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Posts Tagged ‘furniture’

#Stockholm Furniture Fair 2010: Reporters required

February 5th, 2010

This coming Tuesday – 09 Feb – sees the opening of one of our favourite furniture events. The Stockholm Furniture Fair.

Sadly on account of events happening elsewhere in Europe next week – watch this space – we now cannot make it to Stockholm.

And so an appeal: Is anyone going to the Stockholm Furniture Fair who can send us a few photos and a brief report on how you found it?

Or do you live in Stockholm and would you like to visit the Fair.

We know it’s cheeky, but if you can help dig us out of a fairly large hole, do please get in touch.

Thank you.

Stockholm Furniture Fair

Stockholm Furniture Fair

Barcelona Chair by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

July 10th, 2009

The so called “Barcelona Chair” by German architect and designer Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is without question one of the true classics of 20th century furniture design.  And one of the most copied.

On the 80th anniversary of its first public appearance during the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929, materials scientist Prof. Friederike Deuerler and Art Historian Prof. Gerda Breuer have curated an exhibition for the Galerie im Kolkmannhaus at the University of Wuppertal.

“From prototype to cult object – The Barcelona Chair from Ludwig Mies van der Rohe” is one the hand a sober scientific examination of the chair, the design process and the production process employed on the “original”; and on the other an examination of the question what is “original” in terms of furniture design.
A topic very close to our hearts, as you know.

In addition to the showing prototypes, early examples – including possibly articles displayed in Barcelona – the exhibition also shows modern interpretations, including a stackable plastic version.

For all those in, near or planning being in or near Wuppertal the exhibition runs at the Galerie im Kolkmannhaus, Hofaue 51-55, 42103 Wuppertal until August 23. More information can be found on the website.


Prof. Friederike Deuerlern and Prof. Gerda Breuer in two examples of the Barcelona Chair by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

new at smow: Thonet outdoor

July 9th, 2009

Although the rumour persists that we only travel to trade fairs and exhibitions so that we can impress people in bars with phrases such as “Last week in New York…” or “For me the real beauty of Milan is…“, in truth we do do a little work.

And the fruits of that work can be seen, for example, in the ever expanding (smow)collection.

And punctually to the start of The Ashes season we can now offer the extended Thonet outdoor range; quite possibly the most stylish furniture for sitting in the garden and listening to TMS or follow Aggers on Twitter.

The Thonet S 43, for example, is Mart Stam’s 1931 classic in a weather-proof teak veneered beach finish, and  a wonderful location in which to sit back on a summers afternoon with a good book and well tuned radio. Set it beside the S 1043 table and you not only have a wonderful visual symmetry, but a place to rest your sandwiches and lemonade between overs.

And because we all know the summer can’t last for ever, smow also stock the outrageously stylish and cheeky Thonet S 333 sledge.

You can find more information on the Thonet Outdoor collection at Thonet, and the complete range can be purchased through

S43 and S1043from Thonet

S43 and S1043 from Thonet

TED Talks: The design genius of Charles + Ray Eames

July 7th, 2009

If we’re honest we’ve never understood TED … and probably never will.

Which is cool.

And regradless of, and in how far, we comprehend why TED exists, they do offer some wonderful short films and lectures… and the newly released 2007 talk by Eames Demetrios, grandson of Charles and Ray Eames, is no exception.

Occasionaly it wanders into the realms of “whatever!”, but on the whole is a lovely little introduction to Charles and Ray Eames and for all their philosophy and approach to design.

new at smow: USM Haller for beginners

July 6th, 2009
USM Haller sideboard

USM Haller sideboard

System USM Haller is a storage and display system for all. We know that most people only come across USM Haller units in lawyers and accountants offices, doctors surgeries or museums … but that is, if you will, a historical relic based on the traditional distribution system.

The times my have changed but system USM Haller remains the reliable, versatile and practical system it has always been.

Many new customers, however, have a problem understanding what is and is not possible with USM Haller.

And while we at smow have the official USM configuration software – our customers don’t.

Therefore, to try to smooth the process a little and make USM Haller more accessible and easier to understand, the (smow)techies have designed an easy to use guide to the basics of USM Haller.

At USM Independent you will find a “fail-proof” overview of which elements are available in which sizes, as well as a clever interactive colour guide and a description of some “standard” configurations.

