Monthly Archives: August 2014

Benoît Malta’s Bearable Discomfort

Posted on August 21, 2014 by Liz

Society’s technological advancements are rapidly progressing, at all times having a strong influence on our physical behaviours and environments. For many people a typical day now involves sitting down and working at a computer for nine hours, to then go home and sit at a different desk perhaps continuing with some freelance work, browsing the internet or just resting on the sofa (usually with some kind of electronic device in front of their eyes or on their laps). Even lunch breaks involve an inactive, seated position; everybody is tired. Physical activity has become a chore, something we must factor into our lives for an agreed amount of time, but it’s also fine to disregard this if we ‘don’t feel like it’. And for many of us, we never feel like it.

Inactivité, Benoît Malta

Assisting our aversion to physical movement are the products created to make life easier for us, from autonomous vacuum cleaners to self-making beds (yes, really). There is no motivation to use our bodies as we simply don’t need to. However, the adverse effects of this are endemic, with many people suffering from spinal issues, muscular diseases and other health issues. In making us more comfortable, designers are in fact creating a widespread discomfort. So what is the solution?

Inactivité, Benoît Malta

For one designer, it is simple: to take this discomfort and incorporate it into products, using it to put the body in motion and thus out of its chronic stationary postures. Recent École Boulle graduate Benoît Malta has developed a collection of objects based on the idea of discomfort, thinking of alternative ways to use products that will create a need for physical activity and stimulation. The French designer wished to question the perception of the home space, altering familiar habits and allowing people to become more aware of their bodies.

Inactivité, Benoît Malta

The resulting collection consists of a chair, lamp and small shelving system, designed to promote mobility and improve wellbeing. The chair proposes an alternative way of sitting, with only two legs instead of the usual four to stimulate different parts of the body through a passive situation. Malta worked with ergonomists and physical therapists to ensure the structure would appropriately activate different parts of the body affected by daily inactivity.

Inactivité, Benoît Malta

Malta’s lamp is inspired by Roman scales with a mercury switch that turns the light on when it is horizontal. A weight allows the lamp to balance and remain lit, but this moves often so that the user must switch the light back on with a gesture that stretches the arm out of idleness. Finally, the small ledges for storage are inspired by climbing holds. Placed at different heights, these too require the user to stretch in order to reach the item that is needed.

Inactivité, Benoît Malta

With ‘Inactivité’, Malta creates activity from ordinarily passive circumstances. The collection is an amazing example of what is now needed from all designers in order to transform sedentary ways of living. In addition to this, it challenges traditional perceptions of objects, creating pieces of furniture without archetypal vision. This is ‘bearable discomfort’; for our bodies and our health, but also for our minds and for the future of design.

Soho House Chicago

Posted on August 15, 2014 by Liz

Let’s just start off by saying that WIN simply adore Soho House. Our Editor has been a member of every House for many years and we hold the judging for our Awards each July at the original club on Greek Street – in fact this year Founder and CEO Nick Jones joined the panel judging the Hotel Interiors Category. Our team are eternally impressed by the superb service from delightful staff members, the inviting interiors with an enviable selection of eclectic furnishings and of course the perfectly crafted coffees that see us through our busy days. We’re also partial to their Eggs Benedict in the morning!

Soho House Chicago

Pizza East, Soho House Chicago

Unsurprisingly, the group has expanded rapidly over the years, with multiple Houses opening up across Europe and North America. Their portfolio also includes cinemas, hotels, Cowshed spa and salons and 15 public restaurants. This week marks the group’s fifth opening in North America, an exciting development which we are delighted to share with you. Presenting Soho House Chicago.

Screening Room, Soho House Chicago

Soho House Chicago

Housed in a six storey warehouse dating back to 1907, the club is inspired by and celebrates its bustling city setting, with many of the building’s original elements repurposed to capture distinct moments in Chicago’s history. Other features have been left untouched, such as the ornamented entrance and large, open floor plans with exposed concrete structures. Additionally, curators for Soho House, Jonny Yeo and Francesca Gavin, collaborated with Chicago based artists to seamlessly weave local artwork throughout the property in the group’s signature mismatched style.

Soho House Chicago

Soho House Chicago

There are 40 guestrooms in Soho House Chicago, all decked out with uniquely sourced furniture and art pieces. They contain an aura of luxury that pervades every storey of the club: from the second floor with fully outfitted fitness centre and boxing ring fashioned by Chicago’s famous Horween Leather Company to the fourth with its cosy 40 seat screening room and the Club Floor on level five with drawing room, bar, house kitchen and grill.

Fitness Centre, Soho House Chicago

The Allis, Soho House Chicago

To top everything off, at the building’s highest point there is a glass enclosed rooftop bar and kitchen and outdoor deck with 80 ft swimming pool. We’re already imagining ourselves sipping a cocktail poolside, gazing at the stunning architecture on the horizon.

