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A new furniture collection designed by Note Design Studio for Sancal

Void Matters is a new collection of furniture that takes negative space as its starting point.

28/09/2020 3 min read
Remnant armchair

Note and Sancal have a long history of collaboration – dating back almost a decade – however this is the first time the two have worked together on a furniture collection born of a conceptual experiment rather than a design brief.

The collection comprises four distinct families – two chairs/sofas, a set of pouffes, and a sculptural table design. Each of these is an exploration of the concept of a void and the relationship between positive and negative space – as well as a beautiful and functional piece of furniture in its own right.

‘The idea was to put emphasis on nothing. Specifically, on the negative space surrounding physical objects. By acknowledging this emptiness, it becomes a design element just as important as the objects themselves,’ says Cristiano Pigazzini, Note Design Studio.

‘While positive shapes often are associated with strong, active, qualities, negative space is calm and peaceful and leaves room for interpretation. Our thesis was that the juxtaposition of these two relative spaces would bring something new and thought-provoking to a room.’

The new collection was initially intended to launch in prototype at Sancal’s stand at Museo Collection at Salone in April this year. The current pandemic and its obstacles ultimately proved to be an unexpected bonus, as it gave Note and Sancal the opportunity to finesse the collection at leisure, without the pressures and constraints usually imposed by the design industry’s conventional calendar.

‘We have always felt that too many decisions are made to meet the demands and timing of the large fairs and that companies are expected to launch new things every year to stay relevant,’ adds Cristiano.

‘Perhaps the pandemic has opened up new ways of thinking when it comes to launching products, ways in which a more responsible and holistic approach can be implemented, from both environmental and social sustainability perspectives. I believe we are entering a new renaissance in design – a time where designer and company are enabled to produce fewer but much better products, in terms of quality, innovation and functionality. Products that will be the classics of the future.’

The seating designs Core and Remnant are opposite forms of the same silhouette. Core is the starting point, the positive space, whereas Remanent is the negative that surrounds it – here made tangible. Evoking classi-cally inspired furniture and forms, the Core armchair and sofa have a generous comfortable seat and a curv-ing quilted backrest. The constituent elements of the design are harmoniously combined, as through a sculp-tor has chiselled the seat from a single block of material.

The linear elegance and visual simplicity of Remnant represent a technically complex feat of engineering on the part of Sancal’s production team, who had to develop a means of structurally sustaining the chair with no direct support beneath the seat. Multiple prototypes were created until a solution was found – a triangulated metallic structure inspired by architectural weight-distribution techniques. To then turn this into a comforta-ble lounge chair presented still further challenges, eventually resolved by seamlessly connecting three dif-ferent injection-moulded pieces.

The Vestige family of tables is a meditation on the effects of time and the material traces of the past it leaves behind. The sculptural base is formed from a cuboid block reminiscent of architectural forms from bygone ages, with a cylindrical shape cut from the top. The tabletop is made from a champagne-hued disc or rectangle of tempered glass, and sits on the fine lines of the base.

The base itself is available in a number of stained-wood versions, or alternatively finished with the iQ surface material from Tarkett. The latter’s mottled blue pattern was also designed by Note.

Dividuals is a family of contemporary-style pouffes comprising two organic-looking elements that can be combined into a single formal entity or used individually; each fits snugly into and around the other. Set on subtle plinths of ash wood, the body of the pouffe is available in multiple textile options, allowing for the possibility of numerous complementary or contrasting furniture arrangements.

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