At Full Tilt
Hang on tight for the wildest ride in furniture and lighting
Staff -- Interior Design, 11/1/2007 12:00:00 AM
Da Vinci, Decoded
Leonardo da Vinci laid his Last Supper on a refectory table draped in a white cloth. We'll probably never know ex actly what lies beneath. But Studio Lawrence creative directors Bart Eijking and Patrick O. de Louwere imagine something bold and colorful.
The company, named for the Dutch city of Rotterdam's patron saint, is the new manufacturing spin-off of the two part ners' architecture firm, Eijking delouwere. Products will include wallpaper, lighting, laser-cut felt tapestries and, of course, the Last Supper table.
Both its top and legs are composed of MDF planks lacquered in 10 standard colors infused with Teflon dust, which improves durability and imparts a silky hand. Because the design is modular, adding or subtracting planks will change the table's length and create striped patterns. To save resources, a kit of toy parts lets buyers play at mixing and matching. The components peg together with tiny wire rods—full-scale tables, naturally, use steel frames.
8 Javastraat, 3016 CE, Rotterdam, Netherlands; 31-10-225-04-64; studiolawrence.com. circle 303 —Craig Kellogg
Encounter Jonas Jurgaitis's weirdly wonderful seating, and you'd never know he was classically schooled. He graduated from Vilnius Design College in 1984, when Lithuania was still part of the Soviet Union. "Imagine you are asked to take a photo but, in lieu of a camera, you are given abox of matches," he says."There were no tools and no materials—no plywood, no chipboard." After 11 years in the industry, he left it discouraged, citing a small and conservative market. It wasn't until 2005 that Sedes Regia director Aurimas Kundelis persuaded his old friend Jurgaitis to return to design.
In just two years, Jurgaitis's notable seating introductions have fulfilled his design mission: "Surprising people and making them smile." The anthropomorphic Pom-Pon chair has a ball for a head. The modules of the blocky Vector sofa fit together like LEGOs. As for the Alien love seat, think giant string beans from outer space. 29 Arimu Gatve, 11114 Vilnius, Lithuania; 370-5-248-5239; sedesregia.lt. circle 304 —Jen DeRose
For Stone Designs, creativity is simply second nature. Eva Pérez Rego and Cutu Mazuelos established their interiors firm immediately after graduating from Madrid's Institución Artistica de Enseñanza in 1995. The pair quickly found themselves designing custom furniture, then opening ashowroom.
That space is now filled with merchandise respectful of the environment and inspired by the natural world. Bee Block plastic outdoor stools are hexagonal, like honeycomb. The Fields polyurethane-foam sectional sofa—an unlimited number of mod ules that Velcro together—gives a nod to rural land scapes. The early evening sky lends its colors to Sunset shelving in plywood and lacquered steel.
"We think that good design has to speak sincerely," Mazuelos says. "Astone is the oldest object designed by nature." 10 Calle Segovia, 28005 Madrid, Spain; 34-91-540-0336; stone-dsgns.com. circle 305 —Jen DeRose
"My background is firmly in traditional cabinetmaking," Oliver Tilbury notes. "But I see no reason not to make unusual furniture." Though he originally imagined designing one-offs, he's shifted to pieces he can produce in small quan tities, using computer modeling—a luxury that cabinetmakers from bygone centuries could never have dreamed of.
The software helped him figure out how to join so many ash legs, 31 of them, in a small space beneath the seat of his Burst chair, a student project from Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College. Other prototypes include a table, featuring an ash top and an ebonized-oak base, and a combined coatrack and umbrella stand in oak and felt. He may eventually transform the coatrack-stand into a lamp and the chair into a chaise, so stay tuned.
Holly House, Luxford Road, Crowborough, East Sussex TN6 2PP, U.K.; 44-7795-274044; olivertilbury.com. circle 306 —Craig Kellogg
It all started at Rice University, when architecture graduate student Jan Jander was instructed to make a 16-square-inch concrete cube with what would normally be considered an inadequate amount of material. "My project became about the concrete itself, how thin I could get it," he says.
That attenuated form has now morphed into Jan Jander Architecture + Design's collection of cast-concrete furnishings. Consoles like ultra-slim Parsons tables are a signature. Chairs and benches feature seats imprinted with the client's own behind—and wallet, should it be ina back pocket. Each piece is hand-mixed and hand-poured, then marked with Jander's initials in braille.
"People think concrete is a cheap material, but really it has to do with how it's formed," he explains. "It's like combining black and white sand. Swirl them together once, and get an interesting pattern. Or put them in the mixer, and get gray."
321 South Sangamon Street, Suite 910, Chicago, IL 60607; 205-218-3510; janjanderad.com. circle 307 —Jen DeRose
Man Versus Machine
"Computers think in grids. People's minds think more organically," Julian Mayor says. "My work takes both approaches." To design his seating, he explains, he starts with a drawing, then moves on to 3-D computer modeling that allows him to "look at the inside and outside of an ob ject at the same time." If the animation is deemed successful, he builds a prototype and brings it home. "It takes a while living with something to decide to develop it," he says.
Among chairs that passed the test: Contour, with its steel bands inspired by map gradients; Queen Anne–style Clone in CNC-milled plywood; and faceted fiberglass General Dynamic. London's White chapel Art Gallery and New York's Museum of Modern Art have both shown his work.
Since obtaining his master's from London's Royal College of Art in 2000, he hasn't had much rest. His résumé lists stints at Ideo in San Francisco and Pentagram and Tom Dixon in London. Currently, he's at the London College of Communication, teaching what he knows best: computer modeling.
106 Sclater Street, London E16HR, U.K.; 44-7775-516005; julianmayor.com. circle 308 —Jen DeRose