Tag Archives: Spain

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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Taking it Outside

Summer is hot on our heels, and with that it’s time to shout out to all our favourite outdoor chairs. Life is just better when your furniture looks the part (after all what is function without serious form?). So wherever you use your chairs, be it alfresco dining or poolside, the following designs will be coveted by your friends and regarded jealously by your foes.

Complete versatility is the name of the game when it comes to parking your posterior; think strength (fibreglass injected polypropylene or metal rod is ideal), stacking (they’re easy to store when not in use), and UV stabilised.

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1. Antonio Gaudi’s famous building La Pedrera in Barcelona, is all curves and flair, so why shouldn’t its namesake follow suit. Light, strong and full of character, Pedrera stacks and comes in seven gorgeous hues.

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2. Typically Mariscalesque, Sabinas embodies a form all its own. Inspired by sand dunes and unfurling blooms, this stacking chair envelopes with comfort and style.

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3. Spritz is pure Hamptons (or Ibiza). Think white wooden fences and boxwood hedges, the clean lines and stunning colour range have us wanting to book a one-way passage. Stacking goodness which comes in an armchair version too.

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4. Wall Street designed by Eugene Quitllet (he’s so hot right now), couldn’t be further from the convention and stuffiness of the world’s most famous financial district. A bold statement, Wall Street has clinched its place as one of the year’s best designs.

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5. Ethel is carefully crafted to ensure structural strength, while the angles of the back, the curves of the seat, and the closeness of the wires are designed for comfort and utility. Simplicity and style combine in this contemporary take on modernist roots.

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6. Leaf reflects Arper’s design aesthetic; chic, beautifully resolved and so usable. Among other attributes, Arper without fail collate the most elegant colourways for their collections and Leaf is no exception, available in the colours of nature; leaf green, mocha and white.

 

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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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Figueras International Seating

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UFL are delighted to welcome Figueras International Seating into our fold of European suppliers. World leaders in the design and manufacture of seating systems for theaters, auditoriums, and concert halls, Figueras have recently fitted out the magnificent Len Lye Gallery in New Plymouth with their Flex 6036 armchair. Designed by Patterson Architecture, the gallery which was purpose built to house the works of kinetic sculptor Len Lye, makes a profound statement and demanded furniture which was on par with its architecture.

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In 2014 Figueras was awarded the Spanish National Design Award for its work to date. This is the highest award in the field of design and innovation bestowed to companies in Spain. Figueras’s attention to creating quality designs which incorporate the latest technological advances, leverages their specialized engineering and design capabilities to produce innovative solutions like fixed and mobile seating systems, platforms, telescopic tribunes and mobile floors. Despite humble beginnings as a small carpentry workshop in Barcelona, the company have now completed over 40,000 projects worldwide and installed 10 million seats into such high-end projects as the White House Press Room, The United Nations in Geneva, and the Philharmonic of Paris. The product is now available for projects within New Zealand exclusively from UFL.

With the creation of new division Figueras Engineering & Consulting in 2006, the parent company consolidated its course of carrying out custom-design projects by offering comprehensive engineering solutions particular to the individual client. Each new seating system or model is developed to meet the needs of the project, with particular emphasis on making the most of available space. Figueras are experts in optimizing space and enhancing profitability through movable seating systems that allow a single space to accommodate a range of different uses.

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Sublime New Collections by Mobles114

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Mobles114 unveiled two breathtaking collections at Salone del Mobile this year. With wire furniture currently so on-trend, the Spanish manufacturer delivered undeniable crowd-pleasers.

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Martin Azua is the creative genius behind Rambla. Delicate to behold, Rambla’s tough, its namesake is the famous promenade in Barcelona which runs from the heart of the city to the port. Historically one could hire tables and chairs on the street, for a rest and a drink with a friend.

