Design firm UUfie was founded by architects Eiri Ota (licensed in Japan) and Irene Gardpoit (OAA, RAIC) in Tokyo in 2009; they relocated to Toronto in 2013. The pair won a 2014 Best of Canada Project of the Year Award for their Lake Cottage in Bolsover, in Ontario’s Kawartha Lakes district.
As for Echo, the side tables have an appearance and manufacturing process like no other. The tops comprise a central section of wood that tapers at the edges to blend seamlessly with hot liquid metal (aluminum, copper and brass).
The panels merge with the architecture to wrap walls and ceiling. This visually immersive aspect will evoke in knowledgeable customers the projecting sound-absorbing foam wedges bristling from every surface in an anechoic chamber, where the very headphones on sale went for testing before going into production, and the acoustic panels over the stage in a concert hall that project out over the heads of audience members in the front rows, such as the shell inside the Tanglewood Music Shed, the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s summer home.
The strength of the metal, when cooled and solidified, permits an edge that’s thinner than typically seen on a wood table. The contrasting gradients of colour of the different materials evokes the eye of a peacock feather or the tinted spiraling bands of an agate geode (a sliced-open mineral nodule).
The tops are available in various sizes and rounded shapes and rest on slender legs. As with UUfie’s Lake Cottage, Echo has a disarming element of fun that appeals to the child in all of us.
Lee Fletcher: The Echo collection represents the poetic potential of product design in a series of evocative objects. The merging of metal and wood in a unified surface is a curious and brave choice that results in lovely colours and transitions that celebrate the natural surface qualities of each material.
Leslie Jen: Echo exhibits a compelling quality of craft in a highly finessed, organic, irregular form. The elegance of the concept continues in the attenuated legs that terminate in a rounded base, each leg like an exaggerated water droplet.
Miles Keller: I really loved the originality and poetry of this table series…… there is something almost magical about it. Echo is a sophisticated, perfectly proportioned and highly evocative design that goes its own way in a sea of sameness.