Tag Archives: Spain

The Funny Farmer

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Our latest obsession is this guy, Isidro Ferrer, the Spanish surrealist illustrator and graphic designer who recently collaborated with LZF Lamps to create a madcap menagerie in miniature, aptly named Funny Farm.

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Produced in timber, with the FSC tick of approval, these strangely wonderful little beasties are sure to become a collectors’ items. There is Atom Ant, Big Bird, Dolly, Grumpy Goat, He & She Monkey, New Yorker, Mad Mouse, Octo, Penny Gwin, Ronny Rhino, Sheepdog, and Toro the bull to name but a few.

lzf-funny-farm-atomic-ant1LZF (formally Luzifer), long-time admirers of Ferrer’s work, had previously employed him to re-brand their logo in 2008, (a lamp with little horns and a forked tail of course). This time around, their brief was simple; there was no brief, no conditions, no rules, and no guidelines. Absolute freedom. For a man who had built a hugely successful career on reinterpreting ordinary, everyday objects and exploring their meaning through photography, sculpture and typography, this must have been a dream come true.

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In Ferrer’s words, “…On the one hand, I knew right away that I would use wood and that the richness of the colours of LZF’s lamps would be present in the project. On the other hand, I was looking to develop something unique and original, something completely different from what LZF had been doing until then. I began to experiment with the shape and the look of their lamps, and began to play with small wooden pieces inspired by the morphology of their products. My experiments led me to a peculiar, funny family made up of nineteen wooden animals, including, among others, monkeys, a fish with legs, elephants and rabbits. That was when I knew I had created the Funny Farm”.

LZF Octo Funny Farm by Isidro Ferrer & LZF LabFerrer is living proof that surrealism and the art of strange is literally alive and kicking in Spain, and although Dali may be the grandfather of the movement, it is not his exclusively. Ferrer views the world in a highly original way, yet it is also relatable, because his imagery is many things, including funny, playful and light-hearted. One cannot help but come away after an encounter with Ferrer’s work without seeing the world a little differently too.

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His career has been likened to the greats like Pierre Mendell, Armin Hofmann and Anthon Beeke, and he’s designed everything from posters to cultural branding, book illustrations for adults and children, comics, to cartoons for television and packaging. Recipient of the National Design Award, Ferrer’s most standout work includes that for the National Drama Centre, graphic design for the Luis Buñuel centenary and his work for the newspaper El País.

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The Padre Rubinos Institute

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Famous philanthropist Amancio Ortega, founder of Spanish fashion label Zara, established The Amancio Ortega Foundation in 2001. The foundations purpose is to endorse charitable projects within Spain, offering assistance to the country’s poorest and most vulnerable citizens. Particular emphasis is placed on education and social aid, like food, medicine and housing.

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Recently the charity built The Padre Rubinos Institute in A Coruña, a multi-purpose municipal centre which is a haven for those in need. The Institute provides a wide range of community services, including a day centre for the elderly, a playschool, classrooms, multipurpose areas, public parks and even a hostel.

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Folk by Rafa Garcia

Designed by Elsa Urquijo Arquitectos & Tattoo Contract, the designers have achieved with the institute what every community space should be but so often isn’t; serene yet functional, with an overall air of tranquility. The designer’s specified white both internally and externally, with contrast provided in the form of natural wooden accents within the building, and landscaped green spaces with grass and trees outside, all of which harmonize to create a feeling of peace and well-being.

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In such a multipurpose building, the furniture needs to be adaptable. Sancal collaborated with the Institute to include some of their most functional yet elegant pieces. Designer furniture is not something that jumps to mind when one thinks of a public space founded by a charitable foundation, but that’s part of the reason this Institute is such a success, and proves that designer furniture and architecture is not the sole right of the wealthy and privileged.

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Furniture includes the fun Party sofa by Luis Eslava, quirky cool Tab Tables by Nadadora, the popular Folk sofa by Rafa Garcia and the comforting Soul armchair also by Garcia.

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Soul by Rafa Garcia

Although solemn social issues oversee the reason for this building, the overall design refuses to walk in these shoes. The Padre Rubinos is one altruistic space that is fresh, modern and beautiful to behold.

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Tab by Nadadora

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Sancal’s Sound of Music

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Until recently the Spanish HQ of Sony Music was located in a dilapidated building harking from the 1980’s (think tiny offices and lots of beige) on Madrid’s city fringe. Sony’s powerful brand identity was distorted by the site and the staff were hampered by operational problems caused by the dated interiors; a chronic misuse of space, no ability to accommodate future strategies, and a lack of meeting rooms and breakout spaces. In short, a complete overhaul was long overdue.

