Whilst wandering round the wonderful world of Google images, I have stumbled onto an amazing source of furniture and product design in the website www.bonluxat.com
The site has an impressive selection of modern and contemporary furniture, lighting and accessories, from various designers and vendors around the world.
There’s an enormous array in the material composition of the items listed, but for today I’m only going to focus on a couple of timber pieces as well as some funky and interesting plastic ones.
The first image is the Chair 69 designed by Fredrik Mattson and manufactured by Blå Station. What makes this chair stand out is its interesting shape and the fact that no straps, screws or welding were used for its assembly, just simple mathematics. In 2007 the Chair 69 was awarded with the red dot design award for product design.
The seat shell is compression moulded beech ply with a surface of birch or oak veneer, whilst the legs are “green” chromed steel, Chromium III. Plywood is manufactured by gluing an odd number of multiple layers of wood veneers on top of each other with adjacent plies being at right angles to each other, and applying pressure to compress them into one form. This results in a strong, balanced material with highly flexible properties when placed under certain conditions. Beech in particular stands out for its hardness, durability, elasticity and strength and is often used as the inner core material for plywood and then a more expensive veneer for the outer surface layers.
The second set of images is another interesting one as the material used is somewhat surprising. They form part of the Arturo Alvarez Shio Collection of hanging pendant, floor and wall lamps, designed and manufactured by Arturo Alvarez. The organic shape and colouration is made possible through the alternate use of laminate board, cut into fine fingers and curved into the rounded shape. Laminate board is made up of essentially 3 layers, a photographic print of the wood chosen, an inner core layer of melamine resin and a protective top coat. The advantages of laminate over genuine hardwood for flooring boils down to overall cheaper costs, increased durability based on the grading used, increased hygiene and easy maintenance. One of the major disadvantages of laminate is the material composition of the melamine resin layer which is ultimately a plastic derived from formaldehyde, which is toxic is exposed to over chronic periods of time. The melamine resin does however have good fire retardant properties from the nitrogen content and is a very durable thermosetting plastic commonly used in products such as Formica™. The irony of this collection is the aesthetic wood look is actually a single sheet of paper and plastic, however still looks beautiful and fits into an organic themed space effortlessly.
The styling of this bench in my next image I find quite appealing, it’s simple yet striking. It’s called the Bench with back, designed and manufactured by Studioilse.
It’s crafted from solid Chestnut, complete with knots and finished off with copper detailing around the feet. Chestnut is the same family as Oak and is therefore a very durable wood, with natural outdoor resistance, removing the need for additional protective treatments. Unlike Oak, Chestnut timber is better in its immature state (less than 50yrs old) as it tends to split and warp the older the tree is when harvested; but in its youthful state yields more timber than an Oak of a similar age.
There are many advantages of using timber in this form, especially for aesthetic purposes. Timber has a natural warmth and organic quality to it and can be incorporated into most schemes. The disadvantages of using timber and especially a hardwood timber is the cost involved in purchasing and manufacturing the item as well as the replacement growth rate is very slow. 50 years is too long for most people to wait and hardwood reserves are therefore constantly being placed under pressure.
The last piece I wish to focus on is in the children’s range on Bonluxat.com and is called the Paradise Tree Coat Stand, designed by Oiva Toikka and manufactured by Magis Spa. The base weight and inner frame is constructed from galvanised steel, but the main visual form is made from polyethylene.
Polyethylene is a thermoplastic polymer, and when in its foam form, it is used in packaging, vibration damping and insulation, as a barrier or buoyancy component, or as material for cushioning. It’s probably the one form of plastic we see the most of during our daily lives and one of the biggest disadvantages of it, is it will be with us for many more years to come due to its non-biodegradable properties. This coat stand makes it all seem worthwhile, with its funky styling and quirky colours. What kid (or adult for that matter) wouldn’t enjoy having this in their room?
Hope I’ve inspired you to have a peek at the website. Your next new furniture purchase could be waiting for you online!
For additional information have a look at http://www.bonluxat.com and www.owi-lohr.de