TIME & STYLE DESIGN TALKS DURING MILAN DESIGN WEEK 2023
On the occasion of Milan Design Week 2023, designboom joined Time & Style in a series of conversations with collaborative designers and architects, including Kengo Kuma, Claesson Koivisto Rune, DRILL DESIGN, and Aoi Huber Kono. These Design Talks explored the latest furniture pieces between these creators and the Japanese furniture manufacturers, the background of the partnerships, and how traditional craft techniques were enhanced with a contemporary outlook.
Watch some of the highlights of the Design Talks between the designers, Ryutaro Yoshida, CEO of Time & Style, and Birgit Lohmann, designboom founder – above.
(from left to right) Kengo Kuma, Birgit Lohmann, designboom founder, and Ryutaro Yoshida, CEO of Time & Style
KA SOFA BY KENGO KUMA
Following the earlier MA sofa, architect Kengo Kuma continues his collaboration with the Japanese furniture manufacturer with the KA sofa. Influenced by the wordplay, kaku-kaku, denoting ‘angular’ in Japanese, the design references this origin in its form. Its triangular prism-shaped backrest runs horizontally as if a range of mountains on the sofa’s flat seat.
The new KA sofa is a combination of kaku-kaku textures and the triangular shape, design by Kengo Kuma
KA sofa by Kengo Kuma, here with textile inspired by moss and seaweed
For a new release during Milan Design Week 2023, the KA sofa’s angular silhouette has been upholstered in a textile inspired by moss and seaweed. By scanning the natural materials, the data was processed to knit a three-dimensional textile that replicates the visual qualities and richness. The result achieves a wavy tactility to the sofa’s surfaces, only realized by hand-cutting by expert artisans.
KA sofa by Kengo Kuma in the Time & Style presentation during Milan Design Week 2023
‘Kombu is a seaweed with a texture that is not flat but also not rough. We created a fabric that reveals a similar texture as it. The secret qualities of the seaweed is combined in a way to achieve the best tension, aesthetic and depth,‘ adds Kuma. ‘We tried many different strengths to achieve this kind of randomness of Kombu. It is through this experimentation that we realized a fabric with the same qualities, strength and comfort.’
The KA sofa has wavy tactility that is only realized by hand-cutting by expert artisans
kombu texture detail of KA sofa by Kengo Kuma | image © designboom
Kombu | image courtesy Kengo Kuma
DROP PAPER LAMP BY Claesson Koivisto Rune
When designing the interiors for the K5 Tokyo hotel, Claesson Koivisto Rune (CKR) created a paper lantern that was conceived to add an intimate light to the spaces. The original design of the Drop Paper lamp grew in typologies and different sizes to suit various uses.
‘As part of the design of the K5 hotel in Tokyo, we also wanted to create five furniture pieces. These were manufactured by Time & Style, including the lantern that then became the Drop Paper lamp,‘ says Ola Rune. ‘In particular, the idea of a large 120 cm-diameter lantern posed a challenge to the craftspeople, completed after repeated prototyping.’
(from left to right) architects Mårten Claesson, Eero Koivisto and Ola Rune in conversation in Milan
The Swedish design trio, together with Time & Style, realized a delicately-curved water droplet shape for the lamp that peaks with a pointed tip. Using the techniques of Suifu lantern-making in the Ibaraki prefecture, strips of polyetheylene terephthalate resin wrapped in washi paper covered a skeleton of the form. Echizen washi paper lends a warm color to the light as it emits through the shade.
Drop paper lamp by Claesson Koivisto Rune
‘The sheen of the paper lamp is super beautiful. When lit up in a room, the light is really nice. We knew that the expertize of creating a paper lamp in Japan was possible, but we had to spend a long time looking into different shapes,’ comments Eero Koivisto. ‘We are very interested collectors of abstract minimal art. We like shapes that are not too complicated or decorative. It is difficult to make objects that are pure and perfect though. We had a lot of experiments before arriving at this form.’
Drop paper lamp by Claesson Koivisto Rune
Echizen washi paper lends a warm color to the light cast by the Drop Paper Lamp
the making of the drop paper lamp by Claesson Koivisto Rune
DIAMOND BACK CHAIR BY DRILL DESIGN
Drill Design reimagines the classic Windsor chair with the eight-spoke Diamond Back chair. The lounging design strikes a balance between old and new, calmness and tension. Its highly crafted use of wood achieves this equilibrium, as traditional manufacturing techniques – most often by hand – realize a contemporary form. The Diamond Back chair has been developed in collaboration with Time & Style to bring a breath of fresh air to the Windsor chair while paying tribute to its concept and legacy.
