Best in Show


Azure - - CONTENTS - WORDS _Erin Don­nelly

From con­crete lamps to iri­des­cent benches, top picks from re­cent fur­ni­ture fairs

“If you had told me two years ago that I’d be do­ing this, I wouldn’t have be­lieved you,” says Hanae Baruchel, founder of newly fledged Toronto stu­dio Lalaya Design. This past Jan­uary, Baruchel was at the In­te­rior Design Show to ex­hibit a se­lec­tion of her con­crete fur­ni­ture and ac­ces­sories – a long way off from the non-prof­it­sec­tor ca­reer she was en­joy­ing in the sum­mer of 2015, when a bike ac­ci­dent changed her life. “I hit my head and was un­able to do much at all for about two years. I couldn’t work. I couldn’t be in loud spa­ces. Noth­ing that re­quired any brain ac­tiv­ity. Which is every­thing.” In search of some­thing she could do that would bring some joy back into her life, she de­cided to try work­ing with her hands. First came some sim­ple shelves, then a set of wood and bent metal legs to trans­form an an­tique tile into a small ta­ble. “The way that it was stim­u­lat­ing my brain was some­how okay, and at the end there was a re­sult I could use. That was re­ally help­ful be­cause the re­cov­ery was very non-lin­ear, and it was so un­clear whether I was mak­ing progress at all.” With her next piece came a break­through. En­vi­sion­ing a small side ta­ble with a con­crete top, she bought a 30-kilo­gram bag of mix. As she be­gan ex­per­i­ment­ing and pro­to­typ­ing with it, the par­al­lels be­tween the ma­te­rial and her re­cov­ery be­came ap­par­ent. “Both are re­ally heavy and hard things, seem­ingly out of your con­trol, chal­leng­ing and not con­sid­ered par­tic­u­larly beau­ti­ful – pretty mo­not­o­nous. When I did my first lamp, I re­al­ized it could also be very del­i­cate, frag­ile and mal­leable in un­ex­pected ways. I’ve be­come re­ally at­tached to the ma­te­rial and the sym­bol­ism of it.” The Lalaya col­lec­tion cur­rently in­cludes side ta­bles, benches, ac­ces­sories and light­ing, all in Baruchel’s medium of choice. New con­crete pieces, in­clud­ing a bar stool, are in the works. Watch for Baruchel in New York this May, when she de­buts a new multi-planed pen­dant lamp at Wanted­de­sign. lalayade­

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