Moooi Nut Chair Marcel Wanders Prop Light Bertjan Pot
April 11th, 2014 by smow

Preparing for his solo exhibition “Pinned Up at the Stedelijk, 25 years of design” clearly helped Marcel Wanders tackle, and defeat, his inner demons.

We can find no other explanation for the transformation from the darkness of Moooi’s 2013 Milan show to the lighter, happier, untroubled, feel of 2014’s.

The formats were and are essentially the same, both based around room contexts backdropped by large format photos of heavily stylised spaces, but whereas last year’s presentation was a menacing neo-sadistic Wes Anderson battles Tim Burton fantasy hell; this year there was free sorbet on offer on the press day.

In two flavours: pink grapefruit or lemon.

The new Moooi products also exude a lighter, more accessible, less troubled, aesthetic.

And a new construction approach: carpentry.

Something that until now simply wasn’t part of the Moooi programme, and which they have realised with an aplomb we honestly wouldn’t have expected.

Not because Moooi can’t do quality or craft, but because in recent years the feel of the collection has been going ever more towards extroverted extremes, to forms, compositions and imagery that have challenged concepts of good taste.

The antithesis if you will of nicely turned chair legs and rounded table edges.

And then came Pinned Up………..

Among the new products the highlight for us was the Zio family of armchair, footstool, sideboard and low table by Marcel Wanders. And principally the sideboard.

An object that doesn’t do anything especially new, when all is said and done it’s a standard mid-60s wood sideboard; however, it does what it does with a wonderful degree of clarity and a self-controlled vanity that is somehow far removed from the its more formal forefathers.

It may be meant ironically. We don’t know. We don’t care. We like it.

Elsewhere the new Taffeta sofa and chair from Alvin Tjitrowirjo caught the attention with their almost colonial charm, the Nut chairs and footstool by Marcel Wanders bring a genuinely fresh form to the over-saturated world of moulded plywood chairs, and so prove that in the furniture world a market is never so over-saturated that one more object can’t be squeezed in, while the Prop Lamps from Bertjan Pot bring the glamour of the stage dressing room to the living room. In a surprisingly incognito fashion one must add for such big, brash objects. And they probably also represented the most theatrical aspect of the Moooi 2014 presentation.

A few impressions.

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

Marcel Wanders Pinned Up at the Stedelijk 25 years of design
February 1st, 2014 by smow

By way of an addendum to our “5 New Design Exhibitions for February 2014” post…. The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam is currently showing “Pinned Up at the Stedelijk, 25 years of design”, the first major retrospective of the work of Dutch designer Marcel Wanders.

Presenting over 400 objects the exhibition promises to cover Marcel Wanders’ complete career since the release of the Set Up Shades lamp in 1989 and in doing so present a chance to better understand the man, his thinking and his works.

In addition to established Wanders’ classics such as the Egg Vase, Lace Table, New Antiques furniture collection and of course his “breakthrough” Knotted Chair from 1996, the exhibition will also present newer works, including the first public viewing of “The Virtual Interiors”, a series of seven fantasy interiors developed by Wanders and presented as digital films.

All we can say is, having witnessed the sensually unbearable Moooi exhibition at Milan 2013, we can’t wait to experience how seven Marcel Wanders’ fantasy landscapes mess with our minds.

In addition to Marcel Wanders’ own work a section of the exhibition has been given over to an exploration of his role as Art Director of Moooi, a company which he of course co-founded and which for us is probably the most interesting aspect of Marcel Wanders’ output. Representing as it does decisions about what good contemporary design is rather than a product formed in cooperation with a producer who invariably has their own manifesto and criteria.

Since his early days as one of those young designers who helped free “Dutch Design” from the shackles of blue and white pottery, bicycles and Gerrit T. Rietveld, Marcel Wanders has been an important figure, not least through his role with and within design collective droog. And while, for us, his work over the years has lost some of the panache and uncontrolled grace of his early projects he remains a talent you can’t ignore. Or at least one who you’d be foolish to ignore.

In that sense, Marcel Wanders – Pinned Up at the Stedelijk, 25 years of design certainly sounds like an exhibition worth viewing should you be in Amsterdam.

Marcel Wanders – Pinned Up at the Stedelijk, 25 years of design runs at the Stedelijk Museum, Museumplein 10, 1071 DJ Amsterdam until Sunday June 15th 2014.