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Enter British architecture firm AECOM’s Strategy Plus Team. And, a shiny new locale in Paseo de la Castellana at the heart of Madrid’s CBD. AECOM’s mission was to create an uplifting, modern environment that embodied Sony’s values and the digital age of music, inviting a more sociable and ABW environment. AECOM have fostered a reputation for creating innovative spaces that increase productivity, collaboration and culture.

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The strategy AECOM enlisted was to shift the internal culture away from isolated work zones, to a highly collaborative space with music at its heart. AECOM delivered an integrated and flexible office, one which enables recording artists and the label’s support teams to work closely together, including an in-house amphitheater for artists, the press, clients and employee’s for performances and events.

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Sony HQ has been drenched in a vivid colour palette and playful furniture by Spanish manufacturer Sancal, known for their off-the-wall, trend-setting styles. Pieces include the Boomerang Chill lounge chair, Tab occasional tables, Tea lounge chairs, Chat ottomans and Pion stools. The pieces are small works of art, little offerings of form and function within this hub of spirited creativity. The icing on the cake, where Sony’s employees take ownership of their brand, living and loving it every day.

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Photo credits Manolo Yllera

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Pink Gins and the Domino Effect

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Our friends at LZF know how to soiree and with the Spanish summer in full swing they thought the time was nigh to host a party. Every good party strengthens and builds relationships and LZF’s guest list comprised of interior designers who work within the Valencian hotel industry.

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The perfect venue is as important as the who’s who attending, so the back of LZF’s factory was selected to play host to the gathering. Now when I think of a party at the back of a factory I think of everyone jostling around a small square of dead grass, dodging old tyres and dead cars.

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Nevertheless as the guests descended the stairs from the old winery that is LZF HQ, they emerged into a spectacular walled garden veiled in dappled light, an oasis of calm in the oppressive Spanish summer heat. The trees were abundantly decorated in Agatha, Chou and Escape lamps, which set a mellow, fairy-tale atmosphere once the sun dropped below the horizon. No party is complete without lashings of food washed down with blackberry gin and tonics, watermelon daiquiris and classic mojitos, and guests whiled the evening away beneath the canopy of the trees lit up by a spectacular suspension lamp installation.

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Escape is based on a game of dominoes. The domino effect in lighting consists of a chain of self-supporting squares falling into a ring of light. This inspired piece creates a domino circle caught in a constant state of gravity defiant falling.

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In 1994 LZF started designing and manufacturing hand-made wood-veneer lamps from a small studio in Valencia’s historic centre. Since that time they’ve grown to become one of the world’s most respected boutique lighting companies. For the past 20-years the LZF team has enjoyed all the challenges of business, the ups and downs, the friendships forged, and the sheer act of creating beautiful light.

 
Switch on.

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Grass is Greener at Poncelet

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Barcelona has a new eatery located in the Hotel Melia Sarria. Something of a unique culinary concept, Poncelet is a cheese bar inspired by its successful predecessor in Madrid. The interior covers a 400m2 footprint which has been transformed into a smart, quirky zone by designer Jose Manual Ferrero, and is reminiscent of a garden party or sunny picnic due to a floor of green marble, with tiles and rugs adorned with the images of cows, goats and sheep who are the stars of the show.

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A green wall and planters by Vondom add to the fresh outdoorsy vibe, as does the majority of the upholstery which is in shades of green.

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The large upbeat space features a library, full of books on everything you could ever want to know about cheese and the dining area has been worked into a variety of different settings with furniture from Sancal and Andreu World. Aptly chosen for the space, there is the honeycomb inspired Tea chair and stool, the serene Ronda chair, Casta like a deck chair from the 80’s, sublime Pion and fat comfy Talo which is perfect for loosening ones top button in if your tasting session gets out of hand.
So if you’re in Spain and a fan of cheese, be sure to check out Poncelet.

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Photo credits – German Cabo

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LZF Lighting: Straight from the Workshop

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Lzf loaded its first handmade movie onto Youtube in September 2009. Since then it has received over half a million views and has been used on many blogs around the world as an example of an artisanal design process. This new video takes you into the LZF workshop showing the new models and gives you a glimpse of the creative process.

See the hands on approach in the planning, revising and finally assemble of the lights, as LZF endeavours to give life to wood through light. All LZF fixtures are handmade in Valencia, Spain, using our Timberlite® wooden veneers meaning every fixture is unique and special.

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