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Azua works in Barcelona and combines teaching and product design, with interior design and temporary installations. Highly committed to the environment and society, his work is based on abstraction and experimentation. Among his more famous projects is the Basic House which has formed part of the permanent collection at the MOMA in New York since 2007.

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Rambla is available in crisp green, yellow, charcoal and white. Manufactured from steel rod, its contemporary shape reinterprets tradition and the most cosmopolitan Mediterranean lifestyle. The chairs are roomy and comfortable, with relaxing arms and an optional polyurethane foam cushion.

Stackable Tube boasts a distinctive, well-resolved design. Gentle curves defy the industrial origins of the collection which is manufactured from continual steel tube. Available in a sophisticated colour palette of white, blue grey, black, chestnut brown, olive grey and anthracite, Tube is simple and smart, perfect for hospitality projects or residential interiors.

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Tube is the brainchild of Eugeni Quitllet, a designer who is making a huge name for himself in Europe designing for the likes of Vondom, Kartell, and Lexon. With an international career that started with Philippe Stark, Quitllet now runs his own studio in Barcelona. Expressive and unique, Quitllet resists trends, he has been described as a tireless seeker and a lover of technology, defining himself as a ‘dreamsigner’, a designer and dreamer, following his own instinctual process.

 

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Guillermo Santoma’s Casa Magnificent

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Casa Horta, on the outskirts of Barcelona is home to interior and product designer Guillermo Santoma. The 3-storey building has recently been completely refurbished by the maestro who has wasted no time in transforming his space into a sculptural habitat.

The 1920’s building was completely gutted, revealing within its bones hidden volumes and original materials which had been covered by time and less design-oriented occupants. The interior possesses minimalist geometry that Santoma has emphasised with a transcendent colour scheme; pink for the bathroom and kitchen, bottle green for the lobby, blue for the walls and ‘skylight’, all accentuated by pure white staircases.

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At first glance the interior looks like a movie set or a still-life painting by MC Esher. The designer has furnished his home very sparsely, with just the necessities making the cut; a cook top, oven and sink in the kitchen and a toilet, wash basin and shower in the bathroom. There is a sky-light but it’s a painted onto the ceiling, with static pink clouds.

Santoma shares his philosophy on interior design, ‘A place to live is always transformed depending on the needs – the purpose is to live surrounded by something that represents you. Be throughout the construction process, day-by-day, or in the play, I’m continuously rethinking the space’.

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Story Telling

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When it comes to LZF approaching everything they do like it’s a work of fine art, their 2016 marketing campaign Telling Tales, reinforces their place as leaders of the pack.

Telling Tales is a collaboration between a novelist, a design studio, and a film industry set and wardrobe designer. Managed by Ester Colomina and directed down to the last detail by LZF founder Mariví Calvo, the campaign is set in the 1950’s and inspired by the realist painter Edward Hopper whose work depicted scenes of modern American life.

Hopper’s paintings of silent, empty spaces which were often uninhabited by people, have a pervading sense of loneliness. When people were present, their encounters were stilted and uneasy. His paintings reach us where we are most vulnerable, stimulating our own private loneliness, forcing us to acknowledge that we’re only human, fallible flesh and bone.

If my description of Telling Tales sounds melancholic than perhaps it is, but it’s also seductive and very beautiful. Realised in a series of images and short films, the scenes take place at night (in line with Hopper’s own consistent use of a dark palette), where the nocturnal happenings of the characters are illuminated by some of LZF’s choicest lamps.

Mariví’s brief to her collaborators was that the focus be on the people who exist within the space, rather than the space itself. This is an unusual approach and one rarely taken by a company whose market is high-end interiors. What ensued is brilliant; a still-life with lamps, a campaign that is a work of art rather than a glossy advertorial.

Masquespacio Studio art-directed Mariví’s concept through a series of images that illustrate the intricate and subtle relationship between narrated characters, light and the spaces they occupy.