Full details can be found at

Marcel Wanders Pinned Up at the Stedelijk 25 years of design

Marcel Wanders - Pinned Up at the Stedelijk, 25 years of design

Posted in Designer, Droog, Exhibitions and Shows, Moooi, Producer, Product, smow blog compact Tagged with: , , ,

Premium delivery from smow: Idealfor USM Haller
February 8th, 2010 by julius
USM Haller being carried into the (smow)warehouse

USM Haller delivery: Eames elephants are helpful but not necessary

In the wake of our “warehouse” post we have received numerous emails along a similar vein:

“It’s OK for yous and your highly trained Eames Elephants; but how do we get our USM Haller furniture into our flat?”

The simple answer – assuming you live in Germany – is “PREMIUM delivery”

Under normal conditions the Schenker delivery crews are only allowed to deliver to the door of your building.

It’s a legal thing.

With “PREMIUM delivery”, however, for a small additional fee not only will the furniture be brought into the room where it is required; but the carrier will also take away the packing for environmentally correct disposal.

Premium delivery from smow: Idealfor USM Haller

Premium delivery from smow: Ideal for USM Haller

Although “PREMIUM delivery” is particularly intended for USM Haller deliveries, it can however be booked for all smow orders.
And while we can well imagine it maybe worthwhile for an Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman from Vitra that need to be carried up to a fourth floor flat; for a moooi Rabbitt Lamp it would be a bit exaggerated.

Currently “PREMIUM delivery” is only available for deliveries within Germany.
For deliveries outwith (smow) cannot make any guarantees that a similar service is available; but our experienced logistics team will use all their experience and contacts to make sure the delivery meets your requirements and the local conditions.

And in very rare cases the (smow)blog team will deliver the order personally; but only if the weather forecast is agreeable and you can assure us that you can bake like a Greek God/Goddess.
Full details on how (smow) deliver orders can be found on the furniture delivery page.

Posted in smow Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

Vitra Eames Elephants prepare to ambush nordic walking pensioners in Leipzig
February 2nd, 2010 by julius

The last couple of days have seen an endless stream of emails into the (smow)blog bunker asking if we are OK.

And if we’re OK, why aren’t we posting anything?

Can’t we be bothered?

Are we bored?

Have we finally be rumbled by the (smow)boss?

Far from it, the sad truth is we’ve been forced into doing some real work for change.

We know, we can’t believe it either!

(smow) ... in stock and ready to go..

(smow) … in stock and ready to go..

The combination of Christmas holidays and heavy snow throughout Europe has meant that numerous deliveries from a number of (smow)suppliers have been delayed of late.

Delayed deliveries which all arrived on Thursday.

As we arrived at (smow)HQ on Thursday morning, Vitra were already waiting with a lorry full of products from designers as diverse as Charles and Ray Eames, Maarten van Severen or Verner Panton.

Then USM Haller arrived with a lorry full of Haller tables, USM Haller sideboards and roll containers.  And as they left us to head back to Bühl, moooi arrived from Amsterdam.

Sometimes it really is like the EU car park in the (smow)yard!!!

And then with lunch barely digested Moormann, Lampert and lapalma rolled up.

Fantastic as all this was, it did of course mean that someone had to pack all the new deliveries away.

And that task befell us.

But don’t worry, we weren’t actually forced to sweat.

For such tasks we have a team of specially trained and qualified Eames Elephants; we are simply needed to coordinate the whole exercise.

USM Haller being carried by Eames Elephants into the (smow)warehouse

USM Haller being carried by Eames Elephants into the (smow)warehouse

And so we have spent the past few days directing Eiermann desk, Vitra DSR and USM Haller carrying Vitra Eames Elephants through the endless corridors of the (smow)warehouse.

But everything is now – finally – stored away and our Eames Elephants have returned to the Leipzig Ratsholz to continue helping Leipzig City Council rid the public forests of the plague of nordic walking pensioners who have taken up residence there.

Good luck! We’re counting on you!

And we are back to drinking too much coffee and searching out the finest designer furniture stories for your entertainment.

Vitra Eames Elephants prepare to ambush nordic walking pensioners in Leipzig

Vitra Eames Elephants prepare to ambush nordic walking pensioners in Leipzig

Posted in smow Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Raimond by Raimond Puts for moooi ... detail
January 27th, 2010 by julius
Raimond by Raimond Puts for moooi

Raimond by Raimond Puts for moooi


What with all the excitement about the new iSlate, we missed Australia Day yesterday.

