Kicking off with Design Helsinki’s inaugural show in late August, which celebrated the best in Finnish design through its local showrooms, art installations and international pavilion; this year’s Maison&Objet where there was a real desire to reconnect with a firm spotlight on creativity; through to the excitement of an entire city coming to life for London Design Week; and finishing with Orgatec whose brands and exhibitors explored new visions of work and sustainability in the workplace.
These shows were true visual feasts and treats for the senses and the OnOffice team came away buzzing from connection and inspiration. Recurring themes we saw throughout the shows were that furniture has to work harder, offer flexible solutions and longevity while having the all-important human touch.
T4 by Holloway Li x Uma
We feel that at the core of good design is collaboration – the meeting of creatives and where ideas can spark from one another. So of course we were excited to see what the collaboration between Holloway Li (interior architect duo Alex Holloway and Na Li) and producer of moulded furniture Uma, founded by designer Steph Gallia, would come up with.
The modular pieces of the T4 collection, made from fibreglass and upholstered with locally sourced fabrics and finished by hand in Uma’s factory, did not disappoint. Evoking a sense of playfulness with bold colours of yellow, pink and orange, and equally a sense of nostalgia with its curved shape – a nod to 1990s television iconography.
Naku Stool by Inno
The Naku stool by Finnish product design company Inno – a family-run company first established in 1975 by Harri Korhonen and now run by his son Niklas Korhonen – caught our attention at this year’s Design Helsinki. The simplicity, craftsmanship and natural material – it is made of solid ash – fit well into the company’s ‘cosy office’ concept, creating products that can fulfil the varied requirements of public spaces yet have a warmth that doesn’t feel out of place at home.
The stackable stool is available in multiple colours and, with an upholstered version too, can function as an extra seat for an impromptu meeting at your colleague’s desk or as a small table in your lounge – making this a well-made, flexible piece that is a great easy addition to any space.
Pottolo Chair for Alki by Iratzoki Lizaso
At this year’s Maison&Objet, Alki – a furniture company based in the northern Basque region and meaning ‘chair’ in the Basque language – launched a new seating collection in collaboration with Iratzoki Lizaso, an industrial design studio founded by Jean Louis Iratzoki and Ander Lizaso in the Basque Country in 2016.
Iratzoki and Lizaso wanted to create a chair that was a deliberate departure from leaner forms and that conjured feelings of wellbeing and of being comforted within its curved and supportive shape. The upholstery work, with seams at the back, gives the silhouette a cinched waist effect and, paired with the solid oak structure, showcases the skillsets of the partnership. At OnOffice, we’re on board with any design that has wellbeing and comfort of the end user in mind.
Mayday modular system for Deberenn by Favaretto & Partners
The curves of the Mayday modular system designed by Favaretto & Partners – a product design company based in Padua, north-east Italy – for Turkish furniture and manufacturer Deberenn were displayed at this year’s Orgatec trade fair in an earthy red-coloured upholstery.
The combination of its soft shape – which Favaretto says recalls hilly scenes – and striking red colour caught our eye immediately. We could not help but test the piece out and could instantly see how it would be welcome in a variety of settings. Its modular components allow it to be configured as a sofa or armchair, and it is available in countless colours. However, did we mention we loved it in the red?
Linear System Series for Muuto by Thomas Bentzen
The Linear System Series was designed by Copenhagen-based designer Thomas Bentzen for Muuto – a design company rooted in Scandinavian design and whose ethos is to explore new perspectives. The Linear System definitely brings its own perspective to the workplace, allowing the user to interchange screens, lighting and trays, and to customise the system to suit their needs.
Built in oak, it brings an instant warmth and comfort to a space – the first thing we did upon seeing it was to run our hand across the wood grain of the tabletop. The series can be configured for collaboration or for more focused work. The design of the table and lighting reminded us of long library tables, and we couldn’t help but feel like we wanted to pull up a chair and get stuck into a new project or good design book.
Images by T4: Uğur Oluş Beklemez / Naku: Inno / Pottolo: Mito / Mayday: Favaretto and Partners / Linear System: Muuto
As featured in OnOffice 161, Winter 2022. Read a digital version of the issue for free here