Furniture Free Friday | Let there be light …

Calvin Klein’s New York Apartment, designed by Joseph D’Urso, 1976

Calvin Klein’s New York Apartment, designed by Joseph D’Urso, 1976 From The NYT Book of Interior Design and Decoration. Photo Courtesy of AnotherMag

AnotherMag is a frequent source of amusement and inspiration here at KE-ZU and Steven Holt’s latest article “In Praise of Track Lighting” is no exception.

Tracing its history , applications and even pop culture references, along with a series of vintage pics, Holt certainly has us looking at track lighting in new ways

 Love it or hate it, no other lighting fixture offers the same level of performance, versatility, and style as track lighting. Here are 10 pictures from decades past to prove it says Holt.

Attention to Detail, 1979, by Herbert H. Wise

Attention to Detail, 1979, by Herbert H. Wise. Photo Courtesy of AnotherMag

Remodelling Your Home, 1979

Remodelling Your Home, 1979 Courtesy of Sunset Books. Photo Courtesy of AnotherMag

Planning & Remodelling Kitchens, 1979

Planning & Remodelling Kitchens, 1979. Photo Courtesy of AnotherMag

Better Homes & Gardens: Your Walls & Ceilings, 1983

Better Homes & Gardens: Your Walls & Ceilings, 1983. Photo Courtesy of AnotherMag

Your Walls & Ceilings, 1983

Your Walls & Ceilings, 1983. Photo Courtesy of AnotherMag

From Decorating With Plants, 1980

From Decorating With Plants, 1980. Photo Courtesy of AnotherMag

The New Decorating Book, 1981 © Better Homes and Gardens

The New Decorating Book, 1981 © Better Homes and Gardens. Photo Courtesy of AnotherMag

Interiors for Today, 1974

Interiors for Today, 1974. Photo Courtesy of AnotherMag

Wall Systems & Shelving, 1981

Wall Systems & Shelving, 1981. Photo Courtesy of AnotherMag

See the full article here.

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Spotlight | Flat

Flat collection by  Jorge Pensi Design Studio for Vondom is highly versatile and suitable for both outdoor and indoor use.

The collection features neutral lines and  beautifully formed aluminium legs which give the appearance that the pieces are floating mid air.

Another distinctive characteristic is the side table joined to the main unit, which at the same time is an armrest and a surface to lean on.

It’s build allows for making different combinations of pieces, to adapt them freely to any architectural space. With the corner unit able to fit easily into angular spaces.

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Furniture For Thought | Vondom

KE-ZU FURNITURE FOR THOUGHT VONDOM

24-Hour Party People

Not many folks attend a Vondom party and come out of it completely unscathed. We are talking seriously passionate parties; parties where the Vondom poolside furniture gets a lot of use.

Fortunately, the 24-hour-party people at Vondom take their approach to furniture and lighting design just as seriously as their approach to a good party.

“Vondom are the best of the roto-moulded furniture companies supplying the contract market and it is a design company on the ascendency,” says KE-ZU’s Caron Grunschlag. “They have a huge collection of products and were one of the first companies to do illuminated furniture. There were not a lot of companies doing that when we started working with them. They also enabled us to go into the planter market which was an extension of the outdoor and general contract market that we were already serving.”

The rotational moulding technique employed by Vondom allows them to create an incredible range of colours, textures and organic forms, with the greatest range of designer collections spanning furniture, lighting and pots.

Vondom’s pots are available in a super-large range of shapes and sizes. They can be ordered with self-watering systems and as with some of the furniture, remote programmable colour LED lighting.

With a UV factor of 8, the material used in all of Vondom’s outdoor products is capable of withstanding the most extreme climatic conditions (if it can survive a Vondom party, it can survive anything). Plus every Vondom product is 100 per cent recyclable, making it a sustainable choice.

What really sets Vondom apart however is their collaborations with some of the greatest designers on the planet, including Karim Rashid, Harry & Camila, Eugeni Quitllet, Javier Mariscal, Agatha Ruiz de la Prada and Ross Lovegrove.

Sounds like an excuse for a party…

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Furniture Free Friday | Pitarque Robots

Advertising agent Javier Acros Pitarque has combined his profession with his childhood passion for robots creating this series of unique, handcrafted creatures.

The robots are made up of parts that have their own history. The central body is formed from tins, boxes and parts of old machines, in a process of ‘urban archaeology’ that seeks out pieces from the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s such as television buttons, photo and film cameras, torches, gramophones, milometers and voltmeters, high in aesthetic value but little appreciated in industrial design.

Pitarque’s next challenge is to find a sponsor for an app for smarthphones tables in which anyone can create their own robot!

robotos

Step inside the factory and see how these creatures are made.