And so wanted to use today to write a post involving words like “Sheila”, “Sheila”, “I can see the pub from here!” and “Sheila”

Then we discovered that we’d also missed the announcement of the shortlist for the 2010 Australian International Design Awards.
And that seemed a much better subject than lazy international stereotypes.

The “Architectural and Interior” products section of the 2010 Awards shortlist is, more or less, dominated by office chairs including new models from Herman Miller and Wilkhahn.

But for us the aesthetic winner is without doubt Raimond by Raimond Puts for moooi.

This was one of the first products we saw at the 2009 Saloni in Milan, and one of the best.

Not least because it is enormous.

Similarly to Richard Sapper’s Tizio lamp foro Artemide, the electricity in Raimond passes through the stainless “spring steel” structure; the various paths being then “joined” by the LEDs.

Resembling an exaggerated Bohr Atom diagram, Raimond brings a wonderful, aesthetic ambiance to every room.

If that is enough to impress the Aussies, we don’t know… but we do hope so.

The winners will be announced in Sydney on June 4 2010.


Raimond by Raimond Puts for moooi ... detail

Raimond by Raimond Puts for moooi ... detail

LED lamp Raimod by Raimond Puts for moooi ... as seen in Milan 2009

LED lamp Raimond by Raimond Puts for moooi ... as seen in Milan 2009

Posted in Awards, Designer, Producer, Product Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

Classic Trays from Vitra
November 13th, 2009 by julius

As traditional as roasted chestnuts and corked sherry, gift recommendations are what make Christmas for us.

This year, however, we start with a friendly warning.

The lead times for many of our suppliers are creeping upwards – and although we have a well stocked and bountiful warehouse; should you want to order something extra special as a gift for a loved one, and we have to order it – it’s getting tight.

The “traffic light system” in the (smow)shop provides an instant guide to availability; should you however have any queries please contact the (smow) customer service centre in advance of ordering. There a team of highly trained advisers can provide detailed information on availability and delivery times.
Unless they’ve found the Glühwein!

Below we present a selection of suggested festive gifts. Just heed our words, and order early ….

Liesmichl by Nils Holger Moormann for Moormann

Liesmichl by Nils Holger Moormann for Moormann

Liesmichl by Nils Holger Moormann for Moormann

Nils Holger Moormann’s Liesmichl is not only the ideal side table for all Bibliophiles it is also the perfect gift for all Bibliophiles. With storage space for books, an ingenious holder to ensure you don’t lose your page and a handy shelf for mince pies and sherry, Liesmichl offers everything you need to ensure a relaxed and stress-free reading experience.

Classic Trays from Vitra

Classic Trays from Vitra

Classic Trays from Vitra

That little something different for all fans of 1960s graphic art. The Vitra Design Museum have produced a wonderful range of plastic trays featuring classic designs by Alexander Girard, George Nelson and Charles & Ray Eames. From bold geometric forms over abstract an onto modernistic folk art there is something for everyone in this beautiful collection.

Rabbit Lamp by Front for moooi

Rabbit Lamp from moooi

Rabbit Lamp by Front for moooi

For all those who don’t have room for the absurdly fantastic Horse Lamp – or who suffer from Equinophobia – Front’s Rabbit Lamp is more than a touch of leporidaen charm for your home or office; it’s also a warming and atmospheric lamp perfect for desk, side-table or bedside table.

Cobb Grill

Cobb Grill

Cobb Grill

Summer may be gone – but it’ll come again. And in any case with Cobb Grill you don’t need sun, wasps and the great outdoors to barbecue – the patented design of the Cobb Grill means it can be safely and smoke free used indoors. Barbecue Goose… lovely stuff

E 14 Rattan Stool by Egon Eiermann from Lampert

E 14 Rattan Stool by Egon Eiermann from Lampert

Rattan Stool E 14 by Egon Eiermann from Lampert

For that colonial, South Sea Island feel you can’t beat Rattan furniture. And nothing says W. Somerset Maugham more than Egon Eiermann’s 1950s designs. At 42 cm high and with its concave top the E 14 is perfect as an occasional stool or as an unoccasional side table

Posted in Christmas is coming the goose is getting fat, smow Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Stone by Marcel Wanders for Kartell
August 7th, 2009 by julius
Holland. It all looks like this you know

Holland. It all looks like this you know

It’s not all hard work you know.