USM Haller as seen at DMY Berlin

USM Haller as seen at DMY Berlin

The beauty of USM Haller, however, is that you don’t need to accept “standard” you are free to decide how your unit is designed … as well as how you extend and adapt it over the years.

For all who are new to USM Haller the smow USM Independent is the perfect starting point for experimenting and exploring.

And once you have an idea of what you need, simply contact us at smow with details of your requirements and our experienced USM team will prepare a detailed offer.

Further images of system USM Haller in action can be found in the (smow)flickr gallery.

smow design spring Top 5: Chairs

June 30th, 2009

The Top 5 chairs from the smow design spring. In no particular order.

Foldable cardboard chair by Stuart Miller at deignersblock, Milan

Foldable cardboard chair by Stuart Miller at deignersblock, Milan

We lie: there is a slight order. First up is our favourite chair from the smow design spring: Stuart Miller’s unnamed foldable cardboard chair from the designersblock showcase in Milan. Over the course of the smow design spring we didn’t see any thing that even came to close to capturing Stuart’s simple, practical and comfortable chair. We’ve sadly lost sight of the project a little, and lack the requisite degree in Information Technology to navigate Glasgow Caledonian University Website, If any one knows anything please let us know!! Unnamed foldable carboard chair. Quality seating instrument!

And as of now … In no particular order.

Duct Tape Chair by Jason Miller

Duct Tape Chair by Jason Miller

Duct Tape Chair by Jason Miller. In our original post from the floor of the ICFF press room we mentioned the similarity between Jason Miller’s Duct chair and Easy by Klausner and Carpenter for Established and Sons. After long and careful consideration, however, we decide to include Duct chair in our tip five. A confident and wonderfully comfortable chair, Duct Chair is also not only aesthetically pleasing but engages the user and so transforms from a passive chair into active element of a room. Duct Tape Chair. Quality seating instrument!

404 H by Stefan Dietz for Thonet

404 H by Stefan Dietz for Thonet

404 H by Stefan Dietz for Thonet. In our world bar stools count as chairs, mainly because we spend a lot of time on bar stools – having as we do a raised breakfast bar in the kitchen of the (smow)flat. For Thonet Stefan Dietz has created in 404 H a wonderful addition to one of the most tradition-conscious German design houses. In comparison to some other long established design houses, for Thonet tradition if more than just marketing rights tio the name of a long since deceased designer; rather for Thonet tradition means continuing the tradition that made that designer successful and famous – and in the case of Michael Thonet that means innovation.404 H. Quality seating instrument!

And uncomplicated, high quality wooden furniture.

Such as the 404 H.

Vegetal by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Vitra in Milan

Vegetal by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Vitra in Milan

Vegetal by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Vitra.  Even before the start of the Milan design week Vegetal had already established itself as one of the stars. And it didn’t let us down. Yes it looks like a cheap garden chair, yes it reminds one of Chair One by Konstantin Grcic, but no it is neither of these things. The fruit of four years labour by our favourite porcupine and fox, Vegetal is a wonderful, stable, comfortable and versatile chair perfect for indoor and out. And we’re fairly certain unbreakable. Vegetal. Quality seating instrument!

Bansko Bo lounger chair and Ottoman by Design Apparat

Bansko Bo lounger chair and Ottoman by Design Apparat

Bansko Bo by Design Apparat. Without question one of the finest proper loungers we saw this spring, and that from one of the best new design studios from the smow design spring. We live in Leipzig, we don’t like nOSTalgia, we do like many elements of the design style that developed in Eastern Europe  during the decades of iron curtains, Warsaw pacts and ICBMs. Bansko Bo is a wonderful new design, but one that has its roots unmistakably in the Bulgaria of the 1970s. Looks good, works and will probably last longer than the regime of Todor Zhivkov. Bansko Bo. Quality seating instrument!

smow design spring Top 5: Lamps

June 24th, 2009
Kete by David Turnbridge

Kete by David Turnbridge

The Top 5 Lamps from the smow design spring. In no particular order.

Kete by David Turnbridge. One of the first lamps we saw in Milan, and probably that which left the greatest impression on us. And not merely on account of its size. For us the principle beauty of Kete is the atmosphere it can create in a room with it 7W LED element. And despite their overproprtionality Kete doesn’t domiante the room. Honest.  Kete. Anything but dull.