Soho House Chicago

Soho House Chicago

Non-members are also able to indulge themselves at Soho House Chicago, enjoying delectable delights from the kitchens of public-facing restaurants Pizza East and Chicken Shop or a well-edited selection of wine and craft beers from Allis Bar. The Cowshed spa and salon is likewise open to the public, ready to pamper with a fine selection of thoughtful scents, botanical ingredients and herbal remedies.

Chicken Shop, Soho House Chicago

Cowshed spa and salon, Soho House Chicago

The photos speak for themselves, it seems all that’s left to do is book our flights and visit our Chicago based ‘home away from home’.

Soho House Chicago

Soho House Chicago

Soho House Chicago

Chicken Shop, Soho House Chicago

Screening Room, Soho House Chicago

Soho House Chicago

Flowers Blossom into Flames: Experimenta

Posted on August 8, 2014 by Liz

The flame becomes a flower and the fuel becomes water in this transformation of the classic kerosene lamp by Giuseppe Bessero Belti. The Italian designer, who currently resides in Paris, has designed a collection of vases by repurposing oil lamps and combining them with 3D printing, mixing old and new in a reinterpretation entitled Experimenta.

Experimenta – Bombé Viennoise

Belti began with the traditional oil lamp, which can be simplified into five parts: ‘the chimney’ glass in various shapes, ‘the wick’, the fuse that dips into the fuel, ‘the burner’, the nozzle from which the flame emerges, ‘the collar’, the ring for fastening the glass and ‘the fount’, the container for the fuel. This has undergone multiple changes due to the technological innovations and scientific progress made in the 18th and 19th centuries. Designers of the time were constantly experimenting with the oil lamp, creating new shapes for the burner and the chimney that affected its efficiency. The design was guided by the emerging industry, oriented towards the mass market.

Experimenta

Experimenta – Globe

Fast forward to the current world of design and what can be found is a rediscovery of craftsmanship, an emerging maker spirit that responds to the consumer’s desire for unique products of high quality and high artistic value. Belti decided to combine this trend with the use of 3D printing technology, creating a sharp contrast between industrial production and craftsmanship.

Experimenta – Kosmos

Experimenta – Matador

The Experimenta vases are composed of a cylindrical 3D-printed nylon container, repurposed glass vessels in all their variations from the 18th and 19th centuries, a ring and a series of adapters to fix the glass vessel in place. Water takes the place of kerosene in the container and a flower blooms from within, a vivid and naturally beautiful wick and flame.

Experimenta – Rochester

Experimenta – Rochester

Experimenta breathes new life into the old glass, and sets a standard of uniqueness, but one that could still be available to many. It is currently at the prototype stage, but WIN hope to one day have a flower burn bright on our shelves.

Making Design History: 25 Years of Starck and Duravit

Posted on August 4, 2014 by Liz

“If you’re lucky enough to have a good idea, you’re duty-bound to share it.” Philippe Starck.

July 2014 marked 25 years of French designer Starck working with international bathroom product developer Duravit. During this time, he has shared a vast amount of ideas with the company including designs for timeless bathroom classics and concepts for everything from innovative shower-toilets to the architecture of the company’s office and showroom at its German headquarters.

Philippe Starck by Jean-Baptiste Mondino

The charismatic partnership began in 1989, when Duravit wrote to Starck and proposed that he joined them in developing innovative designs to take the sanitary ware market by storm. In return, Starck invited them to visit and consequently they decided to work together – a decision that has since proved incredibly successful: together, Philippe Starck and Duravit have made design history.

Starck recognised that it was not necessary to reinvent the wheel in order to create contemporary shapes. Instead, he based his design on the re-discovery of ancient forms, taking archetypal objects and translating them for Duravit into ceramic and acrylic in a way that had never been done before. In 1994 he unveiled his first creation for the designer bathroom manufacturer: the Starck 1 range, based on archaic objects such as a washbowl and bucket. Next came the launch of the Starck 2 ceramics range in 1998, inspired by the motion of water. Although very varied in form, the resulting washbowls, washbasins, toilets and bidets all carry Philippe Starck’s distinctive design signature.

25 Years of Starck

They say that the best things come in threes, in this case the addition of the Starck 3 range, unveiled by Duravit in 2002. These were more pared-down forms, able to blend effortlessly into any bathroom. However things didn’t end there, the success story continued in 2011 with the first ever shower-toilet, also designed by Starck. He then went on to design the first steam shower, the St.Trop, based on the idea of a painting (the shower door represents a large picture frame, the white background forms the canvas and the person taking a shower becomes the motif, completing the ‘work of art’).

Starck has clearly had a strong influence on Duravit’s products and on the company as a whole. He even went a step further by designing a whole building for Duravit that reflects their dedication to good design. The resulting structure, the Duravit Design Center in Hornberg, is extraordinary in terms of both its exterior form and its interior finishings, featuring an outrageous giant toilet spanning three floors cut into its front façade. Visible from far and wide around the Black Forest, it definitely makes a bold design statement!

Duravit Design Center, Hornberg

The combined talents of Duravit and Starck have been a winning combination and we look forward to many more years of great design from both!