Month: October, 2012

A little light in our lives …

To state the obvious, design and decoration is constantly changing.  For a time, different facets of design are sometimes elevated to the forefront of our industry and the products born from this proudly flood our market.   Always humbly plodding along, but never quite forgotten is the light.  From the most influential designs and decorations to the humblest of homes, lighting has always had its importance, but never before has lighting been quite so diverse and quite so, well, awesome.

Cue change.  Now more so than ever the light is the epitome of cool, finding itself in pole position of product design.  Designers are turning more and more to interesting and unique lighting pieces to enhance a space.  And why not?  There’s no reason that the ceiling should be forgotten.

The variation in form and shape of current lighting pieces is unprecedented.  The sourcing of inspiration for interesting and unique pieces has been found in some bizarre and abstract places.  Some lighting pieces forming the KE-ZU catalogue are inspired by dancing hips, girls’ dresses, Greek mythology, science laboratories, childhood stories of dragons, insects and many, many more.

Hive is inspired by nature | LZF focuses on warping | Eden adapts found objects

Some of our lighting suppliers Hive [design by hive] look to nature, LZF looks to warping form and shape, and Eden looks at adapting found objects.  All of these combine to create a diverse and exciting inventory.

One of the most stimulating things about working at KE-ZU is watching the stock come into the showroom.  There is an air of anticipation amongst the staff knowing that an exciting and fresh piece has either flown or sailed from overseas, made it to our doors and its unveiling is moments away.

The lighting pieces available for viewing at the KE-ZU showroom currently are:

Hive’s Fandango, Checkmate, Paperwork, Samba, Constellation, Float Table Lamp, C U-C Me, Kairos.   
LZF’s
Air Table Lamp, Nut, Spiro, Tilt, X-Club.
Eden’s Tablecloth,  i-Light, Fool Moon Wall Lamp

What’s next to arrive? Stay tuned…

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Sydney Opens Up …

When one says ‘Sydney’ sometimes the mind just baffles.  There’s the obvious associations which come to mind; the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, Bondi Beach, KE-ZU’s showroom… but what about the not-so-obvious or not-allowed-in gems that Sydney has to offer?

This is where we welcome Sydney Open 2012 – kicking off on 2 November through to 4 November.  Run again through the Historic Houses Trust of NSW, Sydney Open is a one-weekend only biennial show which explores architectural icons, heritage buildings and contemporary designs in Sydney not normally open to the public.   Close to 70 buildings become available with tours and talks over the course of the weekend – and for the most part, Sydney Open is the only way to access these buildings without leaving in handcuffs.

See the promotional video here.

We understand from our friends over at Sydney Open that tickets are selling fast, you can get more information and buy tickets online here.

See you there!

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Furniture Free Friday – Film Fanatic…

Famous for so many reasons both positive and negative, Woody Allen is one of the world’s most famous men.  Love him or hate him, there are undeniable facts about Mr Allen that can’t be ignored. The most basic of which is that he makes quality motion picture.

Woody’s voyage of self discovery through film has taken us from 1966 to the very present day.   This is the man who brought us Annie Hall, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Manhattan Murder Mystery, Deconstructing Harry, Match Point, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Midnight in Paris – all films which gather no dust on my DVD shelf.

By watching his films, some heralded as masterpieces and classics, we’ve taken that journey with him.  The man has a certain knack in engaging us as viewers into his world, into his mind, his thoughts, his neurosis’s and his loves.   After all, this is the man who once quipped:

Hey, don’t knock masturbation! It’s sex with someone I love

For so long a man intent on bearing his self-proclaimed nerdy, anxious, ugly soul for the world to see, it’s no wonder that of late he has turned away from that voyage and started sharing his love for the world and the cities it presents.

Blending these two veins together was the case with the film Manhattan (1979).  After a long hiatus, Woody has in recent times worked to expose how we relate to each other and used cities of the world as metaphors for this.  He has sought to offer us his thoughts on how we as people are affected by cities in his more recent films such as Vicky Christina Barcelona, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, Midnight in Paris and now, To Rome with Love – to be released in Australian cinema today, 19 October 2012.

We haven’t seen the film yet, that’s slated for tonight, although we’ve no doubt that it’s going to be an instantly recognisable Allen film.  We understand the film is another travelogue about love and life – and that’s a voyage we are ready for.

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and…Showtime…!