Beachballs by TOBYhouse at designersblock, Milan

Beachballs by TOBYhouse at designersblock, Milan

Beach Ball Lamps by TOBYhouse. When we first saw Beach Ball Lamps we thought they were made from shaped aluminium. So stable and rigid are they. Only after entering into converstaion with designer Toby Sanders did we discover that they are real beach balls. And that was when the product became magic. That was the moment when we realised and appreciated just what a product we had before us. And that was the moment when we started to investiagte more carefully. Through a specialy developed process TOBYhouse coat the inside of the balls with a thin polyeurethene coat, before cutting the bottom open and rounding the edges. And with it’s brillant white interior Beach Ball Lamps offers an excellent illumination. Beach Balls Lamps. Anything but dull.


Flatline by Jason Brugges for Established and Sons

Flatline by Jason Brugges for Established and Sons

Flatliner by Jason Bruge for Established and Sons. We don’t own an iPod which is probably why we took a  couple of minutes to get the hang of the control system. Had it been based on an MD player we would have got the hang of it much quicker. However, once up and running we were in awe of Jason Bruge’s genial dimming system. And the quality of the illumination generated is every bit as convincing. If you don’t know what were talking about, check out our (smow)tube video. Flatliner. Anything but dull.


Fiss Family by My Own Super Studio

Fiss Family by My Own Super Studio

Fiss Family by myownsuperstudio. DMY in Berlin was full of lamps. We’re not exactly sure why but we’re fairly certain it had something to do with students being set lamp design as part of their final year project. A sort of conspiracy among product and industrial design lecturers to make earth shine more brightly than the sun. Fiss Family by Portugese outfit myownsuperstudio wouldn’t have been much help in such a plot, but was without doubt one of the finest lamp ranges we saw this spring. For us the beauty lies in the fact that the light flows downwards; consequently, they don’t produce the brightest illumination, but that which they do produce is amongst the softest we saw this spring and certainly the best intended for a living room or office when you want a gentle background light or constant, atmospheric illumination. Fiss Family. Anything but dull.


Spin by Tom Dixon

Spin by Tom Dixon

Spin by Tom Dixon. Not a lamp in the popular, modern electrified sense. But then were not sticklers for convention. Correctly used candles can offer a better, more positive illuminaton than their modern cousins. The trick is the “correctly used” part. With Spin Tom Dixon offers a wonderfully stylish opportunity not only to illuminate a space as we want it, but also to change the illumination as and when required. Spin. Anything but dull.

And a special mention goes to moooi for their Horse Lamp.

smow design spring Top 5: Tables

June 23rd, 2009

Lets get the tricky one out the way first. The Top 5 Tables from the smow design spring. In no particular order.

Liesmichl by Nils Holger Moormann for Moormann

Liesmichl by Nils Holger Moormann for Moormann

Liesmichl by Nils Holger Moormann for Moormann.
If there’s one thing Moormann excel at it’s producing book friendly furniture. From the outrageous Bookinist over the classically overtoned Bookstabler and onto the book-friendly desk Kant, the Allgauer always seem to have readers at the forefront of their thoughts. And Liesmichl is no exception; space for books your going to read, a place to safely lay the book you are reading when you need/want a break, and a place for your drink and snacks. And if your not convinced check out Nils Holger Moorman on (smow)tube. Liesmichl. Top Table.

Tints by Jason Miller

Tints by Jason Miller

Tints by Jason Miller.
As we were young scallywags causing mayhem and heartbreak wherever we got the chance, sweeties shone in a wonderfully opaque way. It may have been the memory of those care-free days that first drew our eye to Jason Millers Tints. Or it may have been the gorgeous way the legs fit into the frame, the optic caused by the wood/glass combination. Or it may have been Jake’s glasses. Regardless, however, of “why” we are glad we were drawn to Tints. Beautifully crafted, familiar and inviting in their styling and fresh in their design Tints are truly a table range that can and will provide pleasure in a number of setting. Tints. Top Table.

Flip by Alexander Seifried for Richard Lampert

Flip by Alexander Seifried for Richard Lampert

Flip by Alexander Seifried for Richard Lampert.
If you were to hold us, upside down, over the edge of our balcony by our ankles, we would probably admit that Flip table standing in the corner of our balcony is just a few bits of metal welded together.
But then so is a 1954 Corvette Convertible, Blue Flame Six
With it’s wonderfully timeless elegance, smooth action and universal functionality Flip is a wonderful table for all who have limited space, know how to enjoy the space and don’t want to compromise when it comes to high-quality furniture. Flip. Top Table.