Just read a nice little article on dutch design portal in which Marie-Luce Bree, deputy director of the Foam Photography Museum in Amsterdam, talks about their photo project “New Greetings From”; which basically follows the tried and tested method of getting members of the public to submit photos and then using the best to create an exhibition.

Stone by Marcel Wanders for Kartell

Stone by Marcel Wanders for Kartell

In detail, “New Greetings From” requests contributors to submit photos showing their interpretation of what Holland look like, and that the image is positive.

But hey isn’t everything in Holland!

And what does Holland look like? According to Marie-Luce Bree what often matters most to people is “nature, and even cows and tulips”


And on the “New Greetings From” website, we’ve even found a few windmills.

What we’ve yet to see, however, is much in the way of Dutch furniture design.

Panton Chair by Verner Panton for Vitra

Panton Chair by Verner Panton for Vitra

Which is a shame.

For while Denmark positively gloats over it’s furniture design heritage, Holland is much more reserved.
Go to Copenhagen, Aarhus or Aalborg and you can’t move without stumbling over the works of Verner Panton, Arne Jacobsen or Hans Wegner.

Indeed, the last time we were in Copenhagen we saw so many Panton chairs everything we saw started to take on a flowing, wave form.

In Holland, however, the local appreciation of the designers is much less. And that despite the talent on offer, the presence of self-confident producers such as moooi or droog and the strong interest among Dutch people for well designed and crafted designer furniture.

Bovist by Hella Jongerius for Vitra

Bovist by Hella Jongerius for Vitra

At the end of the day original designer furniture is just as at home in Amsterdam as in Copenhagen.

So we’d like to say to the peoples of the Netherlands, take part in “New Greetings From”, but take pictures that do Hella Jongerius, Marcel Wanders or Mart Stam proud. Make your dutch designers as famous and as culturally important as the Danes there’s.

And yes it’s OK to photograph the furniture next to a windmill, if you really must.

Posted in Design Tourism, smow Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Vitra Cushions
July 29th, 2009 by julius

It’s Dumfries Show on Saturday.

That won’t mean much to the most people, but for us it is a sure sign.

Winter is coming.
We know, we know. Barely have we got use to remembering to take our sunglasses to work, buying ice-creams for lunch or waking up at 5 am because we forgot to shut the curtains – again – than the Dumfries Agricultural Society hold their annual show.
And after the Dumfries show the evenings get shorter with increasing rapidity and before you know it the ground will be brown with dying leaves.

Oh Joy!

And so the time is surely rife to start thinking about lighting for the dark months ahead. Below are a few of our suggestions, in addition to our previous favourites from the spring design shows.


FL/Y by Ferruccio Laviani for Kartell

FL/Y by Ferruccio Laviani for Kartell

In the first half of 2009 Italian producer Kartell invested a lot of marketing effort into promoting their lighting range, or The Kartellights Collection to give it its correct name. Which is no bad thing. For most Kartell is all about Philippe Starck‘s chairs, Ron Arad’s Bookworm or Philippe Starck’s chairs, and too little attention is given to their lighting collection. One of the true highlights in the collection is FL/Y by Ferruccio Laviani. Made in transparent methacrylate, the cover of FL/Y is not perfectly hemispherical but, rather, the cut-off is underneath the height of the diameter allowing it to collect the most light.  In addition, the special transparency of the material combined with the sheen of the colours bring to mind a soap bubble, iridescent with reflections of light. FL/Y by Ferruccio Laviani for Kartell is available in 9 transparent colours and opaque black and white.


Talak Lettura by Neil Poulton for Artemide

Talak Lettura by Neil Poulton for Artemide

It takes a brave producer to take what is in essence a table lamp design and scale it up to a floor version. But that is pretty much what the idea behind Talak Lettura by Neil Poulton for Artemide. At 139 cm high, the intention with Lettura is not a lamp to illuminate a whole room, but much more – and as the name implies – it is a floor standing reading lamp. [Lettura is Italian for reading for all who have not been to Milan] The lighting element itself is embedded in the vertical arm, and is available as either an LED or a fluorescent unit. The vertical arm can be rotated round 360 degrees meaning that you can position it over a desk for working/reading and then – assuming your room is correctly laid out – swing it round to allow you to continue to read in your favourite armchair. With its intense, warm light Talak Lettura not only adds an attractive ambience to a room on account of it’s stylish minimal design, but also through it’s illumination.

