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.Share on Facebook
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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We were intending to launch our new KE-ZU blog series Furniture for Thought at Blogsphere 2014 – the World Blogging Festival in Cannes this year. To our disappointment when we turned up at the venue, we were shocked to find it was a small shop on the boardwalk, selling You Cannes Touch This T-shirts to desperate Japanese tourists. The owner of the shop, Pierre La Bloom, ensured us that he’d never heard of Blogosphere 2014, but it would be a great idea for a T-shirt.
A few enquiries to the local tourism authority confirmed our worst fears. Blogosphere 2014 Cannes does not exist. Not in any way shape or form. We had been scammed out of our $5,000 entry fee by a shonky Nigerian named Mr Adebayo who (perhaps not surprisingly) refused to return our frantic calls.
So, jetlagged, $5,000-out-of-pocket, and back in sunny Sydney with nothing to show for our disastrous trip but a You Cannes Touch This T-shirt (Caron’s idea not mine) we are left with little choice but to launch Furniture for Thought right here, right now in less salubrious circumstances. No red carpets, no rude French waiters, no cocktails tricked up with miniature umbrellas… just a laptop on a desk at KE-ZU headquarters, a cold espresso and a half-eaten mulberry macaroon.
So, without further ado, welcome to Furniture for Thought; our new weekly look at the brands that help to make KE-ZU the uber-cool destination it is. In each edition we’ll be exploring one manufacturer, seeking to find out what it is that makes them tick. We’ll look at the history, the people, and the philosophy behind the names.
Furniture for Thought will be your go-to destination for information about some of the biggest, most dynamic furniture and lighting brands on the planet. Brands such as BD Barcelona, LZF, Andreu World, Expormim, Parachilna, Forestier, Vondom and Sancal.
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If you didn’t have a chance to see our installation at the Tongue N Groove showroom during Melbourne InDesign you will find some of the bd Barcelona pieces on display at the Living Edge showroom in Melbourne, but for the full collection you will have to come and visit KE-ZU in Sydney.
Introducing a New Lighting Collection by Parachilna
This brand is forging a philosophy built around honesty in design, an appreciation of the value of precious materials, and a respect for handcrafted manufacturing methods.
Designers Jaime Hayon and Stephen Burks presented the first collection of Parachilna at the last edition of the Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan. Not surprisingly, it was a resounding success.
For more information please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org or 1300 724 174
“A chair can even be used for sitting on, but with just one condition: that we be uncomfortably seated” Salvador Dali
During the 1930’s in Paris, Jean-Michel Frank, a furniture maker and decorator of great repute, was on very good terms with Dali and together they worked on several ideas. In the 1990’s a group of experts led by Oscar Tusquets set themselves the task of of turning the furniture that Dali had drawn for Jean-Michel Franke into a reality.
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.Share on Facebook
Jaime Hayon continues to be one of the most celebrated Spanish designers on the international stage. When in 2006 BD decided to bet on his talent with the successful Showtime Collection, Jaime still was an emerging talent with an artistic profile out of the ordinary. His style has been refined over the years. In 2009 BD introduced a new piece in the collection: The Lounger. Now with the same elegance and comfort that is required for this type of chair, BD launches the Low Lounger. A version with a lower backrest, specially developed for the contract market and with the Hayon’s unmistakable stamp.
Available now from KE-ZU!Share on Facebook
Now available from KE-ZU!Share on Facebook
Jaime Hayon continues to be one of the most celebrated Spanish designers on the international stage. When in 2006 BD decided to bet on his talent with the successful Showtime Collection, Jaime still was an emerging talent with an artistic profile out of the ordinary. His style has been refined over the years. One of the iconic pieces of the collection was the Cabinet Multileg. Now BD presents a new wooden version, walnut and walnut nature, with the same virtues as the first: modular, multipurpose and multilegged.
Now on display at the KE-ZU showroom!
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The Shanty Credenza designed by Doshi Levien is the newest addition to KE-ZU supplier BD Barcelona‘s collection of cabinets. A typology of furniture which was lost toward the of of the last century and which BD, in the last few years have wanted to regain with the same purposeful functionality of a container, but with different character. BD have produced distinct cabinets suitable for a variety of projects with the Showtime designed by Jamie Hayon, Tout Va Bien designed by Antoine et Manuel and Free Port designed Martí Guixé.
Very few pieces allow for interventions with so much personality without depleting the function with which they have been created for. These convert into scuplutures in a dining room or in a hotel lobby. The BD collection grows with the arrival of a new cabinet by Doshi Levien (designer Nipa Doshi, born in Mumbai, and Jonathan Levien of Scotish descent), who within a short space of time converted into one of the most unique and attractive, creative couples on the international scene. This is their second design for BD after the charming Chandlo dressing table
Shanty is imagined as a patchwork of corrugated surfaces referencing improvised dwellings across the world, from Brazil to Africa and India. The cabinet collection celebrates the beauty of these seemingly temporary constructions. The corrugated façade appears to be a spontaneous composition of different coloured surfaces, disguising a rational and carefully considered volume of storage. The body is asymmetric and every door opens in a distinct way. The collection has different versions and finishes. Shanty Summer and Shanty Winter, more or less colourful, Shanty Black with brass finished legs and other versions in monochrome. The cabinet can be accessorized with a new mirror system that allows for different compositions.
Shanty will soon be on display at the KE-ZU showroom!Share on Facebook