There’s something uniquely exceptional about the musicals of MGM, an era of film which provided the world with music, colour and escapism from the realities of a post-war world.  The world was looking forward and the future looked brighter and these films carried us (some of us, that is) with them.  Gene Kelly summed it up perfectly:

MGM’s dream factory created a rich, romantic, compelling world of illusion. And although we may not ever see anything like it again, we are blessed with memories…And miles and miles of film.

An obscure premise for this post, but a premise nonetheless.   Stay with us.

Jaime Hayon pops up on our blog far more regularly than any other character.  The reasons relatively obvious, his:

  • broad body of work.
  • enviable design aesthetic.
  • ability to work with various reputable international companies.
  • quality of work.
  • childish charm.

…and many more.

The reason Hayon hits your screens today is all the above, and the ceramics he designed to fall into his ‘Showtime’ series for Spanish giant bd Barcelona.  The pieces were born from the concept of MGM musicals and you can see their adaptation in the pieces.  Their wide-armed shape resonate of dancers on stage and their colour availability mimics the flamboyant costumes of the silver screen stars past.

Hayon has made these playful vases from ceramics, and available in five different shapes and sizes, all of which cement his concept when looking at the classic MGM actors and their vivid characters.  The addition of flowers to the vases only encourage references to the classic films.

The entire Showtime series is modelled on the MGM dream factory era of film, and these ostentatious pieces utilise materiality with shape and form to give a glitz to furniture pieces geared towards the residential market.  The Showtime collection includes:  dining table, occasional table, sofa, outdoor sofa, indoor sofa, outdoor armchair, indoor armchair, hooded armchair, credenza, cupboard, chair and mirror.

In the many tweaks and moves of the furniture here at the KE-ZU showroom, there always seems to be a place for one of these guys to sit. We’ve got a few of these joyous pieces, and at present you’ll find them:

On the PURE dining table by Andreu World (where the KE-ZU staff get together daily for lunch and laughs).

On EMU’s HEAVEN occasional table.

… and on Eden’s TABLECLOTH table/light.

Hayon recently turned his hand to soft furnishings for the North Carolina based company Bernhardt Design, exclusively stocked in Australia with KE-ZU, you can see the launch party here.   The result is the Bardot (above), named after the starlet Brigitte herself.  You can read more information from the Bardot featured blog post here.

Stay tuned to the KE-ZU blog to see the next installment from Hayon.

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Furniture Free Friday – The Inventions of Dr NakaMats

If there’s a film quote which could sum up this entry, it could only be from ‘Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery’.  It goes like this:

…the kind of insane that only the genius possess and the insane lament.

With the above paragraph as a premise, we are unsure where Yoshiro Nakamatsu a.k.a. Dr NakaMats fits into that scale.  Wherever he does though, we don’t mind.  We love him.

The 81 year old Japanese native, famous as a quirky inventor is fast becoming something of a worldwide celebrity.  Since his first invention at the age of five, Dr NakaMatsnow holds over 4,000 patents.

One of the most prolific inventions he can claim is a patent in 1952 for an early floppy disk and disk drive.  Interestingly, IBM released the first floppy disk some 19 years later.  Dr NakaMats claims to have licensed around a dozen patents to IBM (who won’t confirm the details of their working relationship).

Dr NakaMats has invented some of the (arguably) most important inventions in our lifetime, items such as:

  • A cigarette like machine increasing brain activity.
  • Jumping shoes made from leaf springs.
  • Magnetic condoms.
  • Spectacles in the shape of eyes, so that the user appears to wear no spectacles.
  • A self-defence wig where a rope and a weight are attached to the wig.  The wearer would then swing the wig to hit an attacker.

The personal favourite of Simon (our blog writer) is a sheet of material with a small peephole described as a “one-way visible shielding object”.  Amazing.

Image courtesy “Wacky Inventor” by Journeymanpictures

Here’s a short video showcasing the usefulness of Dr NakaMats’ jumping shoes…

… and five interesting facts about Dr NakaMats:

  • Ten American cities have declared a “Dr. NakaMats Day”.
  • He invented an underwater notepad for which he writes his ideas during a daily swim.
  • He has penned 32 best-selling books.
  • Has failed political aspirations, the poor Dr NakaMats regularly enters Japanese elections and regularly fails.
  • Was awarded an Ig Nobel Prize in Nutrition (an American parody of the Nobel Prizes) for photographing and analyzing every meal he has eaten for more than 34 years.

