Category Archives: Design News

We’ve been dreaming of summer…

The UFL office has been captivated by the 2017 America’s Cup, the speed, the power, the technology and of course the glamour.  We’re so proud of our buoys (clever pun) bringing it home to New Zealand and we’ve celebrated every step of the way.

But with the excitement of it all coming to an end it’s left us dreaming of sunny days and long evenings of cocktails.  And even though the nights are still dark and cold it really is time for us to turn our attention to planning for summer.  But before we get too serious and remind you that orders should be placed in the coming weeks to hit Christmas deadlines, let’s keep dreaming with some dreamy European designs…

The Helen Kontouris Panier stool (not strictly European but we love it anyway) can fit into any environment, so we thought we’d give it a nautical theme to keep us in the mood. The Panier is suitable for indoors or outdoors, residential, hospitality or the office.  It has beauty and grace due to its balanced proportions and with playful geometric patterning.

And look at that monohull in the background!  What will Grant Dalton choose to race in the 2021 cup? Our obsession with all things America’s Cup may be getting out of hand, but we’re such fans we just can’t help it.

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Our new Italian range Colos evokes memories of being warmed by the morning sun while enjoying watching the world go by.  And what better way to enjoy a strong espresso than to relax into the Piazza chair.  Designed by French/Japanese designer Jun Yasumoto with the traditional coffee house chair of the 1920s in mind, the Piazza has maintained a high level of comfort while embracing new technologies.  Made in a single piece of polypropylene this chair can withstand whatever the seasons throw at it.

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Comfort is a must when snoozing away the afternoon on a Spanish roof top, and the Siesta sofa from Andreu World is just the ticket.  Siesta is an outdoor modular sofa that offers great comfort and stylish proportions.  Ideal for high end hotels, office spaces, day spas or just beautiful homes.  It has a treated steel structure that can be finished in white or earth brown and its upholstery is available in a range of colours to suit the mood.

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Evening cocktails with friends while catching the final rays of the evening sun seems the perfect time to perch on the Wall Street stool by Eugeni Quitllet for Vondom.  Made from polypropylene injected with fibreglass this stool is suitable for indoor and outdoor environments.  Its simple design and elegant shape add to a stylish summer evening.

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And let’s finish off our daydreaming with a cruise in the Mediterranean. This lavish scene is enhanced by the glamorous Pillow range from Vondom.  Designed by one of the world’s most prestigious designers, Stefano Giovannoni, this collection is ideal for any chillout space.  The cushion shapes are warm and inviting, just calling out for relaxation while the polyethylene construction is ideal for outside environments.  Pillow also comes in illuminated versions which takes them to a whole new dimension.

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But back to reality…

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Milan Round-up Part 2

The Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan is the showcase if you’re in the design world.  And as always UFL were there to meet the designers and ensure we bought home to New Zealand the latest trends and best of show.

We are always excited to see new ideas and how they play out, and this year’s fair had an array of new colours, textures and shapes.  The use of jewel colours and rich dark tones mixed with contrasting soft pinks and pastels was accentuated by interesting shapes and finishes.

A more casual feel was heightened by curves, ovals and soft lines.  Oversized pieces were given a softness with light pastels and comforting shapes giving a new feel to these statement pieces.  Huge deep sofas and high backed winged chairs also added to the larger dimensions that were on offer.

Strong hard materials such as stone and marble were mixed with warm metals, copper and brass again providing a softer feel.  And there were lots of power coated finishes which enabled more mixing of colours to give unexpected but appealing colour combinations.

It’s safe to say that this year’s show lived up to its reputation of bringing cutting edge design and trends to the market place. And as always UFL has selected the best of the best for New Zealand and we are very pleased to share some of these with you.

Nuez, designed by the luminary Patricia Urquiola, incorporates a range of textures making this a truly beautiful creation.  From the rippled plastic shell to the beautiful soft coloured fabric used, the shapes and folds are appealing and easy on the eye.  The shape is reminiscent of folded paper, folding at the end of the seat back and with a seam across the backrest providing a quilted soft feel.