Bauhaus Lamp by Wilhelm Wagenfeld. Much adored, much copied, only buy originals

WA24 by Wilhelm Wagenfeld from Tecnolumen

WA24 by Wilhelm Wagenfeld from Tecnolumen

Having bought Eileen Gray’s Roquebrune chair to place next to your Eiermann Table you will of course be looking for the perfect lamp to complete your informal study corner at home. The WA24 by Wilhelm Wagenfeld was created by the young designer shortly after his admission to the Bauhaus workshop in Weimar. The result of an assignment given to him by Hungarian designer and Bauhaus Professor László Moholy-Nag, the lamp can in many ways be considred as ther starting point of Wagenfeld’s design career. As with almost all famous designs from the Bauhaus period, the Wagenfeld lamp’s are amongst the most copied of all industrialal designs, and purchasers should be wary of buying cheap replicas where quality craftsmanship has been sacrifice din favour of profit. All Wagenfeld lamps sold by (smow) are, as with all products (smow) sell, officially licensed originals – in the case of the WA24 by Wilhelm Wagenfeld that means from Tecnolumen, Bremen.


Clusterlamp by Joel Degermark for moooi

Clusterlamp by Joel Degermark for moooi

If we start a post with a sentence like “And now a lamp for those looking for a little different”, it can only mean one thing … moooi. On this occasion we’re going to forgo the insane beauty of Horse Lamp by Front and instead recommend Clusterlamp by Joel Degermark. If we’re honest when we first saw pictures of the Clusterlamp we thought it was a joke. A big, fat unfunny Dutch joke.

And then felt a little guilty after seeing it “in real life” as we realised that although it unquestionably posses the inventive genius of a Laurel and Hardy or Helge Schneider, it isn’t funny.

The PR text from moooi talks of it evoking experimentation with ambient expression, and while that may be true, for us the true charm of Clusterlamp is the fact that you only notice it when it’s switched off. We’re not going to pretend it looks particularly attractive, or that it is a lamp for every situation, but with it’s pleasant, inoffensive illumination and radical design Clusterlamp by Joel Degermark is definitely a lamp for …. you know the rest. Clusterlmap is available with a choice of three bulb sets (each set conatining five bulbs). The bulb sets can also be purchased separately for those looking to mix and match.

Vitra Cushions

Cushions from Vitra

Cushions from Vitra.

No they don’t light up, but what’s the point in creating a pleasantly lit environment if you can’t get comfortable with a good cushion or six. Vitra offer two ranges of cushions each covered with fabrics from US producer Maharam. The Maharam collection “Textiles of the 20th Century” is a range of re-issues of some of the most important designs in the Maharam archives. These include such classics as Geometri by Verner Panton, Small Dot Pattern by Charles and Ray Eames or Millerstripe by Alexander Girard. “Repeat” is a series of re-workings of classic designs from the archives of a Swiss mill by Dutch designer Hella Jongerius. For the Vitra cushion range three of the designs – stripe, hounds-tooth and dot ring – are available in range of colours. Both ranges offer not only exquisite design to finish off and compliment any interior, but also something soft and friendly to hold when you want to relax of a damp autumn evening after a hard days work. Depending on the design chosen the type of fabric does vary and so please check with (smow) before ordering.

Posted in Designer, Product Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Flatline by Jason Brugges for Established and Sons
June 24th, 2009 by julius
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.

Posted in Designer, Product, smow design spring Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

214 from Thonet, also an heirloom if looked after properly
June 24th, 2009 by julius
Eames Lounge Chair by Vitra - The classic view of furniture as an heirloom

Eames Lounge Chair by Vitra - The classic view of furniture as an heirloom ...

Our (smow)twitter recently brought our attention to an article at about what the author termed “Heirloom Design

In the article Adele Peters discusses sustainability, durability and for all “What makes something worthy of passing down through generations?”

Peters decides that the future monetary value, the usefulness and sentimentality play a role; somewhat bizarrely in respect of sentimentality , she states: “…designers can aim to create products that inspire emotional responses.” Sentimentality is of course never something a designer can aim to achieve, rather is something abstract that develops through the nature of the relationship you have with an individual product. But more on that later.

