Design Magazine

Shiro Kuramata’s Miss Blanche armchair breaks world record at auction

Japanese designer Shiro Kuramata's 1989 Miss Blanche chair has sold for its highest ever price during an auction at Sotheby's London.
The cast-resin Miss Blanche armchair fetched £269,000 as part of the 20th Century Design sale, which totalled over £2.5 million.
Many of the furniture and lighting items brought in well over their estimated value. American designer Harry Bertoia's 1966 Dandelion Sculpture and Austrian artist Franz West's 2006 Divan sofa both almost doubled predicted sale prices.
VorteXX hanging light by architects Zaha Hadid and Patrick Schumacher was the auction's top lighting saleLondon is fast turning into the global centre for the collectible design market, with sales growing, new galleries opening and auction records tumbling. Yesterday's auction was Sotheby's first design sale in the city for five years.
"With London now one of the great design capitals of the world, it was the perfect moment for us to relaunch our sales," said Cecile Verdier, Sotheby's European head of design. "The interest in the sale was truly global, with buyers on the top ten lots from England, France and the US, a reflection of London's place as a hub for international design."

Related story: London is becoming "the most important place for collectable design" say galleristsAlso sold at yesterday's auction were pieces by Australian designer Marc Newson, whose Lockheed Lounge retained its title as the world's most expensive design object earlier this year.
Marc Newson's pair of Extruded Chairs raised £87,500Newson's 2006 Small Lathed Table fetched £50,000, while a pair of his Extruded Chairs from the same year raised £87,500.
The VorteXX hanging light by architects Zaha Hadid and Patrick Schumacher sold for £106,250, the most for a lighting product.
"The overwhelming majority of the successful bidders were private collectors from Europe and the US, with many lots going to first time buyers," said a statement from Sotheby's.
Newson's Small Lathed Table was also auctioned off, selling for £50,000A design auction also took place the previous day at rival London house Christie's. Top lots included a rare 1919 sideboard by De Stijl designer Gerrit Rietveld, which raised £194,500 – more than double its highest estimate of £80,000.
Kuramata's Miss Blanche chair is named after the main protagonist in Tennessee William's 1949 play A Street Car Named Desire. It is formed from clear resin blocks with flowers cast inside, and sits on pink tubular legs.
In 1997, an edition of the design was auctioned at Christie's for £46,000.
Last month a dining table by Denmark's late Peder Moos broke the world auction record for a piece of Nordic design, selling for over £600,000 at London's Phillips.
In 2014, French house Artcurial dedicated an entire sale to work by London-based Ron Arad, which it said was the first auction of its kind dedicated to a single contemporary designer.
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Monotype designs Eric Gill typeface using previously unpublished drawings

Type foundry Monotype has used long-hidden drawings by British designer Eric Gill to create the first new typeface based on his work in more than 75 years.
Joanna Nova typeface is based on the Eric Gill Joanna and has 18 stylesThe Joanna Sans Nova design is part of the Eric Gill Series – a trio of releases that also includes updated editions of typefaces from the 1920s and 1930s. Joanna Sans Nova was created as a sans serif complement for Gill's slab serif typeface Joanna.

Related story: Neville Brody designs bespoke typefaces for Channel 4 rebrandDesigner Terrance Weinzierl used previously unpublished drawings, penned by Gill and stored in the company's archive, to create a design that would stay true to the British designer's intentions.
Gill Sans Nova typeface includes 43 fonts and is one of the three developed for the Eric Gill series"I wanted my design to appear familiar but still look fresh," said Weinzierl. "My goal was to achieve a balance of simplicity, beauty, and usability. I've always been a fan of Gill's work, and I found the simple, humanist qualities of Joanna really fitting for a sans design."
It's the first release from the type house based on its library of heritage material, which includes original drawings for typefaces, unpublished designs, and copper patterns used in initial production.
The Joanna Sans Nova design is part of the a trio of releases that includes updated editions of typefaces from the 1920s and 1930s"Some people care greatly for the past 100 years, while others prefer to know what's happening in the next 100," Monotype creative director James Fooks-Bale told Dezeen.

