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Adjaye Associates / Chrissa Amuah and Tosin Oshinowo / Radio Alhara Willo Perron / External Reference / Aurelien Chen / Roar / Elke Walter


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ISSUE 205 / JANUARY 2021

Design Without Boundaries Issue

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Features 14

The birth of a renaissance Sir David Adjaye on his new proposal for the Edo Museum of West African Art


Neighbouring sounds Radio Alhara broke boundaries to create a close-knit community of creatives across the globe


Willo Perron and the cultural zeitgeist Willo Perron speaks to identity about the grey areas in design


Future faces Exploring Tosin Oshinowo and Chrissa Amuah’s conceptual design for Lexus

Phygital reality Carmelo Zappulla talks about blurring the lines between digital and physical space


Poetic landscapes


Photography: Minh T Model: Shaugh Brett


Aurelien Chen creates an ethereal installation inspired by a traditional Chinese landscape


Respite & reflection Roar’s Sensasia Stories spa references pan-Asian architectural typologies with a contemporary twist

Regulars 36





Design Focus







Wall Floor





Editor-in-Chief Obaid Humaid Al Tayer Managing Partner and Group Editor Ian Fairservice Group Director Andrew Wingrove Editor Aidan Imanova Designer Hannah Perez Chief Commercial Officer Anthony Milne Deputy Sales Manager Mrudula Patre Sales Representative - Italy Daniela Prestinoni

The Joni series by Custom No.9

General Manager - Production S Sunil Kumar Assistant Production Manager Binu Purandaran Production Supervisor Venita Pinto Contributors Juan Roldan Juan Antonio Fuentes Brito Max Tuttle

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Photo by Young Habibti

Welcome to identity’s January 2021 ‘Design Without Boundaries’ issue. With the start of every year, it has become customary to reflect on defining moments, challenges, and successes of the year gone by– and 2020 was as challenging a year as they come. With the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic that forced the world into lockdown, the idea around boundaries became apparent as an almost thematic thread: be it travel restrictions, mandatory face masks, social distancing and so on. In this issue we examine the theme of boundaries through a positive lens, looking at ways in which established boundaries were crossed to once again connect with one another. In our interview with Palestinian architecture duo Elias and Yousef Anastas, who established online Radio Alhara during the lockdown, they reveal how the online station has connected creative minds from across continents and within the Arab world through music and shared interests. Living in Bethlehem, borders and boundaries play an encompassing role in the lives of the Anastas brothers, who are constantly faced with challenges around movement and connection with the outside world. During one of their radio shows, the team at Radio Alhara announced a peaceful protest to object the annexation of the West Bank, inviting DJs and creatives from across the globe to join. All invited participants agreed. What became interesting, Yousef said to me during a Zoom conversation, is that the protest became not just about the West Bank, but about injustice in all its forms and from all over the world. People came together from everywhere at a time defined by distance. Similarly, this month’s cover tackles topics of movement, connection and disconnection and a desire for a unified freedom. Commissioned by Lexus for Design Miami/, designer Chrissa Amuah and architect Tosin Oshinowo worked together to develop artfully crafted headpieces that are derived from the most ubiquitous item of 2020: the face mask. “Thinking about the masks that we all now wear for daily protection, we wanted to take a step further and consider how we can not only protect ourselves but use this opportunity to celebrate our joint humanity. If we must wear masks, then let them be glorious!” the designers said. Continuing the theme of ‘Boundaries’, we also explore the growing multidisciplinarity of the design field, featuring interviews with Barcelona-based architect Carmelo Zappulla and LA-based designer Willo Perron. With the year we’ve just had, it is difficult to predict what 2021 has in store. Here’s hoping for more positivity, more connectivity and more works that respond to our challenging reality. I hope you all enjoy this issue and l look forward to seeing many more of you this year.