(from left to right) Yoko Yasunishi and Yusuke Hayashi of DRILL DESIGN, artist Aoi Huber Kono, and Birgit Lohmann talking design
‘We made many prototypes of this design all the way through its development. This was key to creating the next chapter of the Windsor chair,‘ explains Yoko Yasunishi, co-founder of Drill Design. ‘The frame that flows seamlessly from the back to the armrests is called a continuous arm, which is one of the forms of the Windsor chairs. We recreated the sleek arm from solid wood using Japan’s sophisticated bentwood technology. The chair is characterized by the backrest with spokes interlaced into a diamond-shaped pattern, from which its name is derived.’
The Diamond Back chair’s eight spokes are interlaced by hand into a diamond-shaped pattern on the rear
With its complex geometry, the studio manufactured the Diamond Back chair with artisans at a bentwood factory with 100 years history. Its eight spokes are interlaced by hand into a diamond-shaped pattern on the back. Embracing the sitter comfortably, the back flows seamlessly into the armrests. This continuous, sensual form is only possible by using Japanese bentwood technology.
‘We produced the Diamond Back chair by bending the solid wood. This meant we were able to reinvent a chair with a historic shape by hand. However, the back is quite complicated to assemble because the pieces are connected at different angles,’ shares Yusuke Hayashi, co-founder of DRILL DESIGN.
Diamond Back chair by Drill Design
AOI HUBER KONO
Aoi Huber Kono was born in Tokyo in 1936. Daughter of Takashi Kono, an important icon of Japanese graphic design (1906-1999). After art high school, she graduated from Tokyo University of the Arts. In 1960 she attended Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm where she studied Western typography. In 1961 she moved to Milan where she met Max Huber, whom she married in 1962 and with whom she shared an intense creative life until his passing in 1992. Their artistic researches included collaborations with Achille Castiglioni, Bruno Munari, Enzo Mari, Mario Botta, Kengiro Azuma, etc. Her work ranges from graphic design, illustration, painting, and design. She designed and created illustrations for Japanese and Italian magazines, children’s books, designs for textiles, scarves, toys and tapestries.
‘For the Time & Style exhibition I brought those of my own projects to Milan that best illustrate their relationship with furniture and lifestyle,’ says Aoi Huber Kono in a rare interview with designboom founder Birgit Lohmann.
Exhibition view with the creative’s paintings, graphics and designs that were on show at Time & Style’s Milan Showroom in January 2023
With a delicacy and happiness, Aoi Huber Kono’s work as a graphic designer and illustrator is celebrated for the joy it brings to the viewer. Here shown a book of sketches by Aoi Huber Kono | image courtesy Aoi Huber Kono
Animal wooden puzzle by Aoi Huber Kono for Naef, 1979 | image courtesy Aoi Huber Kono
Aoi Huber Kono with friends (among them Achille Castiglioni, Bruno Munari, Enzo Mari…) | image courtesy Aoi Huber Kono
VALSERLIEGE BY PETER ZUMTHOR
Peter Zumthor’s Valserliege chaise longue continue the architect’s use of clean geometries
Pritzker Prize laureate Peter Zumthor creates furniture as part of the architecture. He does not design them individually or commercially. His furniture is intertwined with the architectural narrative, and thus is a fragment of the universality of his works.
Developing each architectural project at Atelier Peter Zumthor takes an enormous amount of time and energy. Never making compromises, some projects could take as long as ten years, examining and reexamining the design, form, structure, and materials through models of various scales. The furniture for such uncompromising and meticulous work requires the same.
Peter Zumthor’s Valserliege
Time & Style created the Peter Zumthor collection using traditional materials and techniques that originated in the history and culture of Japan. There is a chemistry between Zumthor’s concept of creating authentic and universal architecture that transcends time and the Japanese artisanship that has been passed down from generation to generation. Pictured here, the Valserliege chaise longue was designed for a spa complex in the Swiss valley of Vals, Therme Vals, built of stacked layers of local stone.
Peter Zumthor’s Valserliege
Design Talks were hosted at Time & Style’s Milan showroom
design talks info:
event: Design Talks
brand: Time & Style
moderator: Birgit Lohmann, designboom founder
dates: april 17-19, 2023
address: Time & Style Showroom, Largo Claudio Treves, 2, Milano
DRILL DESIGN (7)
KENGO KUMA (245)
PETER ZUMTHOR (32)
TIME & STYLE (9)
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