BECAUSE REALLY, DON’T YOU FEEL MORE INSPIRED WHEN YOUR SURROUNDINGS ARE STYLISH? KENG YANG SHUEN ROUNDS UP THE BRANDS AND PLACES TO KNOW NOW TO MAKE YOUR HOME LOOK TRULY SPECIAL.
The Austrian crystal house’s luxury range debuted its homeware line in 2016 in partnership with globally renowned artists and designers. Collaborators have included the likes of the late Zaha Hadid, and this year’s are equally notable: among them, interiors superstar Patricia Urquiola, Japanese design outfit Nendo, and British architect John Pawson (his stripped-down yet romantic aesthetic channelled into the likes of the vase above). What’s extra special this year, though, is the debut of Core, a line with items such as stationery, trays and candle holders ($80-$6,500) that’s designed entirely in-house. It explains the aesthetic: Be it a jewellery box or thumb drive, each piece adapts the geometric lines of a crystal, and boasts crystalline elements in unexpected ways. In short, fun yet sophisticated – like the brand’s well-loved jewellery.
Under the craft-loving J.W. Anderson’s auspices, the Spanish luxury house forayed into the world of interiors via Salone del Mobile in 2015, and has participated in the design fair annually since. This year, it showcases its largest and most diverse homeware collection yet: 50 items, including large-scale tapestries and blankets (get them via special order), and a complementary range of totes and small leather goods (these hit stores here from October). Focusing this time on textile craft, the brand has tapped on techniques and craftsmen from Japan, India, Senegal and Ecuador, and criss-crossed them with the work of the ateliers it employs in Europe (or more specifically, France, Italy, Spain and Germany). The result is a delightfully eclectic mix of motifs, of which provenance is hard to pin down to just one time or place.
Fact: Versace was one of the early adopters of the “lifestyle empire” approach with its Home line, established in 1992. This year, the Italian label celebrates 25 years of collaboration with German porcelain specialist Rosenthal with a limited edition tableware collection, Rosenthal Meets Versace: 25 plates and tea cups that each feature a different design from the Versace archives. With the brand enjoying renewed social currency with the highly memorable (and Instagrammed) S/S ’18 tribute collection to founder Gianni Versace, as well as the hit TV series The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, this release comes across as most ripe for collection.
The homegrown lifestyle store, which opened its first international outpost in Kugayama, Tokyo, last December, is well-loved for its unpredictable, highly artisanal spin on everyday items. This month, it debuts a more practical yet no less design-driven range of homeware. Named Kobo (Japanese for a maker’s workshop or factory) and available at Supermama’s new Wheelock Place boutique (near left), its first drop is a collaboration between four local designers and 10 Japanese specialist manufacturers. Forging such global creative partnerships is nothing new for founder Edwin Low, but the intention here is to hit that hard-to-achieve balance between functionality, aesthetics and affordability. Expect objects from traditional tableware given a contemporary twist (pictured near left and opposite, top), to more whimsical decorative objet d’arts like sparrow-shaped mobiles. Prices range from $24 for a bottle opener to $3,000 for a coffee pot woven from bamboo, though the latter’s a one-off – most items retail for less than $150 each.
If you think that Moncler’s collaboration with eight fashion heavyweights for its recent Genius project is both crazy and brilliant, this is kind of like the design equivalent. Japanese for “daybreak”, Ariake (sold here at Grafunkt) is a furniture line founded last year by two Japanese manufacturers, Legnatec and Hirata Chair, with award-winning Singapore designer Gabriel Tan as creative director. Its 30-piece presentation at Stockholm Design Week this February – its first international showcase – saw Tan teaming up with seven designers hailing from Scandinavia, Japan, Canada and Brazil. (They include the Montreal-based Zoe Mowat, known for her playful shapes and colours, and the equally quirky yet pared-down Keiji Ashizawa from Tokyo.) That was not where the crossovers ended though. All headed to the Japanese town of Morodomi, where they lived together for a week and had their designs produced by two workshops. Their inspiration: “the spirituality of Japanese culture and urban living”. So instead of a motley crew of styles, the pieces – tables, seating and storage ware – are all awash in soothing earth tones, and underscore the universality and romance of clean, simple design.
Chairs and other assorted furniture woven by Colombian artisans have always been Marni’s speciality at Salone del Mobile. At this year’s edition that ran recently (April 17-22) though, the Italian fashion label introduced new techniques and materials that elevate its signature offerings. A loom-weave pattern, for example, lends greater, more playful texture (previous designs tended to feature striped and linear geometric patterns). Meanwhile, traditional baskets handcrafted from a centuries-old technique of weaving willow stems and branches now sport filaments of coloured plastic, all the more reflecting the brand’s penchant for colours (and, if you ask us, fun). No word at press time on when they’ll be sold widely, but keep your ears up.