their inhabitants are emigrating from the islands in pursuit of greater opportunities. Though at times lonely and perpetually freezing, I learned to appreciate the small, simple comforts of life – listening to stories told in the welcoming warmth of Faroese homes, the sound of songs against the roaring backdrop of the sea, and my memorable encounter with a message-in-a-bottle collector on the beach. In these clear and pristine landscapes, where villages with populations as low as ten huddle together on the edge of cliffs, I tried to reveal a community hanging on firmly to their roots and traditions, while underlining that one day these villages must inevitably disappear,”
More at: Kevin Faingnaert
Directed by Dan & Pag.
Alfredo Häberli’s Riviera tables for DADADUM approach marble in an unexpected, direct way; one wouldn’t typically consider Carrara marble as a material to be applied to ready-to-assemble furniture, but the Riviera tables (available in coffee or end table size) can be flat-packed in a similar way to mass-produced, build-it-yourself furniture. Their interlocking design requires no additional hardware, making them easy to assemble, and mobile if need be.
Influenced by the natural stone tables of the Ticino Valley in Switzerland, the design is based on cut joints similar to those you would find in traditional wood furniture, making the system apparent and uncomplicated. The marble’s weight and natural quality give it a sense of permanence and time-honored style; beveled edges and the arches of the table bases evoke bouyancy, making for a refreshing take on stone that perfectly straddles the line of indestructible quality and modern living.
More at: DADADUM
In the seaside Catalonian village of Cadaqués, on the site of a ruined historic dwelling, sits Casa Voltes, a collaborative project between Ferguson Bates Architects and Liebman Villavecchia of Barcelona.
The former fishing village that was, for centuries, cut off from the mainland, has a distinct architectural style; adapting new buildings to the surrounding village context and unique geography requires an extremely fine hand, with an understanding of Cadaqués’ identity.
A storied history, that includes artists and writers such as such as Picasso, García Lorca, Dalí, Duchamp, John Cage and Richard Hamilton, amongst others, is woven with both tradition and twentieth-century influence. Many cultural, as well as architectural contributions, were made to Cadaqués’ footprint during this time; as noted by Oriol Bohigas, architects such as Federico Correa, Alfonso Milá and Coderch, Harnden (American) and Bombelli (Italian), “wisely set the tone of the ’60s in Cadaqués by providing the models to develop a current of stylistic discretion” and “succeeded in understanding the geographical and social reality of the town.”
This philosophy applies to Casa Voltes; carefully working inside the parameters of village architecture, geography, and respect of the former building, the house is graceful and modern, without any sense of historic recreation.
Over the past couple of years, from the smart sweatshirt, to the head-to-toe sport look, we’ve seen the return and perhaps evolution of “sweats” to real fashion. For their Spring/Summer 2016 collection, Moa Wilkman and Aidin Sanati, the creative team behind Stockholm-based Ubi Sunt, have clearly drawn influence from this movement, while also imbuing a smart amount of Swedish elegance.
Ubi Sunt’s collection is based in strong, but downplayed pieces that include tech fabric from Japan, Italian wool, and reworked cotton jersey, looking polished, but relaxed in a Nordic cool sort of way. A moody color palette, as well as the implementation of oversized coats and a couple of classically tailored pieces, provides contrast to the casual factor. In a moment where designers are tending to over-work basics, it is refreshing to see an understated approach that still remains creative; this very reduction of design to basic form allows for the pieces from this collection to stand out on their own, or simply function as well-thought wardrobe staples.
More at: Ubi Sunt
Photos: Nils Odier
Directed by American Millennial + Noah Kentis.
Designed by Finnish designer Alvar Aalto in 1936, the Tea Trolley 901 is a decidedly modern take on a traditional piece of furniture; a nod to British tea culture, perfectly balanced with Japanese carpentry and architecture, at home as a tea or coffee cart, but also a distinctive bar or side table. With a bentwood frame of blonde birch, and a tabletop and lower shelf finished in linoleum, the trolley is designed with functionality in mind; a handle that spans the width of the trolley, as well as rubber-treaded wheels, allow it to be moved gracefully.
Aalto’s cart designs were first introduced at the 1936 Milan Triennale, and later at Paris’ world’s fair in 1937. The design is still produced by Artek (now owned by Vitra), a Finnish company that was originally founded in 1935 by Aalto and his wife Aino, art promoter Maire Gullichsen, and art historian Nils-Gustav Hahl.
Aalvo’s work on display at the Triennale di Milano, 1936.
Aalto at his home in Helsinki.
A world-class architect, and one of the faces of the International Modernism movement, it was Aalto who originally employed the process of bending thick layers of birch into smooth, chic curves to frame furniture, perhaps best noted in his stackable Stool 60, an icon of functionalist design.
Aalto’s work greatly influenced midcentury designers such as Eero Saarinen and Charles & Ray Eames. His style, which incorporated nature to architectural form, became known as Humanist Modernism, and his design philosophy, Gesamtkunstwerk (“a total work of art”) became his trademark, whereby he and his wife Aino, would design everything from the building, to the furnishings, lighting, even intimate details like glassware, inside.
As a final note, last year, Dutch designer Hella Jongerius designed an updated version of the 901 for Artek’s reintroduction of some of their archive’s most iconic pieces. In her interpretation, the frame’s color is the same as the shelf and tabletop, in light birch or black lacquer (see below).
More at: Artek
Intended to be an escape from the bustle and chaos of Hong Kong, a discreet, signless entrance in the Tin Hau district guides you into a quiet experience, Tuve, by architecture firm Design Systems.
Inspired by photographer Kim Høltermand’s panoramas of Sweden’s Lake Tuve, the owner wanted to incorporate the mood of Scandinavian landscape to the 66-room boutique hotel. Design Systems thoughtfully translated the atmospheric, cold images to the space, making the best of natural, often common materials. As described by the firm: “We feel that the term luxury has much been vulgarized nowadays, rather, we prefer the term refinement. Refinement goes beyond the surface.”
Avoiding the cliches of exotic, over-the-top elements, Tuve keeps it simple and engages the visitors emotions. Materials such as concrete, galvanized steel, brass, and oak are familiar, but used appropriately and elegantly. Creative use of lighting throughout the spaces, both artificial and natural, reveals texture, casts shadows, and establishes a specific ambiance.
As the spaces are used, hidden craftsmanship is revealed, quietly interacting with the minimalist environment. From the pale wooden box that opens to a desk and minibar, to the door that folds from the side of the cabinet to store tea-making equipment. Stools are made from roughly hewn marble, and brass switch plates are left to oxidize, exposing the true nature of the material.
By sticking to the basics, and executing this with the ultimate finesse, Tuve sets itself apart in a way that challenges the typical hotel experience.
More at: Tuve
Photos: Matteo Carcelli, Design Systems.