Meike Langer Blanche Salone Satellite Milan 2014
April 17th, 2014 by smow

One of the stand out objects for us in the Young Perspectives exhibition shown in Boffi’s Cologne flagship store during Cologne Design Week 2014 was the clothes stand Blanche by Frankfurt based Meike Langer.

And so it was a real joy not only to be reacquainted with Blanche in Milan, but to see Blanche’s new shoes. Or more precisely put, new foot.

Crafted from ash and steel tubing Blanche has an abstract trombone feel about it and is, in many ways, a refinement of the excellent Beaugars seat-cum-clothes stand that Meike presented as part of the 2011 d3 design talents exhibition at IMM Cologne. Whereas the base of Blanche’s steel component was simply laid on top of a wooden base at Young Perspective, Meike has now inverted the foot making the ash the dominant element and in doing so created a much more optically pleasing structure that gives Blanche a touch more grace than she previously had.

Sentiments that could also be applied to All Wood Stool by Meike Langer’s Milan standmate Karoline Fesser.

When premièred at Objects and the factory at Cologne Design Week 2014, All Wood Stool was a relatively quadratic beast, resembling something hewn from a metal girder. A form that fitted perfectly with the theme of Objects and the factory: Objects and factories.

Post-Cologne Karoline has rounded the design to create a much more subtle, sympathetic and for all symmetric object that impresses through its mix of handwork and technical proficiency.

In addition to the All Wooden Stool and Blanche, Meike and Karoline presented a selection of new works including Emplie, a delightful wood/steel modular storage system by Meike Langer and Tête-à-Tête by Karoline Fesser, an ingenious system that combines bowl and cover in one practical and aesthetically pleasing object.

More details on the designers and their works can be found at and/or

A few impressions from Milan

Posted in Designer, Exhibitions and Shows, Fuorisalone, Fuorisalone Milan Design Week, Milan Design Week, Product, smow in Milan Tagged with: , , , ,

Passagen Cologne 2014 Young Persepectives at Boffi Köln Woodware Sarah Böttger
January 27th, 2014 by smow

During the 2014 Passagen design festival the Cologne flagship store of Italian kitchen and bathroom manufacturer Boffi presented an exhibition of objects by six young(ish) designers.

And no we’re not being deliberately provocative or derogative with our (ish). We know a couple of the designers involved. And know that they would admit they’re not the youngest cats in the park any more.

Presented under the title “Young Perspectives” and curated by the Cologne based “Design Services Agency” Beyer Roth Weis, the exhibition showcased objects that augmented, extended and generally complimented the Boffi collection.

And while we fully accept and understand that Young Perspectives wasn’t a beauty pageant, we were especially taken with Breadpit by Florian Hauswirth and the clothes stand Blanche by Frankfurt based Meike Langer.

Constructed from wood and linen, and looking a little bit like E.T. wrapped up in a blanket, Breadpit is a bread bin conceived with the aim of ensuring an optimal environment for bread storage. The linen hood is held in place by wooden cage and can either be peeled slowly backwards to allow slicing or the complete cover can be removed to allow the bread to be sliced and/or for serving the bread in context of, for example, a buffet. And despite having something of an unmistakable medieval look about – we can well imagine such an object gracing the table of some nobleman’s house – Breadpit is very much a contemporary object.

Although displayed in a Boffi bathroom, Blanche by Meike Langer was conceived for use where required, be that bedroom, hall, spare room or indeed bathroom. Boffi or otherwise. Comprising a wooden and a copper element Blanche not only presents two materials, but two functionalities: whereas the wooden element can used for “conventionally” hanging things on/over/from the thinner, more elegant, copper element can additionally be “dressed” with, for examples, jackets, blouses, shirts etc…

Elsewhere Florian Schmid presented his Shades bath towels, Sarah Böttger her Woodware storage boxes, Stephanie Jasny the bar wagon “Servant” and Mark Braun the Podium collection – a quartet of wood and stone objects who leave the decision as to their functionality up to the end user.

Quite aside from the objects a real highlight of Young Perspectives for us was that it beautifully illustrated that flagship stores don’t have to just put on exhibitions of their own products during a design week. They can invite external projects to share their space and so present their customers with fresh, new, ideas and inspiration.

