March 1st, 2013 _ Comments Off _
Maarten Baas trained in the Art Academy in Eindhoven, one of the most influential design schools in the world, where not only the character, language and aesthetics of design innovation are considered but also manufacturing process and practicality are developed to a high level. Based on the Clay series the synthetic clay has been improved for this more recent “Plain” series, so as to be tough enough to be used in public spaces and can remain unvarnished. Finger prints are easy to see which brings the notion of being a unique piece to a whole other level.
Plain Clay Console.
October 25th, 2012 _ _
This year at “Maison et Objet” I nearly missed a table as it was in the business lounge where I would go to eat and talk to other architects, not hunt out designs. It is the interestingly name SM table. Interesting because it is both the initials of the of the designer Stephane Mathieu, or a play on the idea of bondage. (Also my initials before I was married.)
The version that is for sale is from the Rock and Roll collection, is in shiny steel with a black belt, and primarily destined for hospitality spaces. The belt has an angled seam where it goes through the hole in the leg. personally I find the buckle a little anecdotal, but then again the clothing thing is a basic part of the idea, and it definitely puts some character into a the kind of hospitality spaces that can all to easily have a corporate feel.
May 28th, 2012 _ _
February 11th, 2012 _ _
January 16th, 2012 _ _
Heals on the Tottenham court road in London, is the furniture store where students of architecture go to salavate over various designer goodies. Yet the only furniture that you’re actually likely to use while in Heals is in the Oliver Peyton Restaurant Meals. A few years ago he hired the hip architecural firm FAT,(fashion architecture taste), to design it. Fat’s designs are concerned with real emotions, memory, images, politics , language and place , rather than prevailing diktats of modernist abstraction.
These Trompe l’oeil tables are a careful balance of a language of domestic simplicity and the feel of high quality event. The table-cloth table-top is mdf with a white colour core formica laminate, so there are no black edges at the corners of the formica and it would still looks good even if it were chipped. This sits on a supporting frame that is held off the ground by solid oak legs.
They are quite at home in the restaurant’s oak cut-out set of a garden tea-time, in the centre of London.
November 15th, 2011 _ _
Living in Paris I felt that I needed to create a category for café tables, it is after all what this city is built on. Café tables are designed to be nippy little things, to niche into odd shaped small interiors or to huddle alongside busy thoroughfares.
But some Parisian thoroughfares can just about squeeze in a standard sized café table with barely a centimeter left for the passers by,who are frankly essential to the whole watching-the-world-go-by experience.
This café on the rue de Ruisseau is just such a place. Micro tables where the table-top has been trimmed down to be no larger than the foot of the table is their neat little solution, and it’s is about as tiny as you can get before turning to writing chairs.
May 3rd, 2011 _ _
Originally from Switzerland, Meret Oppenhiem was one of the women active in the surrealist movement in Paris in the 1930′s. It has been said that “Traccia” the bird leg table speaks of the lady like pastime of taking tea, and the gesture of offering up a tray in a feminine fashion. Personally I think it speaks more strongly of a feral Parisian life style on café terraces surrounded by pigeons. Apart from those famous birds legs there are also traces of an enormous birds foot prints on the oval table top. I can’t exactly imagine a domestic goddess allowing her tea things to be set down where a stork could hop up and trample them. It’s more likely the domain of a Wable under the table straight out of Dr. Seuess, tempting people with green eggs and ham .
There is another lovely example of Oppenhiem freeing up refinement through anthropomorphism, her famous fur covered cup and saucer and here is how it came to be. Apparently she was in a café with artists Pablo Picasso and Dora Maar when Picasso admired Oppenhiem’s fur bangle . He remarked that you could cover anything with fur, and her reply was that you could even fur cover the cup, saucer and spoon that was in front of them on the table.
Traccia is roughly the size of a café table with polished bronze legs. The oval table top with clam prints is gold leafed on the upper side, and the wooden underside is painted with gold coloured paint. Nowadays there is a silver version too. Originally designed in 1939 it has been re-edited since 1971. Be careful of the price that you pay for it, it should be possible to buy for around 2000€ but I have seen these go for far more surreal prices at auction, well maybe they were one that can lays eggs.
April 26th, 2011 _ _
I found this boulangerie and eatery on rue Varenne. It’s a Belgian chain called Le Pain Quotidien that has branches in Europe and the States, with a similar style in all it’s restaurants. It’s one of my sister’s favourite haunts in New York, yet it doesn’t look at all out of place in the 7th arrondissement of Paris.
The above photo is an old open court yard that has been covered over. The interesting bit is behind the window, where you find the long communal tables, in a small world of simple rustic decor. The style of Le Pain Quotidien is a master stroke in the experience of conviviality. I’m not sure which branch the photo below is from, but it’s a typical view of the long communal table that are found in all of it’s branches.