This is part two of a two-part Trend Report from Cologne 2015 by Le Vin Chin. See Part 1 here.
Here we have no one particular materials trend, but a constellation of directions, relating to wool, to weaving, to knots, and to cords and ropes.
Wool, as a material, was interesting more in how far its use could be stretched. The Korean designer duo behind Design Methods, Sukjin Moon and Kihyun Kim, presented ‘Woody Wool’, wool compression-moulded into a wood grain texture, creating a delightful disjunction between material and surface appearance. The bright colours were apparently inspired by the work of Van Gogh. Whereas Amaury Poudray’s nearly similarly titled piece, ‘Wood and Wool’, played more with the disjunction between the material and the use to which it was put.
From wool, we move into weaving. Fynn Freyschmidt’s ‘On Air’ is an inflatable bicycle helmet made from a ‘new pneumatic-contractile textile’. At the Innovationszentrum Lichtenfels, though, they are working with a rather more traditional material, rattan, and the traditional form of a carpet beater for the shape of their seats. Bamboo rattan is also the basis of a lampshade by Neri & Hu, inspired by Asian woven birdcages.
Woven cords feature in Jeannett Højer’s ‘Nonno’ ultra-relaxed rocking daybed inspired variously by Hans J. Wegner, the designer’s love of hammocks, the use of flag line and the designer’s grandmother. For Franziska Cadmus and Annika Steven of Mjuka, the aesthetic of their woven pieces is directly inspired by their love of Scandinavian design. Weaving leads to knotting and in the work of Kenneth Cobonpue, we find rich knotwork. Finally, mesh abounded everywhere in Cologne as well. The example to highlight here is Benedetta Mori Ubaldini’s ‘Clouds’ series of lamp.
There were a few interesting experiments with playing a game of layers on show. I really enjoyed Zascho Petkow’s ‘Preserved Textiles’ table, made from overpainting a treasured piece of Bhutanese textile with over 20 layers of lacquer. The lacquer also contains a sparkle effect pigment, giving the final surface an incredible and mysterious depth, as well as a playful sparkle.
Wiktoria Szawiel creates a similar effect, but with a much different emotional feel, with her ‘Landscapes Within’ pieces, where the enveloping resin is more milky than murky. With ‘Mars & Pluto’, Joa Herrenknecht takes advantage of the opposite effect. The utterly clear acrylic glass becomes invisible, leaving only the texture of the copper and silver mesh textile.
llot llov, meanwhile, has developed a proprietary technique of staining wood, using salt to draw the water-based dyes into weird, beautiful and organic configurations – while still keeping the view to the wood grain beneath. The marks left behind by the production process are the focus of the work by Milena Kling and André Mädler, where glass vases are blown into copper moulds, staining the glass surface with a copper patina.
No very new colour palettes on display in Cologne, this year. The colours were a (beautiful) synthesis of various recent trends – retro 50s pastels, retro 70s colours, electric-neon.
Ten Favourite Pieces
Finally, here, in no particular order, are my favourite pieces from the various shows.
‘pm12°’ is Anna Bens’ redevelopment of the rocking chair, utilising her own newly developed rocking mechanism and a retro-futuristic aesthetic.
Paul Prangenberg’s lighting objects are all a collision between the industrial and the decorative, using, for example, the most basic sheet roofing materials and basic, brutalist shapes, but formed and refined and finished with the most exquisite effect coatings to high theatrical effect – as befitting a designer with a background in the theatre.
This delightful little table by Pascal Howe is a cross between the work of Gerrit Rietveld and a Space Invader, making the bright red colour doubly apt.
Pretty, useful and upcycled – that’s a few of the principles of good design checked off immediately, by SAMESAME’s glassware.
You can never have too many soap bubble lamps, and Sebastian Scherer created these using a specially developed interior coating to give them a unique and gorgeous iridescent effect.
Coming from the annual collaboration of two young German designers working on a Christmas present for their friends and family, this is a very simple, very elegant design.
Retro-futuristic design is alive and well in this exquisite clothes rack by Friederike Delius!
Hyperkinetic. New Age. Agronomy. Bunker Kollektiv. Realm of the Hypernova.
Very cleverly, the shade/shutter on this otherwise very minimalist lamp, by Robert Hoffmann, swivels almost 360° allowing you to adjust the direction and amount of the illumination.
A great, simple, efficient and aesthetically pleasing design, by Markus Krauss.