Aidan Imanova Editor

Photography: Minh T Model: Shaugh Brett

Editor’s Note

On the cover: ‘Freedom to Move’ by Tosin Oshinowo and Chrissa Amwah

K House by Norm Arc hitects and Aim Architecture Photography by Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen

identity.ae The latest architecture, design + interiors news, now online



Ahead of the curve

The long-awaited ME Dubai by Meliรก, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, reopens its doors




et inside the Opus Tower in Dubai’s Burj Khalifa district, the newly opened ME Dubai hotel by Spanish brand Meliá is the first hotel to attribute both its interiors and its architectural design to Zaha Hadid. From the outside, the giant cubeshaped building is clad in mirrored glass, with an amorphous void at its centre – an effect created by connecting its two towers from the top and bottom. ME Dubai sits just under the void, featuring 74 rooms and 19 suites as well as various dining offerings and The Atrium, an immersive space at the centre of the hotel that acts as a lobby and a welcome area, as well as a space for entertainment. With curving sculptural balconies of the hotel jutting out into The Atrium, the expansive space features

gleaming white marble floors and plush curved Ottomans that are upholstered in a rich burgundy hue and were designed by the late Hadid as part of Zaha Hadid Design, the firm’s design arm. All the furniture within the hotel was designed or selected by Hadid herself – including the navy-blue benches set on the balconies, which feature curving gold frames that are part of Zaha Hadid Design’s Petelinas collection. The guestrooms feature bedrooms with Hadid-designed beds, complete with sculptural frames projecting from the wall. Each room is inspired either by the night skies of the city’s skyline or the soft hues and serene environment of the UAE’s desert landscape, with various design elements embodying one or the other.




The bathrooms feature sinks and showers from Zaha Hadid’s 2015 Vitae collection for Noken for Porcelanosa, complete with over-sized showerheads and a set of curvaceous mirrors that echo the building’s central void. “The reopening of ME Dubai marks a historic moment for the Opus building; a true legacy project for the firm,” comments Patrik Schumacher, principal at Zaha Hadid Architects. “We’re also extremely proud to present the exclusive Zaha Hadid Exhibition within the hotel; a project that we’ve worked closely with the hotel team on to showcase some never-before seen work by the late Zaha Hadid.” The hotel’s array of dining options includes the Latin American-inspired Deseo and the Botanica cocktail bar,


both designed by Dubai-based Bishop Design. Inspired by Meliá’s Spanish roots, the hotel is also home to the Central Cosmo Tapas & Bar. ME Dubai’s wellness offerings include a state-of-the-art 650-square metre gym featuring the region’s first Technogym Biocircuit, as well as an outdoor pool terrace and spa. As part of Meliá’s lifestyle arm, ME Dubai aims to create a link between the city’s various communities with its Culture Collective programme that acts as a platform for showcasing contemporary culture in the Middle East, from music, art, design and fashion to gastronomy. ME Dubai is the brand's first property in the Middle East, joining its other hotel destinations including Ibiza, London, Cabo and Milan. id


Designed to adapt J

apanese design studio nendo is exploring new possibilities for smartphones with the ‘slidephone’, a concept developed for smart device manufacturer OPPO. The device is composed of seven hinges that allow the phone to be folded down three times in the same direction to roughly the size of a credit card: just 54 millimetres by 86 millimetres. ‘Slide-phone’ is designed to offer increased functionality and flexibility in response to the growing trend for larger mobile devices. nendo’s design will allow users to change the form of the phone to suit various occasions and tasks. An additional stylus that is inserted in the phone also allows users to expand their productivity by using the phone for more complex tasks. “Among foldable smartphones with OLED panel monitors developed in recent years, most follow the trend of folding to the size of a standard smartphone and unfolding to a screen two or three times as big,” nendo states. “By using the folding technology, portability is enhanced and the compactness can be exploited for a new sense of functionality - instead of the screen being enlarged. "Like an inchworm, the phone makes use of its