Related story: Miró Foundation's sculptural roof informs typography for 40th anniversary"The Eric Gill Series is what I'd like to refer to as a living narrative, not static and we're a small part in its evolution since the 1920s," he added.
Designer Terrance Weinzierl used previously unpublished drawings by Eric Gill to develop a new typefaceThe series' other two releases, Gill Sans Nova and Joanna Nova, are expanded and updated versions of the artist's celebrated 1920s and 30s designs Gill Sans and Joanna. Both typefaces have been given additional language support, weights and characters.
Eric Gill, who died in 1940, is perhaps best known for his Gill Sans design, prominently used by British Railways and Penguin Books.
Gills Sans Nova comes in a range of weights for roman, italic and condensed with alternate charactersIt first appeared as letters painted by the designer over a Bristol bookshop, before he was commissioned by Monotype to develop it into a full typeface.
To celebrate the release of all three typefaces, Monotype is hosting a exhibition at London's Truman Brewery from 4 to 10 November 2015.
Greek and Cyrillic are the accompanying italic for the Joanna Sans NovaThe show brings together Gill-related drawings and test prints from the company's archive, as well as historic materials from the Letterform Archive, Ditchling Museum and Penguin Books. Visitors can also "set" giant letters on a magnetic wall.
Monotype has partnered with local brewery Five Points to produce Sans Light and Ultra Bold craft beers, with label designs featuring the typefaces.
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Marc Newson designs matching kettle and toaster for Sunbeam

Designer Marc Newson has created a range of colourful kitchen appliances for his first collaboration with Australian brand Sunbeam (+ slideshow).
The brushed stainless steel kettle and toaster come in an array of glossy colours, which Sunbeam said deliver "an unrivalled sensory experience".

Related story: Marc Newson's Lockheed Lounge sets new record at auctionBoth products in the Sunbeam Marc Newson range feature rounded edges and circular controls, and have been designed to be "classic and futuristic".

"Being Australian, I appreciate Sunbeam as an iconic brand that has been part of our kitchen history for many decades," commented Newson, who has designed everything from shotguns to samurai swords.
"It made perfect sense for me to become involved not only from the perspective of a designer but also as a consumer," the London-based designer added.
The toaster has a flat stainless steel top, brightly coloured tapered sides and an extra-wide crumb tray.

The flat-topped kettle features a round body, resting on a circular black base, and an arched handle. A coloured section covers the top of the appliance, which has a seal construction to make sure steam doesn't escape.

Related story: Marc Newson helped trigger a "manufacturing revolution" at Nike, says CEO Mark ParkerThe kettle is turned on and off by a semi-circular tab-shaped button at the base of the appliance.
Both designs can be ordered the collection in green, blue, orange, yellow, black, red or white versions.

"My aim with the Sunbeam Marc Newson range was to create something that was simultaneously classic and futuristic," said Newson.
Earlier this year, Naoto Fukasawa designed a range of minimal kitchenware for Muji that also included a kettle and toaster.

Newson, who is now part of Apple's design team, has worked on several collaborations this year, including a partnership with German brand Montblanc to create a range of pens featuring nibs plated with rare metals.
He stirred debate in Dezeen's comment section after incorporating mammoth-ivory handles in an £82,000 limited edition tea set for Danish metalware brand Georg Jensen.
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Moooi refreshes Container Table collection by wrapping the base with wooden slats

Extra Moooi: in this movie filmed in Amsterdam, Moooi co-founder Marcel Wanders explains why the Dutch brand launched a new version of his Container Table featuring a base covered with wooden slats.
Container Table by Marcel Wanders for MoooiMarcel Wanders' Container Table for Moooi, which was first launched in 2002, features a hollow tapered base, which can be filled with water or sand to provide stability for the screw-on top.
"It's light when you transport it and heavy and stable when you use it," Wanders says in the movie.
Container Table Bodhi by Marcel Wanders for MoooiThe original table features a plastic base, but Moooi launched an updated version at the Salone del Mobile furniture fair in Milan this year called Container Table Bodhi, where the tapered base is wrapped with vertical wooden slats.

"The container table has been an important icon for the brand," Wanders says. "More and more we've seen that other companies have 'similar inspiration', which is a bit complicated for us, of course. So we try to further develop the concept."

The table features a linoleum top, while the slats and trim around the edge of the table top are made from oak. Wanders says the table's more natural look expands the range of settings the Container Table collection can be used in.

Related story: Moooi unveils 2015 furniture and homeware collection"It still contains the water for the stability and all that, but has a completely different look," he says. "It's a stylistic difference which allows the table to go into different projects, which is very important for us."

