As we noted in our post on the 2015 Garden Unique Youngstars competition winner “snak” by Gunnar Søren Petersen, the contemporary outdoor furniture market is largely a forgotten world as far as quality design is concerned.
But, and as we also noted, it needn’t be.
The 2015 edition of the Garden Unique Youngstars competition staged as part of the spoga+gafa garden fair in Cologne presented 15 projects by young designers which showed that “design for outdoors” is no contradiction.
We’re not going to claim that we were enamoured by all the nominated projects, and you’d hopefully not believe us if we did; however, in terms of the thinking behind the projects, the execution of the ideas and the honesty of the designs all fifteen projects demonstrated that if it wanted to the outdoor goods industry could be every bit as interesting, relevant and future orientated as its domestic and office cousins.
By way of an explanation of what is possible, the fifteen nominated projects:
snak by Gunnar Søren Petersen – 1st Prize Winner
A contemporary picnic/camping/outdoor table with tennis table functionality, snak is….. On second thoughts, it’s probably better to let Gunnar Søren Petersen describe snak himself.
More information: www.gunnar-petersen.com
Boots shears by Renaud Defrancesco – 2nd Prize Winner
A large part of our youth, or at least the winter months thereof, was spent pruning vines. Consequently a large part of our youthful winters were spent pondering the question of where to put our secateurs when we needed to bind the vine to the wire? The answer? In a pocket on the side of our wellies. Obviously. Sadly back then there were no Boots shears. Developed by ECAL Lausanne graduate Renaud Defrancesco in context of a cooperation with Swiss shears and secateurs manufacturer Felco, Boots shears is as obvious as it is ingenious. And as the next development we’re expecting the iPhone pouch for all hipster gardeners.
VEGRACK by VAKANT design, Lorenz Schott and Michael Leßmöllmann – 3rd Prize Winner
Much like the majority of garden furniture is aesthetically offensive so to are the majority of “indoor gardening systems” functional but not attractive. VEGRACK by Hamburg based VAKANT design provides evidence that they can be. While having not managed to entirely free itself from the industrial, almost clinical, optic that dominates the genre, VEGRACK is a pleasantly domestic construction which makes intelligent use of LED lighting and a responsive water supply system. But perhaps most importantly, with its well thought through form VEGRACK is as space saving as it is practical.
More information: www.vakant-design.com
Arko by Aditya Khutale – Public Prize Winner
Moulded from Corian – a proprietary product from Dupont – Arko by Ahmedabad based Aditya Khutale is a stool, side table and reliable companion in the garden, on the balcony or indeed indoors. Thanks to the slightly pinched form numerous Arkos can be arranged in a number of unusual configurations and thus allow for a wider range of sitting options than “standard” stools. In addition Arko is stackable and because it is made from Corian extremely durable and resistant.
More information: www.behance.net/AdityaKhutale
Water Carafes by maud-design, Maud van Deursen – Special Recognition
As we will never tire of repeating, contemporary Dutch design, especially that originating in Eindhoven, is largely based on developing concepts rather than products. If a product arises, great, if not, also great. Developed as part of her Bachelor project at Design Academy Eindhoven Maud van Deursen’s Water Carafes began with the fact that Dutch tap water is of higher quality than bottled water, yet a lot less popular, and moved on to develop four carafes each with the shape of a typical Dutch water storage tower. Conceived with the idea of highlighting the quality of Dutch water and so encouraging consumption of such, each carafe also features a different “pouring” mechanism and thus are as much playful conversation pieces as functional, everyday objects.
More information: maud-design.nl
Cumulus by Stefanie Rittler, Nadine Kesting-Jimenez and Jordi Iranzo Garcia – Nominated
According to Stefanie, Nadine and Jordi a cloud is a parasite in the sky. Arguably unnecessarily harsh; but, certainly true in the respect that a cloud can disrupt, control and even improve the local atmosphere. Cumulus is a parasite for urban spaces and a parasite for indoor spaces. We sadly haven’t tried it ourselves however see no reason to doubt the designers’ claims that within the elasticated structure the disrupted visual and aural reception creates a sense of remoteness from the surrounding environment.
