A happy ending; Kunkush is reunited with his family in Norway!
Video copyright The Guardian.
A happy ending; Kunkush is reunited with his family in Norway!
Video copyright The Guardian.
For years I’v used and cherished my boards and spatulas from British brand Hampson Woods. Jonty and his crew make a great job taking care of old, unwanted wood transforming the material into beautiful everyday products. Here’s a glimpse from the production:
Hampson Woods promotion video. Copyright Hampson Woods.
Elm Spoon by Hampson Woods. Made from British elm, long-handled and beautifully balanced, finished with olive oil. Dimensions (approx): 380 x 50 x 12mm. Limited Edition (2016). Photo copyright Hampson Woods.
Ash Serving Board by Hampson Woods. Made from the versatile Common Ash. Ash is soft to touch and hard-wearing in use. Finished with olive oil. Dimensions (approx): 440 x 200 x 17mm. Photo copyright Hampson Woods.
Can’t help it, but I am a sucker for the sleek 60s… Especially iconic pieces of furniture updated with contemporary comfort and colour. When Arne Jacobsen designed the Oxford Chair in 1965 he was looking for a seating solution for the professors at St Catherine’s College at Oxford University. Oxford became synonymous with status and prestige. The new edition dispenses with hierarchy, and the original high back, to echo a more modern approach to work.
Oxford by Arne Jacobsen for Republic of Fritz Hansen™ (2016) was originally designed in 1965. Photo copyright Republic of Fritz Hansen.
The Stockholm Design Week and International Furniture & Light Fair 2016 is over. It’s been 10 days of experiencing the city on a 24/7 schedule. Stockholm is beautiful! Just as the design presented! With the new song City by Moon City Boys mangling in my earphones I feel impressed by all the gifted Scandi creatives.
City by MCB – Moon City Boys (February 2016). Video copyright MCB. PS Don’t forget to listen WITH earphones when watching the video!
Signe Persson Melin is one of Sweden’s most prominent designers. Although she’s now in her 90s Signe Persson Melin is as productive than ever. Her new candelabra Salut for Byarums bruk (2016) is nothing but amazing. It has a strong sculptural expression, yet it carries that special ease which is Signe Persson Melins signum. It may look simple but it is not. To create a piece like this you need a skilled designer who knows the material + a great craftsman to exercise the casting. Salut is handcasted in one piece, from recycled aluminium.
Salut candelabra by Signe Persson Melin for Byarums bruk (2016) is handcasted in one piece, from recycled aluminium. Photo copyright Byarums bruk.
Take a look at the detail: the smooth vs rough surfaces of the aluminium lends a contemporary look to the classic, symmetric shape. Photo copyright Byarums bruk.
Signe Persson Melin, designer of Salut candelabra for Byarums bruk (2016). Photo copyright Byarums bruk.
Byarums bruk, promotion video by Christopher Benitah. Copyright Cristopher Beitah/Byarums Bruk.
Robert Bahou has experienced what it’s like to really connect with an animal. Through his portraits of dogs and cats you get a glimpse of that amazing moment when contact is established. Robert has posted his new project, Animal Soul – book at Kickstarter, and it is available until February 24th.
Animal Soul, book by Robert Bahou, founding video at Kickstarter. Video copyright Robert Bahou.
Remember how the palm oil industry are destroying the natural habitat of orangutans, causing devastating suffering for apes as well as humans in Indonesia and nearby countries? See post at 2015-11-24 below.
This young female orangutan is one victim. She was found sitting on a small wooden platform that consisted of two angled planks with a hole in the middle. Rocking from side to side, she was trying to ease the pain in her limbs, and keep her balance. The short chain that linked her neck to the tree barely allowed her to move. The ground around her was buried in trash. ”After two years on the end of that short chain it’s a miracle she could move at all,” IAR – International Animal Rescue in Borneo wrote in a press release after her rescue.
Palm oil is a very common ingredient in beauty and cleaning products. Among these, you’ll find products you use to maintain your design products!!! In cosmetics, palm oil is labelled Elaeis guineensis but with the food industry, its presence is often less obvious. Any ingredient which includes the word “palm” (palmitate, palmitoyl or simply palm) will include palm oil. Other ingredients which commonly but not always use palm oil include cetyl alcohol, isopropyl, sodium lauryl sulphate, steareths, fatty alcohol sulphates, glycerine, cocoa butter equivalent and cocoa butter substitute. Palm oil is also used in biodiesel. Let’s go palm oil free, or use only certified sustainable palm oil.
A victim of deforestation due to palm oil production. Video copyright: IAR – International Animal Rescue.
Photo copyright by IAR – International Animal Rescue.
There’re certain values underpinning the Scandinavian style. One is environmental friendly production which has a long tradition in the Nordic countries. But in 2016 environmental friendly is not enough. Now we are in for the whole story; we want to know how, from where, by whom and of what the product is made.