Container Table Bodhi is the latest addition to Moooi's Container Table collection, which is available in a variety different colour, size and shape combinations.
Container Table New Antiques by Marcel Wanders for MoooiIn 2011, the brand launched a version of the table called Container Table New Antiques, which features a curved ornamental base.
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"The original Container Table is still today a unique table in the world I think," Wanders says. "It's a wonderful collection that allows you to have all the tables you need in one beautiful typology."
Moooi co-founder Marcel WandersThis movie was filmed at Moooi's Amsterdam showroom. The music featured is a track called Aglow by US artist RyIm.
The movie is part of our year-long Extra Moooi collaboration, which sees us working with Moooi in Milan, New York, London and Amsterdam to get under the skin of the brand, its products and designers. Read all the stories at www.dezeen.com/moooi.
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Itay Ohaly’s scratchable vases reveal hidden colours

Israeli designer Itay Ohaly has created a set of three black vases that can be etched to reveal colourful hidden layers beneath.

Ohaly took the idea for the design from etchings he created as a child – scratching off a dark coating from coloured paper to reveal the different hues underneath.

To recreate this effect, the designer covered the vases with several layers of paint, separated by an oil layer. Drawings can be engraved into their surfaces to reveal glimpses of pink, yellow and blue underneath.

The project is a continuation of Ohaly's Colored Memories installation, which was presented at Israel's Design Museum Holon in 2014. Visitors were invited to scrape drawings into walls and furnishings to reveal the coloured layers beneath.

Related story: Color Rings by Itay OhalyOhaly previously used layers of paint for his Color Rings jewellery collection, which was carved from wood covered in sections of coloured acrylic paint.

"In this project I continue with my exploration into the colour etching technique," Ohaly told Dezeen.

"I wanted to apply this technique to objects and I was interested in bringing this kind of aesthetics into peoples home. Furthermore, By using manual etching, I am trying to play and explore a kind of irregular, ongoing and evolving doodles which create unique overall patterns."

The collection of angular vases is available in three sizes: a taller version with a slender neck, a shorter vessel, and a squat square-shaped bowl. Ohaly has decorated the objects himself, to show how they'd look when semi or completely covered in engravings.

"The simple illustrated details might look naive and simple, however, I think that the dense overall look doesn't seem childish at all," he said. "I didn't envision it for children, but for cheerful adults."

Other unusual vases include a range of "upside-down" glass vessels that create a kaleidoscope when filled with flowers, and a collection of radioactive vases formed from reclaimed toxic waste.
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Benjamin Wiessner animates a vintage jazz club for David Gilmour’s music video

Music: producer Benjamin Wiessner referred to the design of old French lithograph posters to create this multi-layered illustrated video for ex-Pink Floyd musician David Gilmour.

Around 9,000 frames of hand-drawn animation went into creating the short film to accompany The Girl in the Yellow Dress, which tells the story of a woman dressed in yellow paying a visit to a jazz club.

"David Gilmour's creative team had seen our previous short film and were drawn to the dimensionality and movement in that style, so they asked if we'd bring a similar technique to their song," Wiessner, a producer at Ornana Films, told Dezeen.

Related story: Satan's fall from heaven retold as an animation for David Gilmour's Rattle That Lock music videoThe film opens on illustrated type, which is blown away from the lens to reveal a jazz band – drawn with purposefully sketchy and perpetually shifting lines.

Their conversation reveals that the distracted saxophone player is waiting for a girl to arrive at the club they're performing in – based on a live-action film shoot Wiessner oversaw, and which provided a reference for the freehand drawings.

Moving to the exterior of the jazz club, a pair of alleycats watch a mysterious coated lady enter the club, who reveals herself to be the eponymous girl in the yellow dress.

As she walks past the club-goers, her dress is reflected in their eyes. A man wearing a panama hat sits smoking, while the animation itself shifts like liquid or smoke from one person to another.

"The animation was touched by several hands to get the layered contours, vibrant colours, and exaggerated character design of old French Lithograph posters," said Wiessner. "We wanted to create a moving version of that look, as if each frame had all the layers stamped on the page."

"We animated with pencil, then contour lines were gone over with a brush tip marker," he added. "We used gouache to get nice life in the varying brushstrokes, then we layered the contours over the paint layer in the compositing step so that the colours would do interesting things when they ran together."

The film gives viewers insights into the daydreams of each of the club-goers as they imagine dancing with the woman.

As one individual lights a cigarette she is momentarily transformed into a flame on the end of a matchstick before it is dropped by the man and he burns himself.

Finally the woman moves to the dance floor with the man in the panama hat, and the film focuses on her eyes as she looks at the sad saxophone player over his shoulder.

