Category: Spotlight

Nanimarquina – The Ethical Rug Queen of Spain …

The exhibition “Intinerancia de l’exposiciozona Intermedia.  Disseny, Art, Societat” or better yet, translated to “Traveling exhibition “Intermediate Area. Design, Art and Society” is an intentionally collective of design, art and architectural projects, and their creators – focussing on several aspects of life within society.

Currently exhibiting at the Centre D’Arts Contemporanies in Barcelona, these projects demonstrate a commitment from the artists to social problems, and how they work towards change using parameters beyond their own specialties and practices.   All the artists involved in some form play their part in encouraging the birth and utilisation of a more responsible, safer, more ethical environment than is currently the norm.

This exhibition highlights and prioritises human and social factors, over others such as business or formality.   The pieces selected for the exhibition display projects in very different contexts, and with ambitions to deal with various aspects of social life such as health, food, the elderly, prison conditions, the use of urban space, the 15-M movement, relations between locals and newcomers, relations with other first world countries where labour is “cheaper”, or responses to “natural” disasters.

Forming part of the exhibition is KE-ZU supplier Nanimarquina.   Nanimaruiqna is well known for her efforts in India, the main manufacturing country of the hand-made product, to reduce and eradicate child labour, and assist the children of carpet workers.  Nanimarquina has been a member of Care & Fair since its inception.  Care & Fair is an organisation founded by carpet importers abroad which aims to improve living conditions and provide training and decent, paid employment for families working in carpet production workshops.  Nani also assists by funding a school in Bhadohi, a farming and carpet region of India from the proceeds of her Kala rug available at KE-ZU (above), designed by students of Care & Fair schools.

Nanimarquina’s new collection Naturals, launching at Salone Internazionale del Mobile 2013 focuses on materiality and versatility.  The collection strong on natural colour and aesthetic – see the KE-ZU Blog post here.

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Sapey So Good…

Teresa Sapey, the talented Italian architect, interior and industrial designer has our attentions today, and not only because of the abundance of interesting and quirky photographs of herself, or her enviable design mantra:

It is to move emotions that I work with spaces, I’d go for provoking just about any kind of feeling, no matter what it is (…whether like or dislike, I do not really care).  From my personal point of view, architecture should provide a varied range of sentiments to be considered both inspiring and useful

Sapey is quite the fascinating character.  The Italian born talent was educated in various parts of the world including the prestigious Parsons School of Design.  Sapey’s career is a cocktail of interesting, smart and invariably aesthetically pleasing work.

The multi-faceted creative appears to attain Midas-touch like abilities to every project she sets sinks her teeth into.  Working in the fields of architecture, interior design, installations and furniture design, all of her work bears the aesthetic Sapey stamp of playing with highly saturated colour and pattern – in turn making spaces vibrant and a whole lot of fun.

Her workings with plastics, including her teachings of Plastic Investigations internationally have laid an easy path to many collaborations on projects with Spanish manufacturer Vondom including recently launched Adan, outdoor vase, light and table and Chrismy, the illuminated Christmas tree in various sizes, together with previously Chemistubes, outdoor vase and light – all of which are available at KE-ZU.

Recently, Sapey was invited to be one of 18 architects (including current greats such as John Pawson, Zaha Hadid and Jean Nouvel) working collaboratively on the Hotel Puerta América Project, a hotel in Madrid, each part of the hotel being designed by a different architect, Sapey designing the carparking – the outcome far more interesting than it may initially sound.

Sapey’s foray into the design world is evident of a truly talented artist.  But don’t just believe us, the magnificent 57 page online portfolio is testament to such a visionary – you can find it here. Her catalogue available at KE-ZU is available here.

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The Spaniards have it…

The spirited furniture manufacturer bd Barcelona was founded in 1972 as “bd Ediciones de Diseño”, a collaboration of a talented group of architects, designers and art talents.  Since then bd Barcelona has had a few name changes but the mantra remains the same, merging art and design.

The 1970’s were a progressive time of art, design and art theory and the Spanish manufacturing house was born from a frustration of a lack of connection between theory and production.  The cause of this group of rebels resulted in the production of furniture, objects and accessories, the concepts of which being theorized the world over but unavailable in shops.  It became a vehicle for the experiential works, dealing with object perception and reacting to a societal change.

It’s no surprise then, the calibre of names which comprise the past and current catalogue of bd Barcelona products, famously designed or derived from creative greats of times past.  Names like surrealism great Salvador Dali, architectural genius’ Giuseppe Terragni, Spanish pioneer Antoni Gaudi and jack of all trades Charles Rennie Mackintosh all placing their personal stamp on works rolled out of the bd workshop.  Some pieces by Dali and Gaudi are still in production.

The current bd catalogue adopts the same approach, and employs the minds of contemporary designers such as Jaime Hayon, Konstantin Grcic and Ross Lovegrove, creating uniquely styled pieces, all of which tell a story of their own. We’ve recently written about Hayon’s Showtime (here), Grcic’s Table B and Chair B (here) and the bd Barcelona recent exhibitions in Milan (here).

As we speak, bd Barcelona is celebrating the first year in its new showroom, naturally locally on the Barcelonan coastline where current production products are showcased and available for purchase.

In exciting news, the Spanish veteran is celebrating its 40th year and to commemorate is releasing an exclusive limited edition handful of hand-painted Jaime Hayon Showtime collection vases, painted by the collection designer guru himself, continuing to successfully marry design and art.

The bd Barcelona back catalogue of product is a fascinating object essay, each with their own purpose and story, here are some of the KE-ZU favourites, and you can see the full museum here.

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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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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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Do the Samba …

Meet Brad.  We have.

Brad Stebbing is a name to remember.   Brad’s beginning into the design world is nothing short of impressive.

Graduating from the Sydney University of Technology‘s rigorous Bachelor of Industrial Design, Brad’s work experience is varied, and has since created waves with some big hitters in design and launched his own practice: Brad Stebbing:Crafted Design.

The Crafted Design premise is a move away from traditional design methods, adopting a fresh approach to each new project the go-getters can get their hands on.

Rather than using a fixed process, we elect our tools as appropriate to each individual project. This in turn, creates a specific process for every project.

With a number of design awards under his belt, including the prestigious lighting award, judged in part by multi-faceted and creative genius Kenneth Cobonpue, and the Belle Georg Jensen Design Competition, Brad now works with Cobonpue’s sustainably innovative Philippines based Hive [Design by Hive].

The latest addition to add to the impressive body of work this man has already created is the Samba lampshade.  Officially being launched in Paris at Maison & Objet Paris, the Samba is modelled on dancing hips (hence the exciting name!) and is created using a sustainable raw Rattan, adapting a process from the Vietnamese tradition of coiling natural woods such as Rattan and Bamboo.  After much research into the method, the beautiful organic curves of the Samba began to form.

…through understanding the process, it was evident that this process could yield far more organic shapes than the typical round bowl or vase

Coated in a laborious lacquer process, the Samba is available in black, white and a bevy of colours which undoubtedly provide an enviable fun aesthetic.

Samba is available through KE-ZU nationally from 7 September 2012.

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SPOTLIGHT: Eduardo Chillida

On the tenth anniversary of his death, the works of iconic Spanish artist Eduardo Chillida have been commemorated in a collection of rugs from Spanish design house: nanimarquina.

Enrolled in the University of Madrid’s architecture program from 1943, Chillida turned his back on the degree in 1947 in favour of more artistic pursuits that afforded him greater flexibility in his creative expression.

Basing himself in France, the San Sebastián native indulged his appreciation for free form and three-dimensional work by producing predominately clay and plaster sculptures to begin with – moving eventually to heavy metals and oxidised alloys.  With his early work focused on human form and the human figure, Chillida soon began to marry his passion for architectural scaling and industrial processes to produce large public works that to this day are found across Europe and some further afield in the US.

What is beautiful about this collection of rugs (personally overseen by Nani Marquina), is that all seven in the series draw their inspiration and richness from the breadth of Chillida’s artistic and technical abilities.  His sinuous, artisanal sketches of the female form and clasped hands are transposed beautifully onto rugs -  with great effect -  as effortlessly as the cubic and architecturally inspired step-carved rugs echo his proficiency at etching and passion for sculpting .

Keeping within a monochromatic palette and confining the collection to rectangular rugs Marquina has curated a tribute to Chillida that will imbue his work with a fresh new perspective for a whole new generation.  The full Chillida Collection will be unveiled at Salone Mobile in Milan next week.

Rug images © nanimarquina

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Jephson Robb: A Many Of Many Hats…

Jephson Robb is a Scotsman of many talents.

Having graduated in Political Economics from Glasgow University, Robb’s journey took a rather creative tangent in 2003 that saw him complete a second degree – this time design, from The Royal College of Art in London.

With his first commission coming from Tord Boontje as part of “Eight Rooms” for the British Council, Robb’s career was off to a healthy start.  What resulted was the highly commended “Temple”, a piece that like many of Robb’s works call for active viewer  involvement and promote artwork/viewer interaction.

Perhaps one of the most intriguing aspects of Jephson Robbs portfolio is its sheer diversity.  As adept in realising monolithic scupltural installations, he has also proven himself an accomplished web designer, art director and furniture designer – with no sign of this breadth having any negative impact on the quality and importance of the individual explorations.

With his personal and very moving work “Cries & Whispers” now in the permanent collection of New York’s MoMA, his lounge chair design “Amri” sits alongside the works of Jaime Hayon, Suzanne Trocme, Ross Lovegrove, Arik Levy and more in the Bernhardt Design catalogue.

Prolific and proficient, the ever evolving story of Jephson Robb is set to keep us engaged as much as it will keep us guessing where he will spring up next.

(Mid 2012 KE-ZU will proudly be launching the Bernhardt Collection into the Australian market for the first time. Click here to register interest)

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SPOTLIGHT: Ito Kish

Note that name down.

After decades in the design industry as stylist, interior consultant and highly regarded design retailer – Ito Kish has scooped the pool at Manila FAME 2012 taking out a double win for Best Booth Design as well as Best Furniture Design for a piece from his debut solo collection: Art of the Archipelago.

Gregoria, named after Kish’s mother, is a wonderfully nostalgic collection that sees to imbue the humble turned-timber balustrade of traditional Philippine residences with a contemporary language that would speak to a new generation not as familair with the typology.

Complete with a radial paterned woven seat the craftsmanship alone is enought to warrant the Manila FAME 2012 commendation.

Manila FAME 2012 (for the first time an amalgamation of five leading South East Asian design fairs) wrapped up in Manila on the 17th and drew an impressive contingent of International guests with the likes of the Campana Brothers and Kenneth Cobonpue visiting.

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