multiple joints to, in effect, slide sideways and can be transformed only by the user's one-thumb operation." Sliding one-fold up opens up 40 millimetres of the screen, allowing users to access their call history, view the time or play music. The second fold reveals 80 millimetres of the screen, opening the phone up to the camera which will now have moved to the top of the device. Unfolding the rest of the screen reveals a thin, seveninch touchscreen that turns into an operating panel with touchscreen buttons when turned horizontally. The controls set on the side of the phone are shaped like ellipses that function as two buttons, becoming smaller, semicircular buttons when folded out, and eventually combining into a single large button as the phone slides up and down. Suede leather covers each of the hinges, while the exterior encompasses a variety of colour options such as black, silver, sage green and brick red. The phone also comes with a cuboid-shaped wireless charger with a cutout in its centre in which to insert the device. “The design opens up new possibilities for smartphones and for their use, not only while fully folded or opened but while partially unfolded or while bent,” nendo says. Photography by Akihiro Yoshida





identity speaks to Sir David Adjaye about his new proposal for the Edo Museum of West African Art and what it means for the continent at large WORDS BY AIDAN IMANOVA



Images courtesy of Adjaye Associates.

djacent to the Royal Palace of the Oba in the centre of Benin City is a site that will house the new Edo Museum of West African Art (EMOWAA), designed by Adjaye Associates, a practice led by Ghanaian-British architect, Sir David Adjaye. Developed by the Legacy Restoration Trust (LRT), the ambitious architectural endeavour is also associated with an archeological initiative being developed by LRT in partnership with the British Museum as well as other partners in Nigeria, and Adjaye Associates. The project aims to investigate the archaeology of the ancient Kingdom of Benin – in modern-day Nigeria – the remnants of which are buried below the proposed site of the new museum, including what is believed to be preserved buildings and traces of elaborate pavements made of pottery fragments that were revealed during test excavations in the 1950s and ‘60s. Excavation works will take place prior to the construction of the museum and will continue for a period of five years. The project is developed with the approval of the Benin Royal Court and the Edo State Government, and in partnership with the National Commission for Museums and Monuments as well as a range of partners from local communities. The new museum, which will house West African art and artefacts as well as contemporary collections from the continent, aims to create new ways of engaging local communities and reconnecting people with their history. It is also focused on reuniting important Benin artworks and artefacts that had been looted during the invasion and destruction of Benin City by British forces in 1897; a time where the Kingdom of Benin was established as one of the most important and powerful pre-colonial states of West Africa, and a major trading state. The city’s shrines, royal chambers and storerooms were ransacked, and thousands of objects of ceremonial and ritualistic value were looted. Benin City remains renowned for its castings in brass and bronze; one of the most prominent artefacts looted from the Kingdom is the Benin Bronzes, including several hundred plaques that depict narratives of the life of the Kingdom. Many of these artefacts are currently on display across museums in the UK, Europe and the USA, with the British Museum currently holding over 900 objects from Benin, including more than 100 that are on public display. DESIGN WITHOUT BOUNDARIES



For Adjaye, the museum is an opportunity to reclaim and reteach the history of the ancient Kingdom of Benin through an interrogation of its “thriving civilisation” that predated its colonial history. “There is an incredible legacy handed down to us by our ancestors that has largely been unheard or close to forgotten,” Adjaye tells identity. “EMOWAA is not intended simply as a space in which the Benin Bronzes are returned but a space in which history is re-situated and re-understood. The artefacts are sacred objects that hold the ability to restore the stories of an ancient kingdom and renew the ancient intelligence of the African past. For me, the possibility of re-storying history through disrupting and decentralising typologies of architecture is something that plays heavily in my works, and the possibility of doing this on African soil will, I believe, spark an African Renaissance.” He adds that the integral first step towards restitution is establishing the infrastructure that will enable the return of these artefacts. “The conception of this museum entails an interrogation into a particular trajectory of colonial history, to uncover West Africa’s thriving civilisation before the colonial encounter,” Adjaye continues. “The project asks what a museum on the African continent in the 21st century can really be, and in this sense it occupies the temporal scales of reclaiming the past in a post-colonial moment and to use this reclamation as a re-teaching tool in the present to ensure a re-storying of history and ancestral wisdom to influence future generations.” The architectural proposal for EMOWAA connects the museum with its surrounding landscape by revitalising and incorporating the surviving remains of the walls, moats and gates of the historic city. Inspired by this historical architectural typology, the museum’s design includes a courtyard in the form of a public garden with various indigenous flora and a shading