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La Isla by Sancal was designed in collaboration with Note Design Studio and is a great example of the trend in oversized pieces given a soft feel with the use of colour and curves.  This design is welcoming and warm and has been designed with the weary traveller in mind who’s looking for a comforting moment. Its size provides space for several people while the comfortable back rests also give privacy.

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Piergiorgio Cazzaniga’s Reverse Table for Andreu World is a fabulous example of a strong dominant shape, and we are loving this new cement finish.  This industrial look can be applied to the top, base or both, emphasising its powerful stance.

Through the clever use of materials this cement looking table is actually surprisingly light due to the polyethylene material used in the base and we look forward to the cement finish being available for outside use. And don’t forget this finish can be used across the extensive Reverse Table range.

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The Dos à Dos Louvre is a work of art in its own right, originally designed by Pierre Paulin in 1967 and reworked by LaCividina this year.  Here you can see the use of burnt orange that gives this design a new lease of life. The soft curves of this seat hide the strong functional metal core that is softened with memory foam.  We love that this chair can be used alone as a statement piece or lined up to form benches of any length.

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Cila has been designed by Lievore Altherr in their Barcelona-based studio and has wonderfully rounded curves and silhouette. The plastic shell in muted colours, including a fabulous millennial pink, is lightweight and can be fully upholstered with a range of textures, colours or styles continuing the option of giving contrasting layers.

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We’re really excited about the new pieces we have picked up from the show and have lots more to share with you.  So if you’d like to see more then why not visit us at our showrooms, just 10 minutes from Auckland CBD, or give us a call and talk to one of our consultants.

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Milan Round-up Part 1

April saw the opening of the 56th Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan, the epicentre of all things design.  And once again the team from UFL made our pilgrimage there to explore the best of the best and discover the latest trends. And of course this year’s show, as always, delivered.

We return from Milan with a suite of new products handpicked for you. We spent time speaking and meeting with manufacturers and artisans from across Europe to find products which are functional, innovative and timeless. And we are excited to say we have signed on a couple of new agencies who show the best of European design and innovation, we’ll share more on this in the coming months.

Colour was everywhere.  Black is still the new black, but now jewel colours and rich dark tones are mixed with contrasting soft pinks and pastels, a strong trend that was echoed across the fair.  Burgundy attracted attention as did forest green, mustard yellow and burnt orange. And colour combinations weren’t restricted just to fabrics but also bought into matt powder coated finishes for bases and other detailing.

The departure from a very formal corporate look continues as a softer more homely look moves into the office space. The blur included the use of textures to give a relaxed and informal vibe.  Rich velvets, chunky knits and leather gave a chic but slouchy feel.  And homely touches such as cushions were used to further relax traditional work spaces.

Complementing the new colour trends in play, were interesting new shapes and finishes, but more on that in next week’s email.  For now here are a few of the new products we’ll be bringing into New Zealand in the coming months:

We loved Sancal’s new luxurious Magnum soft seating. The designer José Manuel Ferrero might be Spanish, but his approach to design is akin to the bespoke tailoring of Mayfair. His new range of soft seating pays homage to this very British elegance. The gentleman designer has drawn inspiration from the glasses of cognac members of exclusive London clubs cradle in their hands as they debate politics.

Whatever the background, it’s just calling out for us to be quaffing champagne while lounging in its compact curves.  Gold and brass detailing were still some of the biggest trends at the fair and Magnum hit this years trends straight on featuring elegant tailoring, textured fabrics and gold detailing.

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We couldn’t resist Arper’s new art deco inspired range Arcos by Lievore Altherr Molina.  It provides a striking silhouette with its graphic presence due to its signature cast aluminum armrests that form twin curves evoking the elegant rhythm of archways in the corridors and walkways of classical architecture.

Special care was dedicated to the colour palette featuring forest green, burnt orange, navy and black, with the possibility to create a monochrome of velvet-like, inky hues in both upholstery and matte lacquer metal for an expression that signals understated expression.