With overtures of Hitchcock and film noir, colours and compositions synonymous with the 1950’s were recreated by photographer Maria Mira, and digital imagers Cauliti Studio. Writer Grasso Toro penned the intriguing, but equally elusive tale of the characters, Julie and Nelson. Read Part I here…

Our interest, or our voyeurism, is sufficiently piqued as we observe Julie and Nelson in their home. We watch them when they think they’re alone, we wonder about them, who are they and what will happen to them, about their problems and about their future. For all our cold detachment in a world full of marketing bombardment, we realise that LZF made us care.

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LZF Lamps, Lucifer Lamps

 

 

 

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Designing The Designers

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Following on from the blog last week about Sancal who’ve recently completed a stunning renovation of their office, we thought the timing perfect to share our own refurbishment here at UFL headquarters on Rosebank Rd. Hark back to May 2014 and enter designers John Lenihan and Ceili Murphy from Auckland based architectural firm, RCG.

Several reasons incited our need for a change; the current office was an awkward size and we required a larger, more efficient space for our expanding team which was almost doubling in size. A contemporary environment that functioned well was vital, as was a beautiful space which aptly represented not only our own established brand but also that of the agencies we exclusively represent here in New Zealand, all of whom are Italian and Spanish furniture manufacturers and purveyors of cutting-edge design.

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We wanted to showcase our own J-Series workstation. The system originated as a table, then a barleaner. The design has proved so popular that we decided to rework it as a workstation. The J-Series can be customised in terms of size, finishes and cable management to suit even the most discerning of clients.

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Key designer pieces that feature in the space include the piece-de-resistance, Link Chain lamp, a customised light that our friends at LZF made especially for our project. We get constant admiration for this piece, and it is the first thing that visitors see as they enter the showroom.

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Our meeting table and chairs are both by Andreu World, the table is the Reverse, and the chairs are Smart. We are in love with our sleek Arper Catifa 46 chairs, which sport black shells on black swivel bases, a style which never fades. The two framed artworks are Losanges Rug by Nanimarquina, and an Anna Kidman photograph.

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Photos by Anna Kidman

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New HQ Oozes Style at Sancal

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Our Spanish friends Sancal, manufacturers of quirky and cool commercial furniture, have recently renovated their headquarters in Yecla. Thinking it high-time their own working environment was as beautiful as clients such as Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Amazon and Visa, they employed interior design firm Taza & Tacillas to work some magic. The designers achieved a fresh, uncluttered and welcoming ‘interior garden’, a metaphysical green space which is lively and inspiring, a place where employees can create and develop without constraint.

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From the upholstery, to the furniture, the paint on the walls and the potted plants which adorn benches and desktops, the whole space embraces colour, function and passion. The company have used the refurbishment to showcase and utilise some of their most endearing product designs, like Tartana domes, Pion tables and stools, REW sofas, lush Tea and Casta chairs, Konoha benches (inspired by leaves), Tonella armchairs, Mandarinas cushions, Tab stools, Nudo tables and Elephant ottomans.

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A green and grey carpet literally leads us down the garden path, as it meanders past pods of workstations which are acoustically ‘enclosed’ by gigantic umbrella-like Tartana canopies. Another mural, this time by Malota, treads the green path with an illustration of over-sized potted plants. A colourful botanical installation by Jesús Galváñ, decorates the kitchen area which also doubles as a meeting room.

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Further incentive for the office makeover was to play catch-up to the 2013 renovation of their factory. Undergoing an utterly gorgeous transformation into a bright, breezy utilitarian space, the revamp commemorated the company’s 40th birthday. Well-known European muralists Agostino Iacurci and Ricardo Cavolo were commissioned to paint ginormous artworks on the walls of the cutting and sewing areas and the mammoth corridor leading to the dining room.

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The recent revamp reveals that Sancal is a company that provides not only a stimulating and carefully planned environment for their employees, but also a beautiful and modern headquarters from which to promote their unique brand and showcase their avant-garde product.

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