From the subtlety of timeless design to iconic pieces that have created household names out of their designers, here are ten pieces from Cult Design Asia that should be on your radar.
7 July, 2020
You can’t ask a parent to pick a favourite child and the same goes for design enthusiasts asked to isolate one single design or piece of furniture as their favourite – it’s an impossible task. Some might say choosing between hundreds of designers and even more products is harder than choosing a favourite out of just a handful of children.
A slightly more reasonable request however, would be to ask a design lover to put together a guide, their top picks in a theme, or a selection of their favourites. This is just what the team at Cult Design Asia has done, with a beautiful collection of their favourite things!
The theme here is great design, and that means the selection isn’t limited to a certain era, location of designers, or typologies. What does unify these pieces is their appearance: this selection of chairs, lights and functional furniture imbues a sense of the well considered yet understated design ethos. They’re not ostentatious pieces, rather they are the pieces that those who know great design will deeply appreciate.
Despite the lightness, elegance and restrained figure of the Elefy chairs, Jaime Hayon was in fact inspired by the elephant. The source of inspiration can be understood through the rounded curves of the seat and frame – and of course the name. The Spanish designer’s celebrated playful style is slightly pulled back here to allow for greater versatility in the range: one can find an Elefy for any occasion or space.
Slender in design yet uncompromising in comfort, the Sia chair was named after its adjustable backrest: sia meaning movement. It could also be taken as somewhat of a poster for the age-old idiom less is more. The design is simple but effective and much more than the sum of its parts: sculptured wood, a light metal frame, and a low-tech swivelling mechanism. Similarly, Tom Fereday’s folio of work shows his preference for design that is simple, honest, and practical.
“Tom Fereday’s work is what the design industry needs more of – rather than the fluffy luxurious repeats that come out of design fairs year after year,” says Ron Sim from Cult.
As the name suggests the Seam chair takes inspiration from the garment making industry and as such, a refined seam runs along the length of the backrest. The seam also marks the meeting of the single sheet of aluminium that is bent, folded and welded to create the seat and back. Form cuts an impressive line but function is no less impactful: made from durable materials and tested to withstand the sun and rain of Singapore, Seam is perfect for outdoor and commercial use, though it sits equally well indoors and at home.
The Coco collection draws on many sources of inspiration and yet the end result is simple, refined and exudes a confidence and clarity of concept. Ultimately post-industrial, Coco also references the industrial simplicity and fashion of the Bauhaus movement. Comfortable yet sturdy, feminine yet playful, pieces within the coco collection have been created to support your interiors not compete with hero elements.
Who could forget the release of the Palissade collection – it took the design world by storm and not much else was talked about by way of product releases that year. And now, five years on this collection by two French brothers for a Danish brand is still making our best of lists. Strong without being bulky, elegant without being fragile, this collection morphs the Bouroullec brothers’ penchant for beautiful, sculptural pieces into a highly functional, durable and affordable range of outdoor furniture.
Few may know that the Molloy chair was in fact the genesis product and among first designs from Adam Goodrum for the collection that would later famously become the NAU brand. The rounded joinery between the various pieces of timber create a handsome and understated chair at the dining table. Moreover, the design concept is a nod to the meeting of two rivers that then form the Molloy River in Western Australia – a place close to Goodrum and his family.
Another design by Adam Goodrum and a second mention of the iconic Australian brand Tait, the Volley range of chairs employs a distinct use of rope, netted steel mesh and a modern shape that, since 2012, has seen the range instantly recognisable in many residential, hospitality, indoor and outdoor settings.
Since the iconic Bertoia chair designed by Harry Bertoia in the 1950s, wire chairs have enjoyed a steady representation on the market, however none compare the comfort Goodrum offers in the Volley range.
“A testament that Goodrum approaches his work with care and consideration beyond trends,” says Ron Sim from Cult.
The New Order shelving system is suitable for the kitchen, living room and office. In the near decade since German industrial designer Stefan Diez first designed the system for the popular and playful Danish brand HAY, these spaces have become increasingly blurred. Although it may look simple, the true design enthusiast is well aware that in most cases the simplest designs belie extensive research and development, engineering, and design resolutions – and New Order is no exception.
“A New Order bookcase will last you decades. No, really – decades!” Says Ravi Shankar from Cult.
Variations abound but nothing will ever outdo the timelessly elegant, original Multi-Lite designed in 1972 by architect Louis Weisdorf. The rotating outer shades of the pendant lamp allow for it to be used in a wide variety of situations that require functional or ambient lighting, or both. Furthermore, the individually rotating shades can direct light upwards or downwards.
“I like to leave the shades with one side up and one side down – a position that allows you to fully appreciate the intricacy of what originally looks like a humble pendant lamp,” says Ravi Shankar of Cult.
Jørn Utzon’s lifelong fascination with ships and boats is subtle yet clearly evident in the pendant light he designed for &Tradtion more than a decade before his perhaps most famous work – the Sydney Opera House. Although his architectural icon in Australia may, at times, draw the focus away from his full body of work, this pendant – the only Utzon piece still in commercial production – serves as a reminder of the cross-disciplinary talent of many designers and architects across the globe.
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