smow blog compact: Ateliers J&J – Collection 01 Evolution & Collection 02

I want to make the most simple furniture possible“, so described Jean Angelats a.k.a Ateliers J&J his intentions in our recent interview.

Intentions he more than underscores with the new objects in Ateliers J&J’s 01 Evolution & 02 collections.

Now we know there are cynics out there who will be of the opinion that given the acres of column space we’ve given Ateliers J&J of late it was always certain that we would like the new collection regardless of what it contained.

OK. We understand that. We ourselves are so cynical we’re even cynical about our own cynicism.

However, to argue such forgets the rather important point that we don’t like one trick ponies. Those who develop a “signature style” and stay with it, regardless of object, project or context.

Same material, same basic principle is fine, but there must be development over time, new ideas explored, new problems approached, new stylistic and aesthetic accents tried.

And Ateliers J&J have done that. And, no, it wasn’t certain that they would.

On the one hand there is the upholstery, be that the Kvadrat fabrics, high-quality leather or Christian Lacroix patterns through Designers Guild. Quite aside from providing a delightful contrast to the simple, unpretentious nature of the steel tube frames, the cushioning and covers add another dimension and create products with a completely different character.

Then there are the new form languages and aesthetic directions. The two level coffee table/sofa table is one of the highlights of the collection for us, a simple idea excellently executed and creating a product that has the potential to serve a host of functional, aesthetic and spatial roles in any living room. In contrast to the easy universality of the coffee/side table the new rocking chair is a little more contentious – and no, not just account of its dangerously Art Deco styling. The dimensions and angles are such that we can’t imagine everyone will be able to find a comfortable seating position; it’s quite an unforgiving object, once you find your position the seating experience is very enjoyable. It’s just finding that seating position. We think the reason is because it rocks and thus your sense of comfort changes, as opposed to a standard, static arm chair where one’s sense of comfort is equally static. Maybe the solution is some form of individual adjustment mechanism or slightly longer/shorter boards. Or prolonged use.

The absolute highlight of the collection for us however is the lighting rack: two steel bars onto which can be hung 1, 2, 3 or more lamps in addition to shelving/storage elements, hooks, anything you want really. All objects can be removed and repositioned as required. Charming, simple, functional, adaptable, unobtrusive and suitable for any room and any situation, the lighting rack is everything you could want in piece of furniture. Just a delight.

Elsewhere we were very taken with the new simple metal and wood chairs, and by their equally simple price, by the new sofa, admittedly not an object we can imagine you’d want to spend an evening on relaxing after a hard day at the office, but as a day bed sofa for occasional use at home and/or home office or alternatively in a reception area, hotel lobby, shop or bar, absolutely perfect, while the Suspended Desk from the first collection continues to impress with its painfully obvious construction system.

That fact was certain, and always will be.

Full details on Atelier J&J can be found at

A few impressions:

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