Explore the latest projects from the UK’s commercial interiors industry, featuring the best of workspace, hospitality, residential and public sectors.

Designing for neurodiversity

The workplace has become a more accessible environment than ever, but there is still a lot of work to be done in terms of designing for a neurodiverse workforce. We meet up with Franky Rousell, founder of sensory design experts, Jolie Studio.

26/10/2020 4 min read

Interviews, opinions and profiles from industry experts

The courage to speak softly

This month, M Moser Associate's Steve Gale suggests we treasure our rediscovered solitude. Has working from home made us look twice at extrovert-centric offices?

26/10/2020 3 min read

Key industry articles and insights looking at the latest news from the world of commercial interior design

Is 2021 going to be coworking’s big moment, or Armageddon?

Coworking operators and developers ponder the future – and it might not be as bad as you think. David Thame reports.

20/10/2020 6 min read

Discover the latest and most innovative products curated by Mix Interiors.

Silestone Loft and HybriQ+ Technology from Cosentino

Silestone® Loft is a brand-new collection of five colours inspired by industrial design; each colour represents an iconic town with a distinctive history and style.

22/10/2020 1 min read

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Industry Events

Connected launches at the Design Museum

The nine designers have revealed their original table and seating designs, as part of the project that set out to explore how designers and craftspeople adapted their working practices during lockdown.

17/09/2020 5 min read

Nine imaginative and original tables and seating designs, created by nine leading international designers and beautifully made in one of Europe’s top craft workshops, are now on show in an installation called Connected, which launched this month at the Design Museum in London.

The American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), Benchmark Furniture and the Design Museum challenged these designers to create a table and seating for their personal use, to suit their new ways of living and working from home.

The designers had a choice of three sustainable American hardwoods to work with – red oak, maple or cherry. They were also invited to record their creative journeys to demonstrate how they approached the brief and developed their designs at a time of limited physical contact.

The installation showcases the results of a unique experiment that sets out to push the boundaries of what is possible with these timbers and to explore how designers and craftspeople adapted their working practices during lockdown.

The project demanded that both the designers and craftspeople at Benchmark work innovatively, by relying solely on digital communication and video conferencing, to bring the designers’ visions to life.

This approach required a new level of trust in the makers, since the designers had no physical contact with their pieces whilst they were being made at Benchmark’s Berkshire workshop during the summer.

Connected will be at the Design Museum from 11th September to 11th October as part of London Design Festival 2020.

The Designers and Pieces

Nordic Pioneer by Maria Bruun (American maple)

American maple Maria’s collection, Nordic Pioneer, offers a masterclass in Nordic design. With a purity to both the seating and to her gate-leg table, they are intentionally pared back, to let the materials and construction do the talking.

The Kadamba Gate by Ini Archibong (American cherry, red oak and thermally modified red oak)

Ini’s bench uses a similar construction as the table, with a metal frame cased within sculptural timber extrusions. The top has a subtle camber for drainage, and a removable vegetable-tanned leather seat pad with stitched perimeter, made by leather specialists Bill Amberg Studio.

Ini’s Kadamba Gate is driven by a strong narrative that guides the material choice as well as the piece’s construction. Both the table and bench function as outdoor pieces. The table has a metal base plate and frame that supports the tabletop. The sculptural underframe is made from irregular-shaped extrusions in multiple heights, inspired by the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland.

Candy Cubicle by Sabine Marcelis (American maple)

Sabine Marcelis’ Candy Cubicle transforms from ‘working mode’ into ‘hiding mode’ with an element of surprise on the inside – inspired by the suitcase scene in Pulp Fiction. The outer surfaces use veneered American maple with a white oil finish.

The interior has compartments for books and a computer, constructed from the same maple veneer – but coated in a yellow high-gloss translucent lacquer – hand polished to a fine finish. This offers a bright pop of colour when the cubicle is open, with the fine maple grain visible through the lacquer. The unit is on matching yellow casters, allowing the piece to be easily closed when the working day is over.

Pink Moon by Studiopepe (American maple)

Studiopepe’s Pink Moon plays with the idea of cycles of renewal and new beginnings, inspired by the Pink moon in spring. Its construction involved contrasting inlay details on the table’s legs and a contemporary seat inspired by a Charles Rennie Mackintosh frame.

The chair’s unusual backrest comprises a large maple ‘moon’, CNC machined in two halves, drilled to accept the back legs and then stained. When the two halves are brought together, a seamless joint will be created, with the Pink Moon suspended by the Mackintosh-inspired frame.

Humble Administrator’s Chair and Table by Studio Swine (American red oak and cherry)

Studio Swine designed a throne-style seat and table inspired by traditional Chinese gardens and the archetype of the Ming Chair. After spending lockdown in Tokyo, the pair were left craving nature and wanted to celebrate the timber in its purest form. American cherry was chosen for its warmth and caramel tones for the solid seat and back leg, with curved steam bent American red oak front legs, arms and backrest. The steam bend for the arms was ambitious and complex to fabricate, in that it bends across two axes – requiring a team of six craftspeople and a specially constructed jig to create its unusual form.

Stem by Heatherwick Studio (American maple)

Heatherwick Studio’s Stem celebrates the power of biophilia by incorporating planting into curved CNC-machined American maple legs, clamped to a glass tabletop. After spending 3 months at the same desk using video conferencing to communicate, the studio craved nature and began to see the space around them as a mini television studio – what is behind you and around you is now being seen by the world.

Stammtisch by Sebastian Herkner (American red oak and maple)

With an organic and modular form, Sebastian wanted to create a landscape where the various elements of his day meet. The name Stammtisch translates as the ‘regulars table’ – a space for friends and family to gather every week.

The timber for the tabletop and other components is spindle-moulded to achieve the characteristic shape that is key to Sebastian’s design. Components were carefully jointed and glued up, with the design playing with contrasting grain directions from the tabletop and the movable trays, which can run along the length of the top within skived tracks.

Arco by Maria Jeglinska-Adamczewska (American cherry)

Maria’s Arco seat and table draw inspiration from sculptural forms and the architecture of Benedictine abbeys. With a focus on a prominent curve, the table uses prime American cherry with planks carefully grain matched and machined. The table’s angled legs are an unusual quarter-moon shape and create tension through the top by use of inset metal plates.

The chair has been designed to be sculptural, and to mimic the curves of the body. While appearing structurally simple, the construction choices (such as frame matching) showcase the degree of manufacturing proficiency. The side panels of the chair are coopered – a technique drawn from barrel-making, and the piece will act to celebrate the beauty of the hardwood.

Mesamachine by Jaime Hayon (American cherry)

The Mesamachine is a complex and ambitious multi-element build, providing a single space to work, play, eat and spend time with his family. Like a swiss army knife, functional elements can be opened and extended to serve a multitude of functions. The main table frame is made up like a hollow torsion box, with tensioning ribs running along its length.

The various storage solutions and extending shelves work on timber runners and involve an exacting degree of precision in their manufacture. Two stools and a bench follow a similar design, with smiley faces cut out to add a playful element.

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