Guest blog by Kathy Sandler
“A twist of the wrist”. What struck US blogger Kathy Sandler on her first visit to Ambiente was the phenomenon of transformation. Changes in form created with just a few simple manipulations and astonishing solutions for old design challenges. This and much more melted the heart of the veteran interior designer.
As a veteran of design trade shows, I thought I had an inkling of an idea about what to expect during my first visit to Ambiente. Even with thorough research of the event and counsel from fellow Design Hounds, it turns out, I was clueless! The breadth and depth of Living, Giving, and Dining products featured at the fair is unrivaled, with vendors from 90 countries.
It was good to see new introductions from old favorites, but I walked away most impressed by the makers, innovators, and start-ups; by the individuals and companies working hard to solve a problem using the most environmentally responsible methods; by the people who aren’t sitting around talking about doing something, but are actually doing something to try to make their creative vision come to life.
Several designers featured products utilizing new methods of producing and cutting malleable metals that can be manipulated from a nearly flat surface into a three dimensional form. In one example, with a few twists of the wrist, attendees could try their hand at turning a silver trivet into an elegant fruit bowl, then flatten it back out again in a matter of seconds. To a person, I watched as each individual’s effort produced a unique work of art, with the bowl never looking the same way twice.
Design jaws dropped.
- Manufacturer: MÚK
MÚK designers Mattias Chrisander and Patrick Iu, took their ideas on how to transform their medium of choice to the next level. Using two thin slices of metal and an intricate laser cut pattern, the duo created a true DIY light fixture, giving consumers the ability to create a one-of-a-kind pendant by combining the discs with a standard light kit and personal slight of hand. When shaped no two discs look exactly the same, as the metal respond to the users touch. When assembled using the integrated tabs and slots, the fixture both reflects and disperses light beautifully.
- Manufacturer: Tre Product
Israeli designers AndreyAndShay surprised me with a complex solution to an age old problem in simplistic form. The pair set out to put an end to a cook’s dilemma and eliminate the moisture that causes salt and pepper to cake. Their Salt & Pepper Cone for Tre Product is a high quality porcelain pyramid with a hollow center that serves as both a funnel for filling and a vessel for dispensing the seasonings. On a display stand in Tre’s booth, they stood like little architectural soldiers, waiting for their marching orders.
- Manufacturer: the cube/Hurrle, Design: Olivier Forschle
My Best of Show goes to the winner of the 2016 German Design Award Special, Olivier Forschle, for the ingeniously designed Cube . Made of lightweight aluminum and steel, the Cube is an engineering marvel. Massive hinges support doors that open to reveal a true outdoor room featuring two bench seats, a fixed table, and wood floors. At first glance, it looks like more than one person can manage to operate, but I watched as people of different ages and fitness levels opened it with ease. Available in a variety of powder coated finishes and outdoor fabrics, the rich red lacquer version and silky grey fabric combination on display at Ambiente was eye candy. I see this being perfect for creating an intimate spot in a big backyard and a great entertaining solution for a small one. I love that the husband and wife team behind the Cube are also distributors of the product. Their desire to work one-on-one with designers and homeowners to customize the Cube to your desire is a huge bonus in my book.
The show is so large, plan to spend the full five days exploring on your first visit. With three days to explore Ambiente, I never saw the inside of several buildings. I owe No. 5, 6, and 10 an apology, a twelfth pavilion is under construction, but it gives me a good excuse for a return visit. I hope you’ve been inspired by this quick look at the creativity of these three forward thinking entrepreneurs. At Ambiente, there are over 4,000 more where they came from!