Tag: salvador dali

Furniture For Thought | BD Barcelona


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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Leda …



Leda Armchair designed by Salvador Dali for BD Barcelona.

“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.

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We Love Spain …

Here at the ‘ZU we have a bit of a fascination for Spain.  We aren’t alone – the world has an ever expanding love affair with the skilled European State, and with good reason.  A land bearing some of the worlds most successful and well-known creatives in history is worthy of a humble mention here on the KE-ZU Blog.

The undeniable talent across every sector which has emerged from Spain is unstoppable and almost unfathomable.  Think perhaps the genius brushstrokes of Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso, fashion giant Balenciaga, every girls’ footwear fantasy Manolo Blahnik, the “L’enfant terrible” fashionista Paco Rabbane, marketing genius and comfort guru Camper, a huge spectrum of architectural brilliance delivered by Antoni Gaudi and Santiago Calatrava, multi-talented designer Javier Mariscal and culinary brain Ferran Adrià – what a list, and that’s just the start!

Spain has captured our hearts, and for more than just these monumental reasons – the work of the wider Spanish community in the cultural arts arena is nothing short of beautiful and while we’re on that, check out the astoundingly picturesque layout of the website Love Spain.

Love Spain is dedicated to creativity in Spanish design, architecture, art, fashion and food and the rolling image bank is a non-stop repertoire of all things creative hailing from the European land we adore.

All KE-ZU’s Spanish suppliers are featured on the site; nanimarquina in her award winning range of rugs immortalising the Spanish artist Edward Chillida (and the greater nanimarquina collection), Vondom’s progressive outdoor pieces, bd Barcelona’s Dali works and a selection of Sancal’s products!

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MILANO:2012 | BD Barcelona…

Two years after we first met the Showtime Lounger at the Milan Furniture Fair, Jaime Hayon and BD Barcelona have used the same event to release the latest model in the collection.

Taking the colour selection beyond bold lacquers, this model introduces the option of walnut veneer paired with suede upholstery options, this addition takes the aesthetic beyond the block colour lacquers that were previously on offer.

With a recent surge in interest for vanities and dressing tables, BD last year released The Narcissist with China’s design duo Neri & Hu in collaboration with Swarovski.  This year Nipa Doshi and Jonathan Levien have created the Chandlo dressing table, an almost post-modern offering which is designed to be viewed from every angle – in free space.  Incorporating storage, mirror, rotating stool and jewellery box, Chandlo means “moon shape” another word for “Bindi” the small dot worn on the foreheads of Hindu women, a feature which is referenced in the mirror element of the design.

In 2012 BD Barcelona celebrate 40 years since inception, a milestone that reminds us of the importance of the works produced under the BD Barcelona banner.  They boast an unrivalled collection that incorporates the works of Salvador Dali and Antoni Gaudi.

Alongside these eminent designers sits the work of the late Ettore Sottsass.  In 1972 his Mettsass Table was released by BD and in time earned its place in the annals of design history as a classic.

To celebrate the ongoing relevance of his work the Mettsass has been reissued.  The structure is made of flat sheets of steel, painted in red RAL 3001 or slick black. The glass table top is painted to match the selected colour as the structure.

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INSTALLED: The Clift Hotel, San Francisco

San Francisco’s Clift Hotel and Redwood Room are iconic destinations in their own right, not least for some pivotal pieces of design history that they play host to.

First opened in 1915,  the smart 17 storey building underwent a complete $80m overhaul  in 2001 under the guidance of one Mr Philippe Starck and celebrity hotelier Ian Schrager.  A moody-melange of classical elegance and edgy surrealism, the evocatively-dim lobby is riddled with quirky furnishings: from Salvador Dali‘s rare bronze-and-marble Leda Table for BD Barcelona, a  loveseat fashioned out of buffalo horns and hide to a brilliant Jean Nouvel designed reception desk.   Renè Magritte too is present in Roberto Matta‘s Magritta Chair, essentially an oversized apple in an upturned bowler hat.  Part foyer – part 20th Century industrial design gallery, it wouldn’t surprise us if half the refurbishment costs went on the foyer alone!

Upon entry all eyes of course gravitate to the 12 foot high upholstered armchair that sits proudly in the lobby, backed by an equally imposing 18 foot high bronze fireplace.  Lighting too is given a surrealist touch with inclusion of Salvador Dali’s Muletas, Bracelli and Cajones lamps dotted throughout public areas.  Jean Baptiste Mondino‘s portraits of toy animals in the “Living Room” lobby bar are another quirky addition.  Almost fantasy, completely luxe and with a healthy dose of homour: to say the space is dramatic wouldn’t do The Clift justice. When in San Francisco, if not staying there then popping in for a drink is a must!

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The Story: Gaulino by Tusquets…

Click the image above to hear Spanish design icon Oscar Tusquets share with you the all important story behind the recently re-issued and multi-award winning Gaulino Chair.  He guides us through how his friend Salvador Dali is present in its design as well as the reason heavyweights Gaudi and Mollino came to be the namesakes of such a modern design classic.

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YOU-ZU: Jackson Wicks…

Axolotl Group are famous for their amazing ability to make light of what is otherwise very heavy or expensive work.  Their expertise in application of their patented finishes to glass, mdf and virtually any surface is second to none.  Before your eyes, transforming timber to stone or paper to aged copper, these guys are very clever cookies.

Jackson Wicks is their in-house Senior Industrial Designer.  Having worked on public scuplture, to bathroom doors, to chapels, to shopping centres and even coffins, there is not much Jackson and the team cant achieve given half the chance.

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YOU-ZU: Stacey Kouros

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SALON: Spanish Design Checks Into The Tribeca Grand

Design association RED in collaboration with ICEX, the Spanish Embassy’s Economic and Commercial Office in New York and Surface Magazine, is running an exhibition lounge in the Grand Hotel Tribeca, New York City, comprising entirely Spanish products

The event, which opened on the 13 May, coinciding with the ICFF fair, exhibits 16 Spanish companies:  including Bd BarcelonaLZF Lamps, Nanimarquina and  Sancal. The lounge will be in place for two years with the design of the space being led by the acclaimed designer Winka Dubbeldam.  Inspiration for the event was taken from the surrealist Spanish masters: Dali, Picasso and Caballero.

Tribeca Grand Hotel, 2 Ave of the Americas. New York, Open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Worth a look… besides, it’s in place for two years, no excuses really!

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