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With thanks to Estudi Manuel Molina, Enea have a new outdoor offering in the form of LTS Street that’s giving the outdoors a splash of colour while seamlessly fitting with the rest of the Lottus family.

What’s even better are the new colours soon to be on offer from Enea – autumn wine, rough ocean, magical green, bilbao blue and mountain shadow. These wine and forest green colours mixed effortless with pastel blues were ever so present, everywhere.

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The striking rich deep and emerald green, perfect.  We are most excited about this sofa and LaCividina, exclusive to UFL, and soon to be launched in New Zealand.

Velour, designed by Antonio Rodriguez, provides a modular seating range that looks inviting and luxurious.  The high back gives an oversized feel while maximising comfort and privacy.  Perfectly proportioned and available in 57 modules including chairs, armchairs and sofas which may be combined in countless ways to suit absolutely any space.

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Continuing the colour trend of subtle pinks is LZF’s Escape suspension lamp, featured in La Monella Jewellers in Valencia, Spain.  These handmade wood veneer lamps in Millennial Pink were part of a colour range of lighting that LZF launched at the show, but we feel this soft colour is the most exciting.

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We’re really excited about the new pieces we have picked up from the show and have lots more to share with you.  So if you’d like to see more then why not visit us at our showrooms, just 10 minutes from Auckland CBD, or give us a call and talk to one of our consultants.

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Served Chill

Cool tranquility is served on ice and in spades at Campari’s 24th international office. It’s one of the best HQ we’ve seen in a while, and is totally becoming of the Italian beverage company.

Opened in Toronto in November 2015, local design firm I-V spent eight months renovating the Liberty Village building, which has had many past lives including that of film studio and a foundry. Campari’s brief was simple – ‘create a space which captures the spirit of the company and inspires the people who use it’.

Fun Fact: Campari was traditionally dyed its famed red colour by the cochineal insect. The insect is found on the pads of prickly pear cacti in Central America, they’re brushed off, dried and crushed. True story.

The biggest challenge I-V faced was a complete shortage of natural light as there was not a single window to the outside world, (maybe one of the past lives included vampire’s lair). Four ginormous skylights were installed to flood the space – which boasts 40-foot high ceilings – with light.

The interior was then hit with a huge dose of fresh white paint and pastel pink accents (for which no beetles were harmed), by way of Tea sofas by Sancal on the mezzanine, and sleek Kinesit chairs by Arper around the 16-person boardroom table. Several multipurpose breakout areas are located off the mezzanine and provide public spaces away from the primary work zone where employees sit together in a shared office.

Campari Toronto boasts one truly spectacular bar which is used for cocktail seminars, hosting clients and family-style staff lunches. Its most eye-catching feature, which continues in the theme of creepy crawlies, is the counter which is covered in a pink speckled pattern called Bacterio, created by Italian designer Ettore Sottsass in 1978.

The overall effect is a nothing short of a marvel. I-V have created a magnificently beautiful and convivial office befitting of a brand that’s been bringing people together for over 150 years.

Cin cin!

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Take it Away Tortuga

Tortuga is Spanish for Turtle or Tortoise, an animal that conjures thoughts of things old and slow.

Tortuga is also a new lounge chair by Sancal. Having just won America’s most coveted prize; Interior Design Magazine’s Best of Year award, the easy chair is on a fast track to stardom. Nothing old and slow about that.

Tortuga was first exhibited during Milan’s Salone del Mobile 2016. Comprising an integral part of Sancal’s Futura Collection which was inspired by the movie epic; 2001: A Space Odyssey, the chair was met with rave reviews and has gone on to become a best seller for the design company.

Designed by Spanish-based studio Nadadora, Tortuga the chair, took its cue from Tortuga the reptile’s unique attributes. As designers Cristina Alonso and Isaac Pinēra explain, “Inspiration was drawn from a tortoise because we wanted something that would hold you like a shell, like a shelter, and yet it is comfortable inside.” Featuring a deep bowl-shaped seat made from injection-moulded polyurethane, the shell’s covered in quilted memory foam to create a cosy cocoon for the body. The duo conceptualised a chair that was, “Very, very comfortable yet visually light that wasn’t a heavy, bulky chair.”