canopy, creating a green space for gathering, ceremonies and events. “In the way that the artefacts connect through ritual to the people, the museum connects through its spatial design to the community by providing an infrastructure to gather for social events, outdoor and indoor festivals, ceremonies, lectures and education spaces,” Adjaye explains. A series of elevated volumes float above the gardens, making up its galleries, within which sit pavilions inspired by “fragments of reconstructed historic compounds” that allow the objects to be arranged in their pre-colonial context. This creates a scenario in which visitors can better understand the true significance of the artefacts and their significance within the culture of Benin City, from traditions, politics and economics to rituals. “EMOWAA operates both as a museum and a community centre meant to engage visitors on a global and local scale,” Adjaye explains. “The objects and artefacts once seized from Benin were intrinsically connected to rites and ceremonies of the Benin people, some even recording historic events of the Kingdom’s past. This is an archival history that provides a great advantage to Nigerian and international scholars, as well as the larger community, who now have the opportunity to understand their history.” It is hoped that the archaeological finds uncovered during the excavations, which are set to begin in 2021, will be retained in their original position in order to become part of the visitor experience of the new museum. “The architecture of EMOWAA is in intimate conversation with its archaeological counterpart, and what is represented internally or programmatically through the representation of Benin history is also represented externally or architecturally. The archaeology is used as a means of connecting the new museum through design into the surrounding landscape,” Adjaye says. id





Neighbouring sounds

Launched in Palestine during the lockdown, Radio Alhara broke geographical and disciplinary boundaries to create a close-knit community of creatives that found common ground

Words by Aidan Imanova


t a time that has come to be defined by uncertainty, isolation and monotony, Palestinian architects Elias and Yousef Anastas – founders of AAU Anastas, based out of Bethlehem – created a communal online radio station called Radio Alhara with no real agenda other than sharing music as a bridge to connect with the outside world. Months later, the sounds from Radio Alhara, which translates to ‘neighbourhood radio’, travelled as close as Ramallah and as far as Mexico City, bringing together a community of multidisciplinary creatives from architects and designers to photographers and DJs. Radio Alhara is run by the Anastas brothers, alongside artist Yazan Khalili and founders of Amman-based graphic design studio Turbo, Saeed Abu-Jaber and Mothanna Hussein. Inspired by its predecessors such as Radio Quartiere Milano, which started at the beginning of the lockdown, Radio Alhara is the third part of a project called ‘Ya Makan’, which hosts Radio il Hai in Beirut and Radio Alhuma in Tunis – both also meaning ‘neighbourhood radio’ in colloquial dialects. “The pandemic created a kind of binding relationship and connection between different countries around the world and we felt like the entire planet became one neighbourhood,” says Elias. Being based in Palestine meant living in even further isolation from the rest of the world, he explains. The creation of Radio Alhara enabled the marginalised country to flip the script and become “a focal point” through which others were able to connect. Elias adds that as Palestinians, access to travel even within the region is difficult. The radio’s unintimidating and open communal approach


has allowed them to connect with creatives all over the Middle East and beyond. “I think it is very much related to design in that sense,” he says. “Design is automatically affiliated with territory for us and I think the Radio is encompassing this idea of territory because it is something that is extremely fragile,” says Elias. Sound, in this instance, was able to abstract the limits of territory and political restrictions, he adds. “The Radio has a very strong relationship to our architecture because, at the end of the day, it’s a sonic space and the way you construct it involves daily commitment. We like to think that the Radio is a reflection of what a public space is. We don’t have a specific agenda, it’s just a space that has the ability to construct different spatial sounds.