We hope more manufacturers follow Boffi’s example.

A few impressions:

Posted in Designer, Exhibitions and Shows, imm cologne, Passagen Cologne, Product Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,

Beaugars  by Meike Langer, part of the IMM Cologne d3 Contest
January 21st, 2011 by smow

As with all furniture trade fairs IMM annually gives part of the floor space over to young, up and coming, designers.

In three themed sections “d3 Design Talents” offers space for design colleges – d3 Schools – those further on the way to establishing themselves – d3 Professionals – and a competition – d3 Contest.

“Space” is however not only a relative term – but one that cannot be defined by physical measurements.

As we learned on the journey to Congress-Centrum Ost!

d3 Design Talents : d3 Contest

Beaugars  by Meike Langer, part of the IMM Cologne d3 Contest

Beaugars by Meike Langer, part of the IMM Cologne d3 Contest. (In the background Home Traveller by Anne Lorenz)

Featuring the works of some 28 design studios from 9 nations, the 2011 d3 Contest was, for us, a little weaker than last years – but that’s obviously just our subjective opinion and no negative reflection on the competing works.

In addition to old friends such as Tafelstukken by Daphna and Laurens or Panel by Yi-Cong Lu the one object that did catch our attention was Beaugars by Meike Langer.

A clothes rack cum stool cum side table Beaugars is a similar concept to Kirin by Dörte Ahlgrimm and Kathrin Scheidt – just with a few extra features that make it, for us, the more interesting product.

d3 Design Talents : d3 Schools

Equally “interesting”  – though regrettably in the negative sense – was the treatment of the colleges taking part in d3 Schools 2011.

More reminiscent of some especially grotesque Bushtucker challenge from “I’m a celebrity …” than something anyone would undertake voluntarily, the path to d3 Schools took the courage traveller to the outer reaches of the Köln Messe complex.

And to a hall which looked as if it had been mothballed in the late1980s and then re-opened especially for the students.

Excellent lighting though. So old it’s almost modern….

We know the colleges don’t exactly help themselves by insisting on building their stands as an abstract interpretation of their underlying design philosophy rather than simply saying “Here’s our stuff – ain’t it good!”

But that’s no reason to banish them so far away from the visitors.

However, those who did pack some sandwiches and braved the journey to d3 Schools were treated to a few very worthwhile projects.

Franzel by Sebastian Schneider - the sort of thing that tickles our goat!

Franzel by Sebastian Schneider - the sort of thing that tickles our goat!

In particular Sebastian Schneider from the Akademie Gestaltung im Handwerk Münster caught our attention with his garden table and bench combination “Franzel” – or better put caught our attention with his delightful re-working of the “traditional” folding legs for his garden and table combination “Franzel”

In addition we were very, very  taken with Play – a versatile shelf and storage system by Adisa Vatres from the Academy of Fine Arts Sarajevo. The other item on the Sarajevo stand that caught our attention was Mantic by Marina Busic. But more on that – in the context of why it caught our attention –  later

We just hope that enough visitors saw it all to have made it worth the colleges trouble exhibiting.

And if not – we hope the colleges give IMM a wide berth next year as protest.

Or at least demand free places.

For there can be no acceptable excuse for the decision to place them in such a forlorn and desolate location.

It was insulting.

Especially when one saw the utter brilliance and unbeatable quality that was on display in the location that d3 Schools used to occupy.

But then we all know who ultimately chooses the piper’s tune….

d3 Design Talents: d3Professionals

Much more positive was the array of young talent that had gathered under the umbrella of d3 Professionals.

But more, much more, on them later.

All in all despite a few genuine high points and some wonderful new discoveries, d3 Design Talents 2011 was, for us, ruined by the treatment of d3 Schools.

Because it forces us to question how seriously the IMM organisers actually take d3 Design Talents.

And by extrapolation how much more important profit margins are than creativity, innovation and sustainability.

d3 Design Talents d3 Schools @ IMM Cologne. Genius lighting!

d3 Design Talents d3 Schools @ IMM Cologne. Genius lighting!

Posted in design talents, Exhibitions and Shows, imm cologne Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,