Design Prize Switzerland 2017/18: the nominated projects in the Furniture Design category
With 45 nominations, the current 2017/18 edition of Design Prize Switzerland has reached a new record level, and the variety of the works selected demonstrates a solid cross-section of Swiss design creativity. In the run-up to the prize award ceremony at the Markthalle Langenthal on 3 November, we will be showing some of the nominated projects. Today we are focusing on furniture projects nominated in the category of Furniture Design.
The WEDA bench series by the young industrial designer from Aarau, Daniel Wehrli for Zoom by Mobimex sees itself as being the reinterpretation of a traditional furniture type. The bench surprises with its conspicuous length. Even if it was developed in the first instance for a group sitting at a table, it can just as well be used on its own – for example, in an entrance hall or waiting rooms. The bench has a maximum length of 2.4 metres; but with a view to minimising the weight, it consists of an elaborately structured frame of massive timber which nonetheless makes a delicate impression. This can be supplied either in oak, walnut or ash. The nominators congratulated WEDA on its opening up new potential for a type of furniture not commonly found in indoor use today.
The Hypercollection of the Lausanne Egli Studio is a furniture system with a modular structure, which has been principally designed for use in the modern open-plan office. It serves to delimit specific working areas without completely barricading them off from the central area. Hypercollection combines abundant variety with flexibility, and was developed with industrial serial production in mind. The system consists of relatively few elements: thin, painted stainless steel tubes for the support structures, and coated plates of SWISSCDF (Compact Density Fibreboard) which are used for the horizontal surfaces like table tops and shelves. In the case of the armchairs, foam material and textile covers have been added. The colours of all elements can be chosen according to individual preference. All you need to assemble the system is an Allen key. The nominators’ comments describe the project of their choice as a convincing and contemporary response to the needs of modern office furnishing. And by the way, the furniture system was developed with financial support from the Ikea Foundation Switzerland.
The Ovolo desk, designed by Zurich designer Moritz Schmid for Röthlisberger Kollektion, comes across as something between a writing desk and a console. Ovolo consists of a table top supported by wooden legs arranged in a V shape, together with a slightly angled back wall a good 20 cm in height. These are structurally joined by two wooden elements designed to look like bookends. The table top and the magnetic back are covered on both sides with a continuous strip of linoleum, so that a kind of depression or gully is created in the angle, offering space for the storage of writing implements and equipment. The nominators congratulated Ovolo as being a well thought out and consistently realised design in every respect. The idea of optically linking the table top and the back wall with a double layer of linoleum struck them as particularly novel and original.
The stabelle is a traditional type of chair common in German-speaking Alpine regions. Made of massive timber, it is characterised by angled legs and a back that is embedded in the seat. It has been in common use for centuries in peasant households, and continues to be frequently found today in hostelries and mountain huts or as a feature of rustic interiors. Stabellö has been developed by the manufacturer Röthlisberger Kollektion, in collaboration with the London-based designer Tomoko Azumi. The chair picks up traditional elements, but represents a novel reinterpretation in one crucial respect: to improve the level of comfort, the backrest, which can be supplied in two variants, consists of three-dimensionally shaped laminated wood. This improvement earned a nomination from the experts, who saw this reinterpretation of an ancient chair type as representing a considerable upgrade in terms of functionality.