Monthly Archives: September 2015

Vondom and I


A brand that is synonymous with avant-garde furniture, pots and lighting, VONDOM has arrived in New Zealand and we’re on cloud nine about our exclusive representation of this chic, boundary-bending brand.

Founded in the early noughties in Valencia, VONDOM have forged an epic reputation in what is a hugely competitive market for high-end, modestly priced furniture. Under the transcendental art direction of Ramon Esteve, their seismic success is due to a progressive approach to what furniture needs to be in 2015.

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Working with some of the worlds most esteemed designers helps too. From Teresa Sapey to Karim Rashid, Stefano Giovannoni, Javier Mariscal, Ramon Esteve and JM Ferrero, VONDOM scour the globe for designers who’ll become ambassadors of their unique spirit, “What counts is their passion for shapes, culture and the vanguard. They transform each piece of furniture into an exclusively “Vondom” mode of expression. Nothing is random, everything happens for a reason”.


All collections are unveiled at prestigious design fairs in Milan and Paris. VONDOM is similarly notable for being one of the first furniture companies to create illuminated furniture for both indoor and outdoor use.  Achieved through the use of energy efficient LEDs, lighting can operated via remote control or android phone for programmable colour LED lighting.


VONDOM’s entire product range is engineered from roto-molded polyethylene, 100% recyclable and extremely durable, polyethylene can withstand harsh climatic extremes. The techniques employed in the molding process also allows for an array of colours and matt or lacquered surface textures. Distinctive organic shapes are also made possible, evident in the swath that is the modular And bench, a breath-taking ribbon of seating, that could swirl its way to infinity if one had the space.


And if that doesn’t tickle your fancy, maybe this will; VONDOM’s planter pots range from small to huge, making them a fabulous commercial product, perfect for malls and public places. Equipped with an optional inbuilt watering system these too can be illuminated.

View this intoxicating brand here, available now through UFL



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A Thousand Words


UFL Group can now be found on Instagram. Follow us for an insight into our universe, everything from the globe’s most beautiful commercial interiors, to sublime new furniture designs sweeping Europe, to boundary-pushing designers and free-thinkers.

There are many perks to our job, not only are we involved in creating some exceptional spaces, but we help the who’s who decide on what’s what when it comes to specifying only the best in European and locally made furniture.

And of course we end up with many beautiful photographs (like this one of an inflatable dolphin and the new TUBE chair by Eugeni Quitllet for Mobles114) and it is a crying shame to have them tucked away in a dusty folder on the desktop. So we are delighted to be able to share our world with you, to give you an insight into what we see, and do, on a daily basis.


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Bo Bardi’s Bowl Makes The Cut

In 2011 Arper launched a public relations initiative to encourage brand awareness. Arper wanted to focus their attention not only on products but also on concepts or cultural ventures that mirror the same values as the Italian furniture manufacturer; the preciousness of a sober style, and the ability to innovate and place people at the centre of every project. The initiative originated with Arper’s belief that design and creativity are a voice for universal discourse.

Arper_EditionBardisBowlChair_03Photo courtesy – Instituto Lina Bo e P.M. Bardi

Their first undertaking began by shining a bright light on the life and times of Italian-Brazilian Modernist architect Lina Bo Bardi. Described by British architecture critic Rowan Moore as “the most underrated architect of the 20th century”, Bo Bardi’s work went somewhat unnoticed during her lifetime.

lina_bo_bardi_portrait_1978Photo courtesy – Instituto Lina Bo e P.M. Bardi

Arper worked closely alongside The Instituto Lina Bo e P.M. Bardi, a foundation which was established in 1990 to promote Brazilian culture and architecture through exhibitions, publications and lectures to an international stage, to bring Bo Bardi the posthumous recognition she deserves. The Sao Paulo Institute is located within the Casa de Vidro (The Glass house), which Bo Bardi designed in 1950 as a home for her and her art-critic husband Pietro Maria. After Lina’s death in 1992, Pietro donated the house to the Institute.