Transparency is another Scandi style quality. In the iconic design from the Modernism until now there’s no hiding of materials used. On the contrary, you can easily detect that a Wegner ”Y-chair” is made of solid wood and paper cord. You’ll also know from where the wood is taken and how the paper cord is produced.
Making of the Wishbone Chair aka ”Y-chair” by Hans J Wegner, designed in 1949 and in production by Carl Hansen & Son since 1950. Solid hard wood and paper cord. Video copyright Carl Hansen & Son.
The lack of ornament of the classics has blended with new colour schemes and materials and transformed into contemporary. It might be minimalistic, but it is a ”friendly minimalism” where the reduced form comes forth as visual sustainability.
Marfa light, garden torch by Claesson, Koivisto, Rune for Smaller Objects (2015). Galvanized and powder coated steel. The dark anthracite grey colour also has a practical function – it is forgiving to the soot formed by burning. Photo copyright Smaller Objects.
Natural materials. In 2015 we learned that one of the most common materials of the Scandinavian and Nordic design, namely leather, is not as good as we thought. Instead the production of leather has proved multi toxic and carries a disturbing amount of abuse to and suffering by animals, humans and environment. We also learned that big scale production of wool is at risk becoming the next full scale disaster. Not long ago we also realized that production of cotton is a huge evironmental problem. Flax is popping up as a possibility for the future. But the Scandi designer of today also do hi-tech, perhaps most obvious with the lighting brands where the heritage of the Scandinavian traditions is used to create world leading design.
From growing flax to harvesting, preparing and spinning it into linen. Manhattan kitchen towel by Peter Condu for Klässbols (1981). Photo copyright Klässbols.
Busby light by Sam Hecht & Kim Colin/Industrial Facility for Wästberg (2015). The contemporary Scandi lamp is no longer a subject of electricity but of electronics. Printed circuit boards, micro-chips, diodes and interfaces are now the staple ingredients, giving us greater control, conserving energy and providing longer lifespans. Photo copyright Jara Varela/Wästberg.
Contrary to what many people believe leather is not an environmental friendly material. The leather industry is a ticking bomb of toxic pollution. The traditional way of tanning animal skins by using organic methods has become very rare. And animals in the leather industry are not bred to become meat. Leather is big business where animals are exposed to massive abuse and suffering, workers at tanning plants risk their health and life, and the environment gets polluted. The current trend of Scandinavian designers promoting leather as a ”sustainable material” is worrying. Nothing could be more misleading; leather as it is produced today is not the future.
”What are your shoes stepping on?” Video copyright DanWatch.
Belrusian writer Svetlana Aleksijevitj (Alexievich in English) has been awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in Literature. Aleksijevitj has spent more than 30 years interviewing people in post war Soviet about their experiences and memories of war, conflict and disaster. In her writing even the tiniest memory transform into beautiful and moving prose.
Svetlana Aleksijevitj has inspired artists around the world. Irish director Junanita Wilson made a short film based on the book ”Voices from Chernobyl”, nominated for an Oscar in 2010 and now available at YouTube. If you’re not yet acquainted with Aleksijevitj the film may function as an introduction. In Aleksijevitj’s stories the voice of the individual is presented through a dreamy yet clear prose. Slowly, slowly the impact of the words hit you. You get plenty of time to think, feel and react to the story. The combination of clear, beautiful language and the documentary, journalistic approach make Svetlana Aleksijevitj’s work special.
”The Door”, short film by Juanita Wilson (2008) based on Svetlana Aleksijevitj’s book ”Voices from Chernobyl”(1997). Video copyright Juanita Wilson.
On request today from several readers; an update on the rescue of Cholita the bear. A heartwarming story of compassion, from ADI. For the whole story see post ”Changes” 2015-05-06 below.
Cholita the (endangered) Spectacled bear suffered 25 years shut in a tiny cage and abused at a Peruvian circus for ten years, later in a zoo. Her fingers were brutally cut down to stumps to remove her front claws and her teeth were broken off, leaving her defenceless. Cholita was rescued as part of Operation Spirit of Freedom, an ADI mission in collaboration with Peru’s authorities to enforce their law on wild animal circuses, and raid circuses all over the country in the biggest operation of its kind. Nearly 100 animals have been saved during 2015 from circuses and the illegal wildlife trade. ADI now want to provide Cholita with some friends and have identified three more Spectacled bears in urgent need of help. You can support their rescue by donating to ADI.
How to provide a wild bear with manicure, as she cannot herself wear the claws down. Video by AMI.
Remember Mustafa, the elderly mountain lion being kept in chains for twenty years and rescued by ADI – Animal Defenders International? For the whole story see post ”Changes” 2015-05-06 below. Here’s an update from ADI showing Mustafa arriving at the sanctuary where he’s now to stay.