After the dance concludes the woman storms out, with her dress reflected in the band leader's eyes as she goes.

Gilmour – who was previously a guitarist in progressive rock band Pink Floyd – released his Rattle That Lock Album on 18 September 2015.

Dezeen previously featured the artist's Rattle That Lock video, which used animation to re-tell Satan's fall from heaven.
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Joe Doucet encourages westerners to drink sake with SŌTŌ bottle design

New York designer Joe Doucet created the packaging and branding for a new brand of sake, including a dimpled glass bottle designed to represent the mountains of Japan's Niigata Prefecture.
The sake is named SŌTŌ, which means "outside" in Japanese, and is made in Japan using only local materials. The water used to produce the drink is sourced from Niigata, so the region's terrain influenced the bottle's design.

"We wanted the packaging to be 100 per cent produced in Japan and of the quality associated with Japanese craft," Doucet told Dezeen. "We therefore used bottles made in Japan of Japanese glass."
His challenge was to design the bottle and branding for the Japanese alcoholic drink – made using fermented rice and koji mould – for a western audience.

"We saw this as an opportunity to take the fear and dread out of ordering a sake," said Doucet. "To bring this beautifully complex spirit to the rest of the world."

Related story: Sempli aims to provide "ultimate beer glasses" with Monti collectionThe packaging design is intended to respect and reinterpret the traditional sake bottle, which typically features a paper wrapper around its lid.
"The bottle needed to feel at once traditional but new," Doucet said. "I wanted to be respectful of Japanese culture and aesthetics without mimicking it."

A square of Japanese denim replaces the decorative wrapper that protects the cap of finer sakes. The paper is usually just disposed of, but the denim can be used as a functional element in the drinking experience.
"The denim topper is removed, used to wipe condensation from the chilled bottle and is then used as a coaster to rest the bottle on leaving no ring on fine surfaces," Doucet told Dezeen.
New material choices and technologies were used to ensure that the drink can be served chilled in North America. A water-resistant label replaces the usual paper sticker and a UV coating protects the sake from sunlight.

"Great sake must be served cold," said Doucet. "In North America chilled beverages are served in ice buckets. This meant a paper label was out of the question."
"We chose to do a 360-degree silkscreen, which allowed a full canvas to lay out the copy in a new and interesting way that no spirit has done before," he added.
The opaque label has a hole on either side, allowing the consumer to see straight through the bottle. The text – in English and Japanese – is laid out asymmetrically.

In another renewed take on sake drinking, Kazuya Koike used a fragrant Japanese wood to carve a set of sake cups that fit onto carafes as caps.
Other projects from Doucet include a solid birch chair with a silicone tubular backrest that flexes to the shape of the sitter, a limited-edition collection of "snap fit" marble tables and a mirror that makes the viewer look as if they're immersed in water.
Photography is by Kendall Mills.
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Martin Jakobsen designs spherical Quido cocktail glass

Czech designer Martin Jakobsen has created a globe-shaped cocktail glass that keeps liquids contained with a giant silicone stopper (+ slideshow).
The Quido vessel features two glass straws that are held in round puncture-holes in the top of the receptacle, which is hand-blown in the Czech Republic.

A black silicon stopper in the side of the glass can be removed to add drinks, and replaced again to ensure against accidental spillages.

Related story: Sempli aims to provide "ultimate beer glasses" with Monti collectionSan Francisco design duo Superduperstudio also opted for a spill-proof approach with their Saturn wine glasses, which have indented bases instead of traditional stems.
By enclosing the drink entirely, the Quido glass keeps flavours and scents contained as well as preventing insects from getting in.

The designer – who set up his studio Jakobsen Design in 2010 – has created various pieces of unusual glassware over the years, including the Luno container that features a ball of cork as a lid.
His Halm cocktail glass – a precursor to Quido – allows drinks to be served upside down by balancing on its stopper, while his Revolution wine glass lets the drinker hold the vessel either horizontally or vertically.

After working with bartenders from around the world, Jakobsen "further innovated" the original upside-down Halm design to create the double-strawed Quido, which has its stopper positioned at the side of the glass instead of the bottom.

Related story: Alliance glass collection encourages drinkers to match wine with water"As [designer] William Morris said: 'Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful'," Jakobsen told Dezeen.