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News | Ettore Sottsas’s Limited Edition Gold Shiva Vase

The Italian architect and designer, Ettore Sottsass was one of the first to collaborate with BD back in the 70’s, 10 years before he became famous on a worldwide scale with the mythic Memphis group. That’s when Sottsass travelled regularly to Barcelona and produced various designs for the Catalan editor. The first one was a table baptised with the name ‘Mettsass’ in 1972. He followed with an ash tray called “Manhattan” in ceramic and a glass vase called “Element of Architecture”, a lamp “Knossos” and another ceramic vase in pink, baptised with the name “Shiva”. It was in 1973 when BD had just been inaugurated and he symbolised it with a modern piece of fertility. The master’s genius and committed character were imprinted on the original catalogue for this iconic piece, which BD continues to produce even today. In 2005, two years before Sottsass’ death, a gold prototype was made and was an award for an international competition for students of design. This is the very same one that Sottsass holds in his portrait. This piece has also been produced as a limited edition with a total of only 50 units.

Shiva - Limited Edition | BD Barcelona Design

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Spotlight | Shine

Designed by acclaimed designer Arik Levy for EMU, Shine’s elegant and versatile personality is suitable for multiple residential, hospitality or contract applications. Use of aluminium as the essential material not only makes this collection extremely light and functional but also highly weather resistant and practical to use in coastal areas.

shine arik levy

Shine appears as a complete collection, conceived for dining and relaxation.All elements of this outdoor furniture range are available in new and original colours.


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Furniture For Thought | EMU

KE-ZU_FURNITURE_FOR_THOUGHT_EMU

Nothing quite captures la dolce vita like EMU.

This is a true and unembellished story: A middle-aged American woman came into the KE-ZU showroom a couple of months ago, wanting to know if we sold emu. We told her that EMU is one of our most popular brands and proceeded to show her a couple of groovy Retrouve wire chairs.

“They are lovely chairs, but I think we have our wires crossed,” she said. “I’m talking about the flightless Australian bird, emu…I want to buy one for my husband’s 40th birthday.”

“Where will you keep it?” one of our team asked her.

“I have a large apartment in New York,” she explained.

At KE-ZU, we believe in making the impossible happen. So we made a few calls, pulled a few strings with our friends at Petz-4-U, and…well put it this way; if you see a bloke dragging a giant bird around Central Park on a leash, you can think of us.

The EMU that we stock has nothing whatsoever to do with Dromaius novaehollandiae. Our EMU is the initials for Elettro Meccanica Umbra, a company started in Italy in 1951 to produce military equipment; specifically radios.

The founders of EMU, brothers Aldo and Angelo Biscarini, and Dante Menconi, stumbled on a process to plasticise the metal components of the radios to protect them from the weather. This was the Mama Mia! moment they had been looking for. Pleased with their discovery they celebrated as only Italians know how to…by eating lots and lots of carbohydrates.

A decade later EMU decided there wasn’t much future in military equipment. Not to put too fine a point on it, but the Italian army wasn’t exactly in a growth phase so the company turned to producing outdoor furnishings instead.

If there was ever a piece of furniture that captured the essence of summer on the Amalfi Coast in the 1960s, it was the Rio. This elegant wire chair (from the Gardentime line) was the perfect place to sit beside the pool with a Campari soda. Since being launched in 1966, the Rio has sold some 8 million units…that’s a lot of Campari.

A change of management in the 90s saw Riccardo Biscarini, Aldo and Piero Ciabatti, and Jan Triska form EMU Group S.p.A.  This was also the decade of the Ronda chair, a curvaceous modern classic that is still in production.

In 2007 EMU launched its Advanced line, an alliance with some of the planet’s greatest designers. The first of the Advanced products was the internationally acclaimed Round collection by Christophe Pillet. Round was followed the same year by Heaven (Jean Marie Massaud), and Cross by Rodolfo Dordoni.

Further additions to the Advanced collection included Re-Trouvè by Patricia Urquiola; Ivy by Paola Navone and Intrecci by Carlo Colombo.

The Shine collection by the great Arik Levy was introduce last summer and then in Milan 2014, Yard by Stefan Diez…both collections in aluminium.

From such humble beginnings, EMU products now sell in more than 50 countries and feature in some of the world’s most beautiful hotels; from the Granducato in Florence to the Hotel dei Dogi in Venice.

In Sydney, you’ll find EMU at the new Prince Alfred Park Pool, Royal Randwick Race Course, The Ivy, The Argyle and Paddington Reservoir…to name a few.

Emu is able to create furniture with strong personality from its birth, forged from invaluable experience. These same furnishings, once purchased, take on further experiences as they become part of the lives and memories of those around them.

KE-ZU’s Caron Grunschlag believes EMU offers the world’s greatest design collection of outdoor furniture for the contract market. She particularly likes the fact that EMU were willing to invest in products with high tooling costs. “That’s why you don’t see a thousand cheap copies coming out of China,” she says.