Mr Impossible by Phillipe Starck for Kartell - howver is also a product that can be enjoyed for generations

... however, Mr Impossible by Phillipe Starck for Kartell, is also a product that can be enjoyed for generations

For us, however, the main point that Adele Peters misses in her highly readable article is that “Heirloom Design” isn’t “new”; rather, it has always existed.

In the past designing and constructing furniture to have a eternal life span and to be kept within a family for generations was normal. However, in the fast moving consumer culture that has overtaken The North since Thatcher freed us from guilt we’ve kind of all lost sight of that a little. And at this juncture you’ll forgive us if we don’t discuss the role of everyone’s favourite Swedish producer, but you get the drift. And because we’ve forgotten that one can pass furniture on to the next generation “Heirloom Design” can be presented as a “new meme”.

AC 4 by Antonio Citterio for Vitra - 54% recycled and 95% recycable

AC 4 by Antonio Citterio for Vitra - 54% recycled and 95% recycable

However for producers such as Vitra, USM Haller or Moormann and their designers, creating products with a long life span is part of the normal product development process. As we have often stated, and will probably never tire of repeating, with, for example, the Eames chairs from Vitra or the complete system USM Haller elements, practically every component can be replaced if required. They are truly articles that once bought will outlast the owner and the owners children. And which will be used every day by all.

Just far too many people think that designer furniture is expensive and that to buy a product that will last more than four months involves an investment beyond the average mortal soul.

Random Light by Bertjan Pot for moooi

Random Light by Bertjan Pot for moooi

In her book “Antiques of the future” – we hate the title by the way, but enjoy the project – Lisa S. Roberts presents her collection of items she believes will increase in value in the future. Included in the collection are products such as Algue by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Vitra, Louis Ghost Armchair by Philippe Starck for Kartell or Random Light by Bertjan Pot for moooi. These are not especially expensive products, nor are they products that in all honesty are likely to increase greatly in monetary value.

They are, however, every day items that you would use and interact with, without even necessarily noticing them. And because of this they are items with which you develop a bond and which through their function and familiarity become part of your identity and as such something that you want to pass on the next generation, just as much as your Rolex watch, Mont Blanc Pen or Gangsta Lean record storage units. That’s the sentimentality that Peters’ means and that has nothing to do with the Bouroullec’s or Philippe Starck, rather us. The designers just make the relationship possible. (For more on Philippe Starck’s own assesment of his role in such check out our (smow)tube video)

214 from Thonet, also an heirloom if looked after properly

214 from Thonet, also an heirloom if looked after properly

And the wonderful part is that because they are well made, high quality  products whose development was painstakingly undertaken and in many cases where whole new production processes had to be developed just to create the goods – you can pass them on. And your kids will also be able to pass them on. And their kids. And theirs … ad infinitum.

And that without lumbering the future generations with an unpayable debt.

Designer clothing is all about the designers name, art is all about the artists name, designer furniture, however, is about products created to fulfill a function. OK one or the other designer can afford to buy a couple of pair of shoes and is occasionally photographed at a star-studded party.

But the designers name isn’t just the brand much more it is the guarantee of quality.

And so we say a hearty yes to “Heirloom Design” but lets not call it such, the PR monkeys take up enough of our time, lets call it simply “designer furniture

Posted in Design Investments, smow offline Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Vitra, smow and USM Haller - contrast and harmony
June 12th, 2009 by julius
A selection from the Vitra catalogue in the smow system USM Haller sideboard

A selection from the Vitra catalogue in the smow system USM Haller sideboard(Photo Christin Bargel)

It must be a summer thing. Not only are our newspapers and magazines full of authors recommending their chums books, but first design observer portrayed their reading tips and then design sojourn brought out their “30 Essential Books for Industrial Designers”

Obviously the design world is planning downing tools and spending the long hot summer that awaits us reading.

Which is fine by us.

For, in addition to supplying designer furniture, we at smow also stock a wide range of books on and about design and designers.

In addition to the complete Vitra collection – ranging from coffee table, photo collections such as “the furniture of charles and ray eames” to the more informative and beautifully designed Project Vitra – and Kartell publications such as “kARTell 150 items, 150 artworks” – an outrageous  photographic journey through the Kartell catalogue in the company of some of the most celebrated fashion photographers – smow can supply all books published by and about our partners and their designers be it Moooi, Moormann or Artemide.

