DE­SIGN: Form, func­tion make room for fun

The Denver Post - - LIFE & CULTURE - By Kyle Trout­man

Ev­ery year around this time, de­sign­ers and mak­ers from all over the world show off their new ideas at the Los An­ge­les De­sign Fes­ti­val. This year, global ar­ti­sans have kept the trend of sim­plic­ity alive while ex­er­cis­ing a wel­come sense of re­straint.

The re­sult: De­sign­ers have churned out de­cep­tively sim­ple pieces to solve ev­ery­day prob­lems. Although these in­tro­duc­tions firmly em­brace util­ity, they main­tain a re­fresh­ing air of flair and whimsy.

“De­sign should be beau­ti­ful and func­tional, and that’s what we’re try­ing to bring back,” de­signer Si­mon St. James LeComte of New Made LA said about the brand’s col­lec­tion of wire desk planters. “We thought they would make for very sim­ple ad­di­tions to any workspace or sur­face that was in need of a lit­tle life. The var­i­ous pot sizes and heights al­low for the user to truly get the right fit for their space.” The planters were de­signed to pro­vide vis­ual intrigue but still re­main in the back­ground.

Fin­land-based de­sign com­pany Magisso’s mis­sion is to cre­ate mod­ern, quick fixes to daily co­nun­drums at home. Its Ver­tigo fruit plate, for ex­am­ple, can help keep fruit fresh longer be­cause of its waved sur­face that min­i­mizes con­tact be­tween fruit and plate.

“In a normal fruit bowl, there is no air cir­cu­la­tion, and fruits are tightly crammed to­gether. This is why the fruits on the bot­tom of a normal bowl go bad so quickly,” cre­ative di­rec­tor and founder Anssi Hurme said. The com­pany has also de­signed ce­ramic pet bowls with cool­ing tech­nol­ogy that, upon soak­ing in wa­ter for 60 sec­onds, will re­main cold for hours.

De­sign­ers at Set­tlewell and Mul­ti­ply have also used ma­te­ri­als to amp up func­tion­al­ity. Set­tlewell founder and de­signer Laura Corn­man shaped con­crete into small jars that are great for home or­ga­ni­za­tion.

“Jars are in­cred­i­bly use­ful, but the op­tions are fairly lim­ited to glass, am­ber glass and plas­tic,” she said. “I’m al­ways look­ing for ways to get rid of vis­ual clut­ter.”

Hus­band-and-wife duo Mark Brit­ton and Alice Kim of house­wares com­pany Mul­ti­ply use Amer­i­can-sourced wood for their stack­able, space-sav­ing Di­a­mond Wine Triv­ets. “They’re dif­fer­ent from tra­di­tional wine racks and re­frig­er­a­tors in that they al­low for a pre­sen­ta­tion of a se­lec­tion of wines and can be moved to wher­ever a party is thanks to their up­turned edges,” said Brit­ton, the de­signer.

Bend Goods’ Switch piece can be a com­pact stool or a side ta­ble and is an ex­am­ple of mul­tiuse fur­ni­ture, pro­vid­ing more space at home with less clut­ter. The piece’s glass table­top can be switched out with a padded seat, which it­self can be flipped over and turned into a sec­ond, leather table­top.And Bri­tish brand Modus col­lab­o­rated with English de­signer Michael Sodeau to pro­duce a trio of ta­bles made of 100 per­cent cork. Not only do they pro­mote sus­tain­abil­ity, but they can also be used as tra­di­tional cork­boards for im­por­tant notes, lists or chil­dren’s art­work.

Fi­nally, Se­vak Karabachian, an ar­chi­tect for Gehry Part­ners and founder of Karabachian De­sign Of­fice, has de­signed a mag­ne­tized pa­per clip holder in the shape of a charm­ing wooden fox. This lit­tle piece shows the amount of de­tail, tech­nol­ogy and care that goes into mak­ing house­wares that are com­plex, beau­ti­ful and func­tional.

Pro­vided by New Made LA

New Made LA's desk planters in four sizes ($35-$45, new­madela.com).

Pro­vided by Magisso

Magisso's Happy Pet Project dog and cat bowls ($29.50-$54.50, magisso.com).

Pro­vided by Bend Goods

Bend Goods’' Switch Ta­ble/Stool is avail­able in white, black, pink and cop­per (from $380, bend­goods.com).

Pro­vided by Modus UK

Modus UK’s Art is one in a se­ries of three cork ta­bles ($635-$1,624, modus­fur­ni­ture.co.uk).

Pro­vided by Karabachian De­sign Of­fice

Karabachian De­sign Of­fice's mag­netic fox pa­per clip holder is avail­able in ma­hogany, wal­nut, pur­ple­heart and ebony ($29-$95, karabachian.com).

Pro­vided by Magisso

Magisso's Ver­tigo fruit plate (avail­able in Au­gust, magisso.com).

Pro­vided by Set­tlewell

Set­tlewell's small con­crete jars ($20, set­tlewell.com).

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