16_54_24_658_BARDI_S_BOWL_CHAIR__sketch_02Photo courtesy – Instituto Lina Bo e P.M. Bardi

Due to similarities in their approach to design, Arper responded to Bardi’s vision expressed through her work; the pursuit of the essential and authentic, by making the decision to manufacture her 1951 Bowl chair.  The Bowl chair is a hollowed-out half-moon form that rests on a metal ring with four legs. The chair is stylistic, adjustable and incredibly innovative. At the time of its design the piece was never produced and only two versions of the Bowl chair existed; one in black leather, the other in clear plastic. By carefully studying what limited drawings the artist had made of her design, Arper’s in-house artisans were able to exemplify Lina’s Modernist classic using 21st Century technology and materials.

domus-lina-bo-bardi-023ARQd0113_Francisco-Albuquerque-dec-1950Photo courtesy – Instituto Lina Bo e P.M. Bardi

A limited series of 500 Bowl chairs produced by Arper is running in conjunction with a world-wide exhibition “Lina Bo Bardi: Together”. Arper’s version of the chair is available in black leather and a fabric version in seven different colourways, each with solid or patterned options for cushions.

LBB_biography_singleimagePhoto courtesy – Instituto Lina Bo e P.M. Bardi

Profits from the sale of the chairs will go to the Instituto Lina Bo e P.M. Bardi of São Paulo, the custodian and promoter of her valuable work. This pioneering project represents Arper’s commitment to creative endeavours that have a profound impact on the culture of design.

988562_925803527442981_3984867808859862842_nmodern-relaunch-of-colorful-bowl-chair-designed-in-1951-1Photo credits – Marco Covi 


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The Science of School


Within educational environments, learning spaces are as important as the lessons themselves. Dynamic, functional environments, aid and instigate new discoveries through various styles of learning.


In 2014 our friends at Arper investigated this concept in their LIFE Brief No 4, Vol. 1. Masters in the art of interpretation, Arper’s job is to design furniture for specific activities. Furniture which allows people to do that activity faultlessly within a designated zone. Much of Arper’s furniture is designed for contract spaces; offices, universities, and hospitality environments. Places where the furniture must do its job, otherwise everything from performance to comfort and productivity suffers.


In designing these environments, hours of consideration has gone into figuring out how humans work, learn and relax. For example, from primary schools to universities, there is a science to creating spaces that support the endeavor of education.

When a student walks into a building or a classroom and feels (albeit unconsciously) that care has gone into creating an inviting and stimulating space, students are more open to being actively involved in learning.


A classroom should be a place where a person is intellectually challenged but simultaneously feels emotional security. Support for academic, creative, sporting and social pursuits, must all be catered for. Whether studying for exams or completing an assignment, the environment should provide for the quest for knowledge if there to be any purpose to its existence.


Whatever subject an education embodies, the right equipment, furniture, and learning materials need to be condensed in a specialised space; from ABW, break-out spaces, quiet spaces, learning labs, one-on-one talks, group interactions and full class discussions. In dining areas, chairs and tables can be arranged for small gatherings of students to larger groups for communal meals. These spaces form a foundation for each student — not only as physical support structure, but also as a mental sanctuary that paves the way to a student’s future.


And it’s not only the student’s requirements that must be considered. How a learning environment functions is of equal importance to the teachers, staff and parents who make up an educational community. In order for teachers to do their job effectively, a classroom must operate as a space for instruction, reflection and discussion with students and colleagues. Space helps shape a scalable society of thinkers, where students learn a range of skills from collaboration to creativity, innovation, risk management, presentation skills and perseverance. These factors confer to create a setting ideally crafted for raising the people of tomorrow.


As Arper’s exclusive distributors in New Zealand, UFL are proud to embody Arper’s ethos down under. Think of it as future-proofing, or creating indemnity as we send our upcoming generations out to shape a brave new world.

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