Just ask we are always happy to advise.

Vitra, smow and USM Haller - contrast and harmony

Vitra, moooi and USM Haller - contrast and harmony(Photo Christin Bargel)

And, it goes without saying, we can also supply the bookcases in which to store or display your new purchase.

The USM Haller unit shown in the photos is a (smow)original which we are more than happy to re-create for you. Or you can order one in the more conventional monotone.

Other bookcases available from smow, include:

Buchstabler from Moormann

Bookworm from Kartell

Lovely Rita from Kartell

FNP from Moormann

Posted in smow offline Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Horse Lamp and Pig Table by Front in the new moooi space in New York
May 16th, 2009 by julius

In local parlance Greene Street, NYC is known as “West smow”, on account of the prevalence of high-quality designer furniture producers who have their flagship stores there. The Artemide store, for example, is a couple of doors down from USM Haller, across the road from USM Haller is Kartell – it really is uncannily like the navigation bar at

Those wood boxes and the screwless construction... Is this Moormann's future New York flagship store

Those wood boxes and the screwless construction... Is this Moormann's new NYC store?

Indeed as we strolled down West smow on Friday morning we couldn’t help thinking that only Moormann failed. Then we spotted number 75.  Appropriately enough, directly across the road from Droog, and without doubt a building on the brink of rentability.

We were, however, in Greene Street for the US press launch of Patricia Urquiola‘s new products for Molteni … and although we really don’t like saying such things we have to say “typical Molteni”. Not bad, indeed in places excellent, for all in terms of the fine detail just – well, big. Very big. And as such not our thing.

But more on Seniora Urquiola’s work later.

Marcel Wanders personally brought the moooi collection to New York

Marcel Wanders personally brought the moooi collection to New York

Following the show at Molteni we were then, somewhat unwittingly, present as Dutch producer moooi arrived in New York City – securely packed in the back of a New Jersey truck.

How romantic.

We then spent the rest of the day in the nearby Ben Sherman shop – green !!! – before returning later in the evening for the official opening of the new moooi presence at B&B Italia.

The store is located next to the NYC flagship store of British fashion designer Paul Smith; who for New York design week have created the most the wonderful window display of Joe Colombo lamps. The stylistic links between Colombo and Smith may be pretty obvious, but the display itself is, despite its simplicity, fantastic.

Horse Lamp and Pig Table by Front in the new moooi space in New York

Horse Lamp and Pig Table by Front in the new moooi space in New York

Dragging ourselves to the  moooi launch the first thing we noticed is that, somewhat curiously, they are starting in NYC principally with “older” products.  OK the Brave New World lamps from Freshwest were there, but if we’re honest, and with the best of intentions, we’re still just not lovin’ them.
What we are still lovin’, however, is the Horse Lamp and Pig Table by front for moooi – still genius, still good and still wanting them so badly.

Obviously we wish moooi, and Moormann ;), all the best with their new ventures and look forward next year and to seeing how they have grown.

Leaving the moooi bash before the prosecco and the wild mushroom crossini’s started tasting toooo good we headed of to the cinema and “Objectified”…

Posted in New York Tales Tagged with: , , , , , ,

LED Raimond Hanging Lamp by Raimond Puts for moooi
April 22nd, 2009 by julius
Europelampe range by  for moooi

Eurolantern range by moooi works for moooi

Whereas the main Salone exhibition opened today, Wednesday; a lot of those producers and designers who are exhibiting “off-Salone” opened their doors on Tuesday evening.

Tree lamp range by   for moooi

Tree lamp range new from moooi works for moooi

Among them dutch producer Moooi who launched their forthcoming selection in the Superstudio Pia on the Supertrendy Via Tortona

And we must admit to being more than little impressed by many – though not all – of the designs.

In particular the Eurolantern, Raimond and Tree Lamp ranges caught our imagintion.

We’ll let the pictures speak for us … all designs will be available from the middle of 2009, and through

LED Raimond Hanging Lamp (here just the large version) by Raimond Puts for moooi

LED Raimond Hanging Lamp (here just the large version) by Raimond Puts for moooi

Posted in smow in Milan Tagged with: , , ,