“It started with music and we have had cultural programmes, cooking podcasts in the mornings and podcasts on spatial and architectural politics in the afternoon, but it is essentially about music. I think in these specific times you want to listen to things that are easy and accessible to everyone. And that’s another thing: it is a radio [show] for everyone by everyone. At the end of the day, we started the radio with three other friends, but the construction of the radio depends essentially on the contributors – all the contributors became the family of the radio and that forged its identity.” The open-source station allows anyone who wishes to contribute their music to be able to do so via a Dropbox link that is later organised by the founders. This also fulfills the aim of blurring the boundaries between listeners and producers. The chat room is another essential element of Radio Alhara, which has grown in popularity and engagement and furthered the collective spirit of the radio. Social media has also played an important role in establishing the station's presence through a

strong visual curation. Many of the posters for its various shows during the day have been designed by graphic designers and illustrators from across the globe. The team has also recently announced an open call for images to use to promote its shows, receiving submissions from photographers, illustrators and architects, as well as listeners from various backgrounds who are outside the creative discipline. The brothers explain that blurring knowledge systems is an important part of the radio but also vital to their architectural practice. “We believe that transversality and cross-sections of knowledge are the way forward,” says Elias. “It is actually something that is already imbedded in our way of thinking and our way of working; trying to involve different actors and different disciplines. It is the way we think about the future of our profession and I think the radio has responded to that.” DESIGN WITHOUT BOUNDARIES


Willo Perron

Photo by Vincent Haycock

and the cultural zeitgeist


Canadian-born Willo Perron is difficult to define – and he seems to like it that way. One of the most prolific and versatile designers of his generation, Perron is the mastermind behind some of the most recognisable moments in contemporary pop culture. Whether it is floating a life-size inflatable yellow Ferrari over a crowd at a Drake concert, or designing the Yeezy stores for Kanye West, Perron has had a hand in it all. His LA-based design practice, W P & A, works across various disciplines, including interior design and furniture. We catch up with Perron over Zoom to learn more about design’s grey areas. CONVERSATION WITH AIDAN IMANOVA


our scope of work is so vast and diverse, without any specific disciplinary boundaries. Where does that stem from? I think it’s a mix of things. I think that in the past, disciplines had a lot to do with technique and learning technique, and then the accessibility to technique became a lot easier. In the past, if you wanted to take images, you would need a fancy camera or a dark room; now you can just grab your phone. To be a graphic designer you needed a $10,000 scanner and printer, and computers were super expensive. I think the boundary of mediums had a lot to do with technique. I’m kind of the first generation of people with the ‘all you need is a laptop and iPhone’ attitude. The second part of that is that I’m easily bored. I’m not the kind of person who finesses a craft because then I feel like I’m just locking myself into a corner, doing the same thing over and over. And thirdly, I didn’t have a formal education which has permitted me to just try things. Not jokingly, but most of my career is mistakes. It’s just having the courage to try things and mess up and to realise that messing up is part of the process. What you do has been defined in so many ways. What title do you feel most comfortable with? I lean towards designer, it’s unpretentious. The term ‘creative director’ got co-opted by everything and everybody, so it has almost zero value even though that probably best describes what I do – but the term doesn’t make sense anymore. A lot of what I do is strategy and thinking about things. A designer doesn’t quite encompass all of that but when people ask me what my office is, I say ‘it’s a design studio’. At the end of the day, designers are problem solvers so what we do is solve ‘problems’ in the cultural sphere or graphic sphere. As someone whose work is an amalgamation of so many different

mediums, how would you describe ‘design’? I think it relates back to what I was saying about solving problems – and not necessarily problems that are roadblocks. If I take a person I’m working with or a brand, the problem would be ‘how do you best represent that in the medium that you’re working with?’ Like, what is the best version of an interior for so-and-so brand? It’s about pushing things forward and trying new things but also really respecting the idiosyncracies and subtleties and what has been built into that space already, and understanding who the audience is – it is all part of design. I think a lot of design is driven by ego; this idea that you have the right vision for what the world should be, and everybody should fall into that. But my practice is very much about ‘how does this person feel in that environment?’ Although you’ve worked with so many different brands, there is a sense of stylistic consistency in your work. How do you maintain it with such a vast portfolio of collaborations? There is definitely me in a lot of these collaborations. From a young age I always thought of my career and my voice starting later in life. I was very driven but I’m also very curious and adaptive and collaborative. So, I’ve just been taking in all the information for the first 20-25 years that I’ve been working. I think now I am starting to develop what my identity looks like. You being able to see the consistency in the work is probably more recent. In the last few years, you are starting to see a visual language that makes sense or is consistent. But also, I think that has to do with zeitgeist. Everybody is kind of seeing the same information culturally. You see it in every medium: from typography to architecture. There is this cultural zeitgeist, this collective consciousness that happens and that formulates a language.