Adenike by .

Adenike by Bao-Nghi Droste

Adenike by Bao-Nghi Droste
Admittedly less of a table, and more of an independent work station, Adenike nevertheless makes it into our Top Five Tables. Beautifully crafted, functional, practical and aesthetically charming Adenike is a product that truly achieves the aim the designer set themselves. And despite it’s intended function as a meeting point, we know that if we had one here in our Lower-East Plagwitz Village office we would spend a good deal reading the paper on it, sleeping on it and using it as a refuge from the daily chores. Adenike. Top Table.

ETR by Charles and Ray Eames from Vitra

ETR by Charles and Ray Eames from Vitra

ETR – Elliptical Table Rod Base by Charles and Ray Eames from Vitra
As if proof were needed that only new design can be good. In Milan we saw the Eamse’s ETR for the first time “live”, as it were, and were truly blown away by it. There is something about the height of the table – or possibly the height to length ratio – that gives the ETR a regency that few other pieces of furniture can ever hope to reach. Laissez fe surf-styling combined with Bauhaus bent steel elegance. Gorgeous. ETR. Top Table.

And a special mention goes to Table Fights. Hasta La Vista

smow design spring: aufgetischt

June 21st, 2009
The NYC Post Police - tailed our every move and word

The NYC Post Police - tailed our every move and word

Your (smow)blog team didn’t become the internationally feared and monitored crew we are simply because we travel the world fearlessly attending opening night parties.
Oh no! We achieved our notoriety on account of our excellent network of contacts among designers, producers, critics and delivery drivers. Nothing but nothing passes us by.

As observant readers may have noticed, during our visit to the ICFF we did spend quite a lot of time complaining about the lack of tables in the press room.

And now we must admit that during ICFF we did solve the riddle.
Magis had of course delivered tables for the press room.

Piggyback by for agis

Piggyback by Thomas Heatherwick for Magis

In addition to supplying Chair First by Stefano Giovannoni Magis also supplied their wonderful Piggyback tables by Thomas Heatherwick.

Magis are serious and reliable partner, why would they not supply tables?

Only the Piggyback tables became damaged during set-up and spent the show stowed in a store room deep in the bowels of the Javits Centre.

And no-one from the ICFF organisation sought to seek replacements.

Behind the scenes there was a lot of talk of unions and “official processes”, but for us the fact of the missing press room tables summed up ICFF beautifully and underlines why for us it was the weakest and worst organised of the events we attended as part of the smow design spring.

Which isn’t to be interpreted as direct criticism of those who are responsible for the press work, they are also merely a partner of the organiser, and it is they who carry ultimate responsible for the shoddiness: Along with the Javits Center management.

Tints by Jason Miller - one of the true stars of ICFF 2009

Tints by Jason Miller - one of the true stars of ICFF 2009

The word on the street in New York was that next year ICFF may do away with the press room all together, which is truly a sad indictment on the show and how seriously it is taken. In addition to the established critics amongst the traditional media – alone the vicinity to the New York Times must, must count – America is home to some excellent design blogs, we name alone Core 77 and design milk as two that we follow and read with interest and which amuse and entertain.

When we think of, for example, Milan where from early morning to late evening texts are written, interviews carried out, pictures edited and videos cut in a dozen languages. And then New York where all too often we sat alone on the floor, or when we had company it was inevitably executives from some B2B publication deciding who to sell advertising space to.

Tablefights  - we know just how they feel

Tablefights - we know just how they feel

Instead of further discouraging reports the ICFF should be actively recruiting those who can bring the products to the masses and so encourage other producers to book space. Or should that ugly, dirty and unkempt space at the back of the hall grow even larger?

We will be back in New York next year, not least because we  want to kick Ami timber at the 2010 Table Fights Championships – if we attend ICFF, however, remains to be seen.

We made a few fantastic discoveries at ICFF not least Jason Miller, Blu Dot and Iglooplay; three discoveries that more or less justified the air fares. But if that alone is worth struggling with a barely functioning Internet and inadequate facilities to promote an event run by an organisation who lack the ability to place two tables is a room – and that despite having rented some 145,000 net square feet to furniture producers – that remains to be seen.