Like a house, the chair encapsulates its occupant, keeping them warm, comfortable and safe. And like a turtle, one can withdraw into it and curl up to relax or sleep. Nadadora designed a corresponding ottoman and coffee table to accompany the lounge chair. The chair and ottoman come on an Ash timber frame which swivels, and in Sancal’s signature style, may be stained to a range of sublime colours. The lounge chair can be modified through the addition of an oversized headrest and is available upholstered in contrasting fabric to the body of the chair.

“The table feet use the same language as the feet of the chair, in the pouf the same geometry, the cone – in the end it’s about creating harmony between the different pieces to create a family of products.”

A supreme and noble creature. Larga vida a la Tortuga!

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Tonella Hits the Right Note

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Tonella the mini lounge chair designed by Sweden’s Note Design Studio for Sancal, has just experienced two additions to the family. Can kids arrive into the world before their parents? Who knows, it’s all a bit chicken and egg for me but what I do know is that based on the reception baby Tonella received at Salone del Mobile in 2015, a collection was just begging to be born.

Tonella mini was designed specifically for areas that were spatially challenged shall we say. Be it for residential or public use, the chair was built for nooks and crannies, and what it lacked in size, it made up for in strength, comfort and appeal. After all size isn’t everything don’t you know?

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Roll on 2016, and suddenly one becomes three via the addition of a lounge chair and sofa.

There are varying reports about from where the inspiration for Tonella bloomed. Some say it all started at a vanity table, others say that Marie Antoinette’s lavish, playful style was the muse. Sancal aren’t exactly newbys to French furniture, they started out manufacturing classic, French-style chairs back in the 70’s. Now in conjunction with Note, they’ve revisited their roots and borrowed from the past.

Wine barrels are commonplace in Yecla (Sancal’s hometown) as it happens to be wine country, and the metal bars that make up Tonella’s frame are reminiscent of the wooden staves used in the barrels. One could even argue this fact is a major contender in the inspiration stakes.

Plush, lush, and wonderfully comfortable, Tonella is a beautiful and refined collection that is sure to be a mainstay in Sancal’s catalogue for years to come.

Eat your heart out Marie Antoinette. tonella_lounge_0003_tonella_1442

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Zen and the Art of Antii Kotilainen

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Last week we blogged about Arper’s intrinsic understanding of colour, and the sublime tones that they apply to their product. That led us to consider other collections where Arper have displayed complete assurance when creating colourways that identify the design as much as its form does.

The Catifa collection is case in point of inspirational use of colour, but as Arper have a variety of furniture ranges each with their own unique colourway, we thought we’d walk you through another stunner.

Aava by Finnish designer Antti Kotilainen, was once upon a time available in timber only. However the chair has recently been released with a polypropylene shell, in you guessed it, a combination of colours that take the design to a whole new level and in a wildly different direction than its timber counterpart.

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I would describe them as colours that are not very obvious if you like. Almost like you wouldn’t think of using or even really liking them unless you take the time to consider them appropriately. And then they smack you over the head with their gorgeousness. Aava whispers of a longing for natural surroundings, the ocean, pebbles, forests and sunlight.
That’s my description anyway but what do I know. Why not take the concept behind Aava from the man himself;

1. What is your approach to design?
Design work is based–quite inherently–on observation. A designer observes his environment, his own emotions and life-experiences, and also the work at hand. Only by observing closely the world around him–culture and nature alike–can a designer come up with products that he knows will enhance one’s surroundings and to be of use to many.

2. What is your philosophy on furniture design?
All pieces of furniture take their size and their basic gestalt from the human body. Furniture design is communication: it mediates human emotions, meddles in with them, and functions as their atmospheric seedbed. Much like music does.

3. What is your design ethic?
I believe that a soft-tone can make a more convincing argument than shouting out loud. When a designer has the patience to give his products temperate and soft-spoken expression, he can expect people to respond to them better and more willingly all over the world.