Would you say one discipline influences other parts of your work? One hundred per cent. My studio partner, Bryan Roettinger, and I were talking about this the other day. He comes from academia, he used to be a professor and he used to do graphic design – that was his medium and he is a really incredible art director. We’d be doing a set and we would refer to it in graphic terms. And it’s because I work in so many different mediums that my language is this weird hybrid of architecture, entertainment shows, graphic design and product design that doesn’t really make sense to most people. It’s a totally bastardised language (laughs). It’s funny when we have to work with other mediums and other designers and we just refer to things in a ‘notthat-medium’ terminology and we realise that we spend so much time going from medium to medium that it just gets lost on a lot of people. How do you operate when it comes to working with different scales, such as an interior or a stage design? They are pretty different. They use a different part of the brain. For an interior space, you want things to age well, for the details to be very finessed and the tactileness of the material to be present. You can touch and feel everything. Whereas with live shows, you are an observer and an observer from a distance. And really you are just trying to capture very singular iconography. Also, the detail is not polished. Backstage is pretty much wires and guts. The theatre is very front-facing and it doesn’t have quite the same finish and polish. So, you kind of have

Drake’s Aubrey & the Three Migos Tour, 2018.


to forget about detail to do a show. It becomes more and more about bouncing back and forth between mediums and knowing that you really have to focus on the finish and the idea for the interiors, and the big iconography for shows. Was there a point where you felt like ‘OK this is serious’ and you’re now part of this particular world? I think I’ll have to get back to you on that when I’ve finally settled in... Oh, you’re still finding your legs? (Laughs). I think you have to. It’s complacency to think that you’re great or to think that you deserve something. I’m still learning every day and I still make mistakes. I went from being an independent director/designer to having a whole office of people and that’s been a learning curve – how to manage people and give people enough space to create. That’s a new thing for me that I have spent the last two, three years messing up to finally start to figure it out. Whether or not the level of success in my career is going to be bigger or smaller, this is not the end of creativity in the sense that this is the pinnacle. I think I built my office the way that I built it because it is kind of robust: it does interiors, architecture, furniture, graphics, products, music – so if any one thing becomes uninteresting or less important for me, I can still live. So, when did you get into interior design? I first did a bunch of local stores in Montreal and then we started building the American Apparel chain in the early 2000s. I’ve always designed little stores.


Stüssy store in Shanghai, 2020.

I did two stores for Stüssy back in 2008 and then we didn’t really do any new stores with them until 2017. And now we probably do about eight, 10 stores for them a year. Me investing back into interiors was just really a sense of looking at my future and thinking ‘guys in music don’t age well’. I don’t want to be a guy dyeing his hair black and wearing skinny jeans at 60, with a TikTok account. They are all trying to stay hip with the kids and I just want to age like a normal person. So, I just looked at my life and my work and thought ‘what do I care about profoundly and what do I see myself being able to do for maybe the rest of my life?’ I love architecture and furniture and interior space, and I have always done that, so I thought ‘let me just veer my attention towards there’. And you’re mostly focusing on retail? I guess your cultural and entertainment work translates smoothly into the retail experience. It’s a bit all over the place. We are doing a few residential projects [as well as] retail projects and a couple of commercial projects, and we are also working on a museum at the moment. It has taken a real form in the last two years. But I think with the impasse in shopping, ground commercial spaces will begin to get much cheaper as it’s not going to be as in-demand. So, you are going to get much bigger spaces to work with and they are going to be a hybrid of entertainment and shopping. I don’t think that these big marble mausoleums that make up a lot of luxury goods stores, where you just put things on the rack and just switch the rack four months later, is going to work anymore. There is no reason to leave your house. So, we need to give people a reason. These spaces have to be entertaining or social – they have to be thought through further than is the case now. A bit of