Grid Tischserie by Manuel Welsky Design Studio – Nominated
As the Vitra Design Museum’s exhibition “The Essence of Things” so elegantly taught us, reduction in design is not just a question of form but can also be achieved through, for example, dissolution or transparency. Concepts delightfully exemplified by the Grid tables collection by Manuel Welsky Design Studio. Crafted from sheet steel and iron rods the Grid tables positively vanish into the background and thus give a feeling of space in even the most cramped location, be that balcony, terrace or contemporary living room. Available in range of sizes, heights and forms the Grid tables can be combined to create a landscape suitable to your needs.
More information: www.welsky.net
Halo by Geoffroy Gillant – Nominated
Despite the relative banality of the product the humble bird table regularly inspires designers to produce remarkable objects. Genuinely more a sculptural object than a product, Halo by London based designer Geoffroy Gillant is a bird feeding station which combines steel tube, terracotta and wood in an object which although leaning heavily towards constructivism retains an easy contemporary accessibility.
More information: www.geoffroygillant.com
Havina by Samuli Helavuo – Nominated
Reinterpreting the sunshade Havina by Samuli Helavuo is conceived as a modular system which is not only easily transportable, but which adds an aural dimension to the outdoor experience. The individual sections of Havina come packed in canvas sacks, sacks which can subsequently be filled with discarded clothing to create cushions. The outer walls of Havina can be hung left or right, together or staggered and are double layered and thus rustle gently in the breeze, and so contribute a natural, relaxing background tone to your picnic or afternoon nap.
More information: www.helavuo.com
Hittl by Marianna Carazzai – Nominated
Despite digitalisation children remain essentially analogue, and for all tactile and imaginative beings. They want to build things, be they real or imaginary. Responding to these needs Hittl by Marianna Carazzai is a playhouse specially designed to be constructed by small hands – with help from larger hands – and which once constructed provides a safe environment for kids to be kids.
Josefine by Nadine Kümmel – Nominated
Much like a hippo is an unwieldy beast on land but a graceful creature in the water, so to are sun loungers great …. until you no longer want to lounge. Then they are just plain awkward and uncomfortable. Not so Josefine by Nadine Kümmel which can be effortlessly transformed from a “classic” lounger for one into a seat/table/bench combo suitable for use by several people at once.
More information: nadinekuemmel.de
kok flot by Alina Kirsch and Anna Mühleiß – Nominated
Now that those t**** merchants who peddled the myth of urban nomadicity have moved on to fantasies new, we can all relax again around objects that are mobile: such as the cooking trolley kok flot by Alina Kirsch and Anna Mühleiß. Presenting a post-industrial aesthetic kok flot features not only an inbuilt camping stove but also storage space for all those bits and bobs and ingredients one needs for simple outdoor cooking. As a nice additional touch the storage units and preparation surfaces can be moved, positioned and ordered as required meaning kok flot is reactive to your needs rather than you having to adapt to its structure.
Plastic bags and chair by Natalia Winnicka – Nominated
As we all know the answer to the problem of plastic waste is less reliance on plastic. And as we all also know, without political intervention that will take generations. And so what to do with the waste plastic? One option is weaving strands of plastic, a process which produces a very robust, hard-wearing and durable material which is currently widely used for bags, waster paper bins and the like. Warsaw born, Barcelona based architect Natalia Winnicka has expanded the scope of the material, and demonstrated its resilience, with a low seater chair which combines neatly formed steel tube with woven plastic. And nothing else. No glue and so no extra environmental impact. Although having checked out Natalia’s website we must admit to being more excited about the woven plastic hammock than the chair….
More information: www.intocolors.wordpress.com
Spruce by Eduard Zakharov – Nominated
The most effective contrast is that which isn’t obvious. Combining wood and concrete in furniture objects isn’t uncommon; combining wood and concrete in furniture with the finesse and matter of factness Eduard Zakharov has achieved with his table spruce is uncommon. For us the secret to the easy harmony of the object is that fact the wood dominates the design and so the perception of the piece. Only later do you realise the table top is concrete, and by that time you’ve become so enamoured in its well proportioned construction that the concrete table top is the most obvious thing in the world. In a way you can’t imagine it with any other top.
More information: eduardzakharov.com
Tool Stool by Syvain DeBellis – Nominated
Technically Tool Stool should be called Spade Stool. But that sadly scans less well. Inspired by traditional spade assembly Tool Stool by Syvain DeBellis features a pressed sheet steel seat and three legs cut from salvaged spade handles. An endearingly brutalist piece of work Tool Stool is as simple an object as it is obvious, yet one which stands as a self-confident, independent object in a world of lethargic stereotypes.
More information: www.sylvaindebellis.com