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Cubes Magazine
Cubes Magazine

Barel Forges Ahead into the Asian Market

Leveraging on a heritage of more than 60 years of craftsmanship, Italian furniture brand Barel brings the art of forged iron into the Asian Market.

  • Ming dining table and Ming coffee table by Jarrod Lim

  • Ming dining table by Jarrod Lim

  • Pamplona table by Elio Garis

  • Compasso extendable dining table by Elio Garis

  • Compasso dining table by Elio Garis

  • Calice planter (left) by Simone Micheli and Suono table (right) by Luisa Bocchietto

  • Onda Rettangolo bed by Simone Micheli

  • Onda Due bed by Elio Garis

  • Clessidra pouf by Simone Micheli

BY Asih Jenie

26 April, 2017

What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘Italian furniture’? Impeccably crafted pieces made of quality materials like marble, wood and leather? Now you can add iron to that list. A new Italian brand has landed on Singapore’s shores, and it brings with it the beauty of forged iron tempered by more than 60 years of craftsmanship.

Founded by entrepreneurial husband and wife Augusto and Wilma Barel in 1956, Barel is a furniture brand specialising in beds and furnishings made with forged iron and brass. Today the brand is managed by the third generation of the family and employs a team of 25 artisans in its factory in Mondovi.

This year marks Barel’s sixty-first year in the business and its first in the Asian market. The company has partnered with boutique agency H+A Holdings to open a show space at the Krislite Building near Changi Airport.

“Singapore is the gate to Asia – the fastest growing market in the world. Of course we should have a presence here,” said Rodolfo Barel at the brand’s launch last Friday. Rodolfo is Augusto’s grandson, who at 25 is managing the company with his sister Veronica.

Barel’s Asian connection started a little earlier. Last year the brand was introduced to Singaporean designer Jarrod Lim. Sparks flew and collaboration was born. Says Lim, “I was intrigued by their method of forging iron. I’ve never designed something produced like that before.”

The result of the collaboration was the Ming tables, which were launched and displayed alongside pieces designed by Barel’s long-time Italian collaborators at the Salone del Mobile earlier this month in Milan. Ming features a hand-forged iron structure and blade-topped extendable table top in wood. Ming is also available in rounded and coffee table versions with marble, laminate or glass tops.

“Iron will always remain the core materials of our products, but we offer plenty of room for customisation – we’re not a mass-producing company,” said Rodolfo.

Some of the eye-catching pieces displayed in the Singapore showroom are the tables Pamplona and Compasso, and the beds Onda Due and Onda Retanggolo. Designed by Barel Art Director Elio Garis, both Compasso and Pamplona feature a sculptural forged iron base while Onda Due (also designed by Garis) features a sculptural membrane structure headrest. Onda Retanggolo (designed by Simone Micheli) has a bookcase as its headrest and appears to be floating thanks to its cantilevered structure. Ming will join the collection later this year.

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