Good, better, best
It was all about tough choices in Valencia this past September. When I was treated to three days in the Spanish city to attend Ideas&Pasin Feria Habitat Valencia, it really felt as if I were being pulled in all directions. Each morning, it pained every self-indulgent bone in my body to pry myself from my beautiful hotel room at the Palau De Le Mar. Equally excruciating was extricating myself from the breakfast room, and the unlimited supply of unbelievably fresh and delicious Valencia orange juice. And though it was what I was there for, I have to admit that getting on the bus and heading to the fairgrounds, and work, seemed like a terrible insult. With a beautiful day in a beautiful city waiting outside the windowless convention centre halls that would be waiting for me, even the promise of pretty things couldn’t stop me from feeling I was getting a raw deal.
However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that there was plenty at the show that was as bright and beautiful as what was waiting for attendees outside at the end of each day. The new outdoor section, which created a garden oasis right in the convention centre, was well worth checking out; and the expansive Sidi section, exhibiting new products from associated manufacturers, was certainly a highlight of the show. But, as always, it was the Nude exhibit (the section for new creators) that outshone the rest. Bigger than ever, the section showed about 30 exhibitors, all of which I couldn’t wait to feature. And so the tough choices continued back at home, with the struggle to decide which of my many favourites to include in this show report.
Stalactite is a hand-blown glass lighting fixture from designer Marina Rodriguez and her eponymous studio, designbymarina. Named for its obvious inspiration, the light shines through, rather than into, the tubes, which are closed at the top to prevent dust from getting in. The product is intended to be manufactured from recycled glass. designbymarina.net
FlexibleLove furniture uses an increasingly familiar accordion-like, honeycomb structure to create durable furniture. Made from recycled paper and recycled wood waste, the line’s name comes from the idea of a “flexible love-seat” that could hold from one to as many as 16 individuals; changing length and shape with a simple pull at each end. flexiblelove.com
Created by Jon Marin and lex Jimnez of Nut Creatives, the award-winning Bones is a flat-packed seating solution that can be assembled as the user wishes. The spidery legs, or “ribs,” are strung together with a metal axle as wanted, and with the use of longer rods and more cutouts, longer compositions can be created, for indoor or outdoor use.
Also from Nut Creatives, Relaja was developed in the Canary Islands. Upon seeing a surplus of broken stone slabs wasted by construction companies, the two designed this modular outdoor bench to make use of otherwise rejected materials. The designers intend for the benches to be built as part of a program to support people at risk of social exclusion. nutcreatives.com
Wanting something fun to counter their not-so-serious “serious office furniture,” the folks at Es-Stres, Estudio De Diseno, created Mus. Hands-down my favorite thing of the entire show, Mus is exactly what it looks like: a bat house. Made of MDF and finished in a range of matte lacquer colours, Mus is hung, upside-down, by repurposed leather straps.
Es-Stres also introduced Gaveta, which puts a fairly literal twist on office furniture. The line includes a file cabinet, with drawers on perpendicular sides — a bit of a headscratcher when the drawers are closed. The other piece is an L-shaped desk, with one set of drawers on what might seem naturally to be the outside of the desk, and another set on perpendicular sides. estudioestres.com
Shineout is a collection of mirrors from InnEdit — InnoArea Design Editions. With new technology in plastics and lighting, it was time to revisit the concept of the backlit mirror. In doing so InnEdit created a line of wall and table mirrors, with a lit perimeter that turns on when the mirror is touched. For those who want to keep the surface pristine, cable switches are incorporated on both models, and a motion sensor option is offered on the wall version. innoarea.com
New from Capolavori Estudi is Class, a modular system for small spaces. There are nine pieces that make up the system: two vertical modules, three horizontal, and a collection of “envelopes” or drawers. With these components, the system offers infinite constructive solutions, without need for tools, acting as a bench, a TV stand, a coffee table or even a dresser. capolavori.es
Capdell showed off the new Culmen table, for hospitality installations. Suitable for indoor or outdoor use, the legs feature adjustable cleats to create great stability on whatever surface the table is placed. Available in square, round and semi-circle configurations, the defining feature of each is the two integrated “claws” that offer a visible place to store belongings, such as purses and coats. capdell.com
The Air is a simple two-seater couch designed by Daniel Garcia Sanchez. Composed of durable black elastic and steel, the Air looks pretty heavy duty. Clearly suited to indoor or outdoor use, the comfy piece has a little more spring to it than one expects, gives the user a light, weightless feel. danielgarciasanchez.com
Moma is a new indoor/outdoor series from Vondom that combines the functions of a table and a flowerpot. The line is made up of four pieces: High (stool height), Medium (as tall as an average chair’s seat) and Low, which is complemented by the Puf seating element, at the same level. A self watering system can be incorporated. vondom.com