The Collective /SHARE
Sydney based furniture and object designer Henry Wilson is totally trending right now by bucking the whole notion of trend. In the fickle high-turnover world of design, Wilson works to a fairly old-school philosophy: build things that last and re-imagine and reuse what already exists. Here, the modern-day craftsman curates his Top 10 design inspirations exclusively for RUSSH.
Achille castiglioni parentheses lamp
Achille is the original master of what we now call conceptual design. Post war Italy was a hotbed for design and many of the objects from that period are recognised as classics today. The parentheses lamp, named after the ] which it resembles, is one such item. A weight hangs at the bottom maintaining tension through the bracket allowing the light to be slid and adjusted endlessly. Simple. Poetic. Honest.
Gio Ponti superleggera chair
At first glance the superleggera chair looks like an archetypal chair from any village in Italy. However, when you look closer you see that it is in fact a hybrid of tradition and design thinking. Each element of the superleggera is refined to be the minimum possible dimension to perform it’s given function. The rush seat is woven wet and when it contracts on drying it pulls everything together like a musical instrument, resolving the structure. So light and resilient it’s said that it can survive being thrown off a five story building.
light house lamp by Bouroullec brothers
This is one of the few pieces of recent design on this list. For me this object ticks many boxes; It is honest in it’s material choice yet manages to look delicate and even ornate. Murano glass from Venice is known for it’s luminescent qualities when held to light. The Bouroullec’s used this as the main concept in their design, the single spire balancing the glass shade references the tools used to make it. The solid marble base provides the stability and heft required to balance the structure.
Ulm Stool by Max Bill
The Ulm stool was design in 1955 by Max Bill for the Ulm school of design in Berlin. Max’s credo was minimise design, maximise usage. When I first saw this stool 10 years ago I thought it was the most boring thing i’d ever seen. Now it’s simplicity and rigour impress me greatly. To me this object illustrates why design professionals of a certain age start dressing in black skivvies and wearing sensible shoes. They have been numbed by the pointlessness of trends and fashion.
Ceramic loo roll holder, unknown author
Often in object design the less material combinations the better. The skill of any good designer is to draw on the attributes of a given material and use them to inform the overall look and function of an object. The ceramic loo paper holder is a great example of this. Smooth ceramic cradles the soft paper allowing it to slide from the slot without the use of moving parts. Contrast this with those perplexing, rotating paper robots found in many public facilities around Australia.
Zeroll Icecream scoop, unknown author
Sometimes one material is not enough and another one needs to be introduced in order to react and contribute, this is called material harmony. The zeroll scoop is a perfect example of this; constructed of aluminium, third only to gold and copper in conductivity, the sculptural handle / head contain glycol (food safe antifreeze agent) which transfers heat from the hand through to the scoop. This ensures it will always maintain a temperature above zero.
Bertjan Pot masks
Bertjan has a particular way with basic materials and processes. The rope masks are made from tech cord which has been sewn together and gently cupped in the process. This was never meant to be a mask and was initially a trial for a rug. It demonstrates how good designers can embrace and accommodate the changes process throws up.
Vitsoe shelving, Dieter Rams
Vitsoe shelving is something you would usually not notice. I suspect Dieter would have liked it this way. It is a modular system that can be configured for pretty well every storage need. Still made as it was 60 plus years ago, it is possible to use parts from older production with that of the new. I’ve been told that if you purchase this product that the market for secondhand parts is so strong that you are never out of pocket. A furniture investment that does not depreciate and can be endlessly configured; that is the kind of sustainability we should strive for.
Sori Yanagi bowls
Bowl with internal sieve. Cannot say much on this except that it’s something you never knew you always needed.