We live in a time of abundant design stores and online interior retailers that churn out fast furniture in a similar way the fashion behemoths turn over fast fashion. While many of us are constantly on the look out for interesting, modern, well-crafted design pieces at a truly affordable cost, sometimes it’s hard not to resort to the typical catalog companies and Ikeas of the world. Personally, I’d prefer to buy directly from a carpenter, artisan, or maker—there’s something about this exchange that feels more personal—but I often don’t find products I truly love at a price I can pay. Thankfully, OneFortyThree is here to fill the void.
Note Design Studio make some absolutely beautiful and unique work. In truth, I could have happily featured any piece of theirs on the site but today I’ve decided to focus on this really elegant bathroom basin.
Described as “the perfect blend of Italian craftsmanship and Nordic aesthetics”, the Swedish studio’s basin is particularly smart on account of it’s two-level design. I love how the sink’s upper-level holds a removable wooden decking which is just perfect for placing bathroom accessories on. It’s the ideal place to let your shaver drain-off or let your soap stay dry. Its combination of wood and ceramic strikes a perfect balance and I’d happily have one of these take pride and place in my bathroom.
“The Thread Wrapping Machine” is a weird and wonderful invention by Anton Alvarez. It’s the sort of surreal lo-fi machine that you wouldn’t be surprised seeing in a Michel Gondry or Spike Jonez film. Designed to join different types of material together, the machine uses a glue-coated thread as bond. There’s no screws or nails holding its resulting furniture in place, simply a Spiderman-like webbing made of thread.
I love the products that London-based designer Hugo Passos makes. I discovered him recently while browsing the Monocle website and saw that the magazine had teamed up with the designer to produce a beautifully crafted magazine rack (below).
What I like best about Passos’s work is just how simple, neat and elegant it all is. The form and the materials stand on their own without the need for gimmicks or distraction. They’re just simple, beautiful pieces. I particularly love Obon, his oak coffee table (above). It’s a split-level table with an inset tray. What I love best is how the tray has two surfaces, inviting you to use each one for a different task. Ideal for enjoying a book and a cup of coffee at the same time!
You can check out more of Hugo Passos’s work online here.
In the ever-evolving landscape that is modern furniture design, Denmark’s HAY stands apart. Founded in 2002, the company aims to recreate the heyday of 1950’s and ’60s design only with an innovative twist. Aside from their products actually being affordable, they employ both hungry young designers and more established ones alike to create products that are functional and aesthetically interesting. In their words, they want to blur the lines between architecture and fashion and do so in a joyful manner.
All of HAY’s furniture seems to pair beautifully together. Designer Hee Welling’s “About a Stools” are made to work in both residential and commercial spaces, their colorful bases working in conjunction with one another. Because of each product’s streamlined simplicity, it’s easy to see these pieces working in many different types of spaces, especially the Bjørn sofa and unassuming Bella desk, which comes in either white or black.
HAY recently expanded into product design, too. They offer a wide range of office supplies like rulers and binders in various pastel and prints. I’m partial to their modular Kaleido trays, which won Sweden’s Design S prize late last year. Bold, bright, and beautiful, they’d cheer up any dinner party.
I was really inspired by Andi’s post a couple days ago about these beautiful pens by AJOTO that I wanted to start sharing some other examples of beautiful product design. The other day I came across these incredible Banquinho Nº2 stools by Adaism and was totally entranced by their design. The base is actually old stock from “the Portugese metalware factory ICA designed in 1955 by António and Luis Pereira but then combined with a new, hand-sewn leather seat. The combination is powerful, giving both an industrial yet contemporary feeling to the stools. I’m sad their isn’t an example of what these look like when folded, I’m sure they’re gorgeous.
Adaism also has an amazing collection of leather objects that you’ll probably want to drool over. If you’re on budget, beware.
These throws and bedspreads are really beautiful! Woven from hand dyed wool yarns and silk, they’re made by the artist and designer Klaus Haapaniemi alongside designer Mia Wallenius. The duo have created a fantastic range of textiles that not only include these throws but also shawls, cushions and scarves. On top of that they also make beautiful ceramics, prints and seasonal decorations. They’re certainly a busy studio!
Influenced by nature, Finnish folklore, fantasy and traditional decorative arts with a modern twist, they create some of the nicest textiles I’ve seen in a very long time. You can view the complete range on their website here.
While it may not be the best quality in the world, you’ve got to hand it to IKEA for continually making exciting products. Their new PS collection, the seventh they’ve released so far, might just be their best one yet. IKEA asked their designers to delve into their 60 year history to find and reinterpret some classic objects. I’m a big fan of these spotted plates and bowls by Anna Efverlund, these brightly colored pendant lamps by Henrik Preutz and this polka dot cushion cover from Maria Vinka.
You can see the whole collection by clicking here.
Freelance designer Zoë Mowat lives and works in Montreal. Her ‘Cache’ cabinet is just one of a number of great pieces which she has designed over the last few years. Combining color, material and form in unique ways – Zoë creates work which continually strives to question the value of objects and what it means to have them.
Her combination of simple forms, smooth lines and bold colors are really fantastic. Her designs feel fresh and her use of materials are appealing. Her ‘Cache’ cabinet is a really good example of what she does so well. Here we see solid walnut sitting beside a simple grey and a strong blue; together they form a cabinet which is as fun and playful as it is simple and elegant. For me, it’s a winning combination and I’d love to have one of these in my house.
This table by Norwegian designer Caroline Olsson is both beautiful and clever. Made of birch, the table works quite literally on two levels – turning from a dining table to a coffee table by simply folding its legs.
Caroline explains that the inspiration for the design came from the anatomy of the knee, and the way in which the bones can only bend in one way. She adds, that once the table is folded down it starts to look like “a small foal who has bent its legs and laid down to rest in the meadow”. It’s an elegently simple idea and it wears its title of ‘Bambi’ with suitable charm.