what we are starting to do is beginning to put that language into the retail spaces that we do. I think what’s interesting is that the entertainment background is going to come in very handy in this new hybrid retail space of the near future. From the time you first started until now, what would you say have been some of the biggest shifts? What is particularly different in the way that you’re navigating the design landscape? I think references and inspiration were real research 20 years ago. You had to travel and find some book in a Tokyo library about something you’ve never heard of. I would spend days in bookstores, in museums, and shoot photos and develop them. Even cataloguing things was a process. Now it’s just folders on your desktop. And not to be like ‘oh, the good old days’, but there was a sense of tactileness. I remember one of my old assistants came to my office after he had left, and he’s younger than me by 10 plus years. He was going through my library at the office and he found this book that I got in Japan 20 years ago and have been waiting to use certain references. He just started taking photos of the book and posted it. I have saved this thing for a really long time and I freaked out. For one, you are showing the world something as if it’s yours and also, you’re blasting out my reference material. But that doesn’t exist anymore. That moment for me made me realise that ‘oh, there is no such thing now as proprietary reference material’. Everybody is looking at the same stuff now. So, it’s about ‘how do you take all this stuff and filter it through your own version?’ When you see people’s mood boards, it’s all the same images. So now it’s about what you make of it, how you filter it. And people have been very creative with doing different versions of things.




Perron’s set design for Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty show, featuring an amalgamation of architectural iconography, 2019.






Yeezy Headquarters in Calabasas, California celebrates brutalism and utalitarianism, 2017.

A the second part of my answer to that question is: I think in the last decade we have gone through this new version of post-modernism. The thing about the post-modernists is that they really didn’t care about what happened before or what will happen after that, they just looked at their own belly buttons. And what you get in those moments are things like hybrid art deco with futurism and this weird garbage-y thing and you put 3D on it. Anybody who is from academia or some school of thought will just start freaking out. It doesn’t make sense. I think it created a lot of trashy stuff but it’s kind of interesting to watch. That being said, I think we are now starting to go back to more conventional referential moments because people are now thinking, ‘ok, that was crazy’. It was like everyone bought a bunch of weird stuff they were never going to wear and now they want a classic wool jacket and don’t want their couch to be a squiggly line. It’s like the internet went totally haywire and


it’s the same thing that happened in the ‘80s. But also, a lot of great things happened in those haywire moments like hip hop, punk rock, dance music – it all happened in that weird bleep in the radar. You mentioned earlier that you have only begun developing your voice. What does that voice look like? I hope it is something that keeps developing. I always refer to Baldessari or Warhol – they did all this experimental stuff, and everybody remembers Baldessari for black-and-white photos with big dots on their heads although he made sculptures and shot videos and did installations; it was the same with Warhol. People think about him and screen prints. Frank Gehry did all this incredible stuff and people just think Bilbao and the Disney Hall. I’m not at my screen printing or my dots on people’s heads or my Bilbao just yet. I think it’s still experimental. Maybe one of the things I do now is going to be my pop screen prints. id


Aritzia’s Super World in Manhattan, 2020.




Future faces Tosin Oshinowo and Chrissa Amuah’s conceptual design for Lexus explores the face mask through a universal language of protection, while reflecting on the freedom of movement through craftsmanship, culture, technology and global history







o object was as significant and utilitarian in the year 2020 as the face mask, the use of which became mandatory in many countries across the globe for health and safety reasons. Simultaneously, its compulsory nature stirred protest and doubt, sparking conversations around the freedom of choice and human connection – or the lack thereof. For the latest iteration of Design Miami/ which took place in December 2020, Japanese automotive brand, Lexus commissioned Nigerian architect Tosin Oshinowo and Ghanian-British furniture and textile designer Chrissa Amuah to reflect on the changes the year had brought and to respond through a concept that considers the current global context. ‘Freedom to Move’ was created out of this meditation on