4. How do you evaluate good design?
Good design usually manifests in organic, effortless and indisputable appearance, combined with practicability and convenience. When the manufacturing process and the use of the product become one with the perfected form one gets an impression of something inevitable and absolute. Absolute as a paper clip.

*Interview is courtesy of Arper Stories – Interview with Antii Kotilainen

Arper

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The Cool Charm of Catifa’s New Colours

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Arper have taken their famous Catifa 46 and Catifa 53 chair collections up a notch (as if that were possible) through the release of two brand new colour ranges for the celebrated chairs.

The legendary Italian manufacturer has many distinguished attributes and their use of colour is one of their finest as the new Catifas will attest. The colourways differ between the 46 and 53 designs, with each boasting tones that hold their own as striking standalone pieces whilst perfectly coexisting in any combination.

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Catifa 46 is available in a playful, on-trend range with pretty 1950’s tones and cool pastels reigning supreme. These include Old Pink, Petroleum Blue, Yellow, Ivory, Smoke, Green, Black, Anthracite, Red, White and Moka. The palette applies to the polypropylene shell as well as powdercoat options for 4-leg and sled bases. Catifa 46 is still available with a single colour or bi-colour shell option which combines your choice of colour in a gloss finish on the back of the shell, whilst the interior has a matte white finish.

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Catifa 53 is available in a sophisticated, masculine palette of earthy shades like Yellow-Gold, Anthracite, Ivory, Sand, Caramel, White, Black and Moka. The Catifa 53 is now available with a single colour polypropylene shell only.

Arper do it again with refined, effortless cool that is totally hot.

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Red Dot Award Recognises Story Telling Gold

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LZF have added another feather to their illustrious cap as winner of a Red Dot Award 2016 in Communication Design for their Telling Tales campaign.

The three part campaign, inspired by Edward Hopper paintings and the 1954 film-noir masterpiece Rear Window by Alfred Hitchcock, is set at night. The cover of darkness provides the perfect backdrop for loads of gorgeous lamps and the captivating nocturnal happenings of its characters.

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Valencia-based Masquespacio Studio art directed the campaign, alongside LZF co-founder Mariví Calvo. The ensuing images are beautifully arresting and pose more questions than they answer.

While lamps certainly feature in the photo-realistic scenes, they are not the solo stars of the show. The stories themselves are told from the perspective of an anonymous female voyeur as she imagines the lives of the people she watches.

The storytelling component of the campaign takes the reader on a journey, as author Grassa Toro explains “What is fantastic is not what you see, but rather when I imagine everything I’m not seeing… [from her building, the narrator of Telling Tales] sees very little, and imagines a lot.”

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The Red Dot Award is deserved recognition for some highly ambitious publicity. As LZF co-founder Sandro Tothill observes ‘We are competing with communication and graphic design studios from all around the world. That we’re actually in that top fifty cadre of companies receiving the Red Dot Award in Communication Design is as much of an achievement for us as being given a Red Dot Design Award.’

Telling Tales is told in three volumes and will be published in an all-inclusive book for worldwide distribution:

Julie & Nelson – Volume I

Lana & John – Volume II

Ana & Silver – Volume III

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Something Wicked This Way Comes

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Something of an auspicious occasion, we’ve been involved in some seriously fruitful R & D sessions with Derlot’s Alexander Lotersztain at our Auckland showroom this week.

Alex and the product development team at UFL got together to brainstorm pipeline projects and put the finishing touches on collaborative pieces which will be launched to market in the coming months.

With the development of new product comes the bonds that grow from partnership and creative cooperation. The outcome is next-level design; something that wildly exceeds expectations and hurls new product into the market where before there was just the same old.

Alex has been named top 10 most influential designers by Scene Design Quarterly, and one of 100 most influential designers worldwide in &fork by Phaidon. He is the design adviser in a number of government and private projects, regularly presents at design events and conferences, and judges on design panels throughout Australia.

Watch this space…

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