Our adoration for Dr NakaMats really amplified upon hearing this quote (readers please don’t try this at home):

Too much oxygen, that’s very bad for brain.  On the other hand, if shortage of oxygen then brain reaches maximum activity 0.5 seconds before death, I can suddenly create breakthrough of new idea.

Good.

All in all, we feel the good Doctor is just too good to be true!  Peace out…

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Lessening Degrees of Separation…

The surprise that is involved in the exclamation of “what a small world!” seems to be inconsequential these days.  Saying it in the design world seems to be almost redundant, our circle isn’t so large, and it’s most certainly not as large as we often tend to think.

Noé Duchaufour-Lawrence, multi-faceted designer whose client list reads like a who’s who of high-end consumer goods, has an instantly recognisable style which exudes a natural feel of organic shapes whilst using cutting edge materials.

To name just a few, Noé works with clients such as Air France, Zanotta, Baccarat, Longchamp, Swarovski, Paco Rabbane, Yves Saint Laurent and KE-ZU supplier Bernhardt Design (see Noé’s Corvo Chair here, available at KE-ZU).   Noé has created spaces and objects with such talent that his projects are now seen as works of art.

Recently being extended the honour of an invitation to exhibit his works in the remarkable Paris showroom of Silvera Wagram, Noé says of the interior design of the space:

The arborescent scenography helps intuitively understand the space without specific reference points and discover pieces of furniture in a non-linear way since they are deliberately presented without beginning or end. This is a passage, a parenthesis, a needed trace of emotion provoked by viewing a composition of object

With the Silvera Wagram showroom interiors being designed by Noé’s fellow Bernhardt Design creative Patrick Jouin (Jouin’s Item sofa for Bernahrdt Design available at KE-ZU can be viewed here), this is where the degrees of separation begin to lessen.

We noted here recently of Noé’s work assisting in designing the new Air France Business Lounge at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, where Pierre Paulin, designer for KE-ZU supplier Artifort’s Tulip Chairs were installed.

But the connections don’t stop there, with Noé designing some serious pieces included in various collections for Forestier Paris alongside yet another Bernhardt Design creator Arik Levy (Levy’s 9 piece catalogue for Bernhardt Design can be seen here and is available at KE-ZU).

In the end, no matter where these impossibly creative designers gravitate to, we’re still content to house some of their works here at the KE-ZU showroom.

Here is some of Noé’s most prolific work.

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Furniture Free Friday – Daydreamin’…

Another Furniture Free Friday has rolled around and from the floor to ceiling double height glass windows of the KE-ZU showroom we can see some pretty dazzling sun.  Given that it’s Friday and the weekend is upon us, we’re entranced with the thought of lying on the shore with the sun on our skin and a good book shading our face… and what better beaches than the sunny shores of our Sydney locals…

Aquabumps, our mates based in Sydney who cater their online presence to early morning beach life have made a magnificent collection of their favourite photos from 2011.  This has in no way assisted our daydreams of sand and surf.

Even today’s soundtrack is geared towards wetter pastures, with The Ventures’ Surf Rider – tune!

To view Aquabumps’ entire album click here.

You know where you’ll find us tomorrow…

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KE-ZU’s Garden of Eden

Vondom is highly regarded for their work in outdoor furniture and lighting, specialising in rotational moulding. Taking solid forms and shearing them into bold, angular and geometric styles is the trademark of the Spanish company.

Designed by Italian born and Spanish based and designer Teresa Sapey and causing quite a fuss in outdoor trend, Vondom has released their latest venture, Adan and Eva.

Designed from the imagined faces of the biblical Adam and Eve, these versatile pieces are finding themselves in some very trendy outdoor spaces.  Highly adaptable as planters, lights, stools and tables, Adan and Eva are large scaled pieces which fit in perfectly as a new sibling in the Vondom family.

Instantly recognizable as either the male or female counterparts, Adan and Eva have many differences in their structure.  Adan, strikingly handsome appears lean, strong and muscular whilst Eva falls into the softer category, a softer, suppler specimen.  Vondom says of the pieces:

Adan, as a diamond with cutting, while Eva is smooth, sweet and delicate, of curves lines.  Both of them are the result of the balance between the past and the future.

Adan & Eva follows Chemistubes, the incredible first collaboration between Sapey and Vondom – another investigation into scale and light.  Chemistubes are a vase and light, also available lacquered in various colours.

Adan & Eva are available from KE-ZU and its national distributors.  Stock available pre-Christmas.

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