"I tried to design a glass which is not only a result of experience and further development but still fits into my collection of glassware," he added.
Photography is by Anna Pleslova.
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Make That Studio designs minimal version of traditional Sicilian jug

Italian design office Make That Studio has unveiled a jug based on the water-smoothed shapes of riverbed pebbles (+ slideshow).

The oval jug takes its cues from an ancient Sicilian container that dates back hundreds of years and was typically used to store oil or water – although it is now mostly sold as a souvenir in the district of Caltagirone.

The distinguishing feature of the jug is a stoppered funnel that leads up from the base, allowing it to be filled from the bottom.
Traditionally the container was conical-shaped and featured a protruding side spout. But Make That Studio referred to the water-smoothed shapes of pebbles found in the Simeto – the main river that runs through Sicily – for its redesign. Its version is named Pètra.

Like its predecessor, the ceramic container has a hole in the bottom that means it can be filled from an inverted position, as well as a single puncture hole in one side that allows liquid to be poured in a thin stream.

Related story: Aldo Bakker takes over Amsterdam exhibition space with just five jugs"We wanted to give a new life to the aesthetics of this jug, creating a contemporary tableware accessory that represents the history of the Sicilian island, characterised by countless cultural influences," said the studio, who work across a range of disciplines including graphic design, art direction and styling.

The limited-edition jugs are available in both glossy white and matt stone from Prontabarre, and come as numbered pieces.

Other designers have also dabbled with reinventing jugs for contemporary audiences. Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola reinterpreted a Basque jug design for Bilbao restaurants, retaining its distinctive slanted shape, while Ian Aandersson purposefully deformed traditional shapes to increase functionality.
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Jessica Smarsch transforms muscle movements into textured garments

Dutch Design Week 2015: Eindhoven designer Jessica Smarsch used digitally captured body movements to inform the raised patterns across the clothes in this fashion collection.
To create the shapes of her Constructing Connectivity range, Smarsch attached a wireless armband to participants to record their movements and relayed the data through an Arduino circuit board.
The information was then fed into a specially developed software programme that visualises the movements as a series of on-screen graphic patterns.

By changing their movements, armband-wearers could alter the animated shapes to influence the final patterns, which were downloaded as a series of instructions for a loom.

Related story: The Unseen creates "coded couture" to read wearers' auras"Rhythm and repetition are key components to the textile making process and are also the aspects that contribute to its association with mind-body connectivity," said Smarsch, who graduated from a masters programme at Design Academy Eindhoven this year.

"In some cases, participants mimicked the literal motions of the weaving process, but with abstracted props," she told Dezeen. "Finally these props were developed into a simple modular tool set. These components have variations in weight, flexibility – some even make sound – and can be customised by the user."
Digital files of the patterns were read by industrial looms at TextieLab, and translated into textiles that featured a mix of fibres woven together. By washing the material, the fibres became agitated and constricted to create a textured outcome.

For the first collection, the designer collaborated with dancer Ron Duiker to create a series of patterns that were transformed into a range of seven shirts.
"The graphics were fine-tuned through several iterations of movement before we achieved a desirable set of outcomes," the designer said.

Although Smarsch has a professional background in textiles, she told Dezeen that the project posed significant technical challenges.

Related story: Francis Bitonti creates pixellated 3D-printed shoes using cellular automation"We are so used to pushing a button and getting immediate, flawless feedback," she said. "We take this for granted, but these flawless results are incredibly complex and highly designed."

"Starting from the bottom-up with the electrodes and Arduino, I was able to understand how these systems work – and how complex the process would be to create a working model."
The designer sees the project as an opportunity to re-introduce craftsmanship, and reconsider the production process by creating a system based around genuine demand rather than "mindless consumption".
"Textile making was a meditative way of working that required creative engagement and purposeful decision making," she told Dezeen.

"After working in the textile industry for many years, I felt that there was quite a disconnection between this way of working and the industrial process."
"Rather than return to craft through handiwork, I wanted to explore ways to reintegrate mind-body connectivity into our incredibly sophisticated, industrially mechanised processes," she added.
Smarsch is currently speaking to a potential industrial textile partner, and is hoping to develop the software and hardware into a system that may be accessible to all.

The clothes will be exhibited at Design Academy Eindhoven as part of Dutch Design Week, which takes place from 17 to 25 October.
Designer Brooke Roberts similarly used biological data in a collection of clothes, turning MRI brain scans and medical imagery into patterns for women's knitwear.
Electronics and programming was provided by Marco van Nieuwenhoven and Sami Sabik. Photography is by Lisa Klappe.
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