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News | Artifort In the Eyes/Nights Only popup hotel

During the Biennale Interieur (International Biennial for creative interior design) in Kortrijk this year, our supplier Artifort had a space in Kortrijk City, at Eyes/Nights Only at the Broel school – an exciting concept by DIFT, as it is both a pop-up hotel and gallery. Each room, was transformed by brands and designers into an artistic installation that reflected their vision of the hotel room. During the day, Biennale visitors were able to visit these rooms, at night they became regular hotel rooms, where guests could enjoy a pleasant night’s sleep.

In a mint-green room, Artifort treasured the intimate family moments just before bedtime. Cuddling up close on the sofa, reading from storybooks with delightful pictures. Watching your children fall asleep to lullabies as you doze off yourself in the rocking chair. The Bras by Khodi Feiz, Rocking Chair by Geoffrey Harcourt, and Moulin by Pierre Paulin fitted in perfectly with this theme, as did the Bonnet Brights by Casalis. Almost like a fairy tale…

 

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Spotlight | Vis-A-Vis

Vis-à-vis de Gala | BD Barcelona Design

During the thirties in Paris, Salvador Dali surrounded himself with a circle of friends involved in the application of art to varied disciplines, above and beyond the study of pure pictorial art. Jean-Michel Frank, a furniture maker and decorator of recognized prestige in the Paris of those years, was on very good terms with Dalí and together they worked on several ideas. In the 1990s a group of experts, led by Oscar Tusquets, set themselves the task of turning the furniture Dalí had drawn for Jean-Michel Frank into reality.

Amongst these items was Vis-A-Vis, a two sided seat in shocking parma violet hue.

Visa and Dali

Set in a serpentine arrangement, Vis-A-Vis was initially intended for intimate conversation, with the meandering, partitioning back allowing for individual privacy. The graceful shape is accentuated by the opulent natural silk upholstery, tufted back and seat. The wooden base is lined with polished lacquered brass plate, whilst polished and varnished cast brass travels across the backrest like an outstretched arm, resting its hand upon the luxurious fabric.

Visa and Dali 2

More art than furniture this iconic design is now offered in a limited release ‘black’ model to mark the 20th Anniversary of the “Maestro’s” death.

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Furniture For Thought | BD Barcelona

KE-ZU_FURNITURE_FOR_THOUGHT_BD

A giant in the world of design, BD Barcelona combines Spanish flair with an artistic sensibility.

Barcelona is one of our favourite places to hang out. Why? Lots of reasons; for a start it was founded as a Roman city in the Middle Ages and merged with the Kingdom of Aragon, which we think sounds kind of like something from Game of Thrones.

We also love the fact that the city is home to so many of Gaudi’s bizarre ‘melting’ buildings. His greatest of all is the Sagrada Familia, which has been under construction since 1882. Obviously Gaudi wasn’t a bloke who liked to hurry things along. As a child he once took three weeks to make a Plasticine snake.

In 1929 Barcelona became the home to Mies Van der Rohe’s German Pavilion for the International Exposition. The pavilion featured one of the most iconic – not to mention hellishly uncomfortable – chairs in the history of furniture: The Barcelona Chair (we suspect Mies was moonlighting as a chiropractor).

Barcelona was finally recognised for its amazing built environment in 1999, winning the RIBA Gold Medal. This is the first and only time the award has gone to a city and not an individual architect.

But what we love most of all about Barcelona is the little company started there in 1972 by five quirky architects: Pep Bonet, Lluis Cloteet, Cristian Cirici, Mireia Riera and Oscar Tusquets. Their design philosophy was summed up by the juxtaposition of the Catalan traits of rauxa (unconventionality) with seny (common sense).

BD Barcelona’s first shop attracted media attention through its wacky window displays and products that were unlike anything the world had ever seen. Accompanied with artisanal processes instead of mass production, the new products (often in limited editions) were closer to art than industrial design.

This appreciation of art was further emphasised when the company edited Gaudi’s furniture for his buildings in the early 80s, and a decade later introduced a series of furniture and lamps designed by Dali. More recently BD has collaborated with the likes of Ross Lovegrove, Jaime Hayon and Doshi Levien.

“BD = ART = BD,” says KE-ZU’s Caron Grunschlag. “The company has represented the great Spanish artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. “You need to look at the objects from BD as functional sculptures. They are investments, and just as you would invest in a painting of Salvador Dali, so you would invest in one of his pieces of furniture.”

Next time you pop into the KE-ZU showroom, check out BD’s new Shanty Credenza by Doshi Levien. It’s a patchwork of corrugated surfaces that references improvised dwellings from Cape Town to Alice Springs. One look at it and you’ll see why we think BD is one of the world’s most exciting manufacturers.

“It is company owned and run by architects; they are truly the forward thinkers and trend setters for the market,” Caron says. “You know that if BD starts to work with someone new, that person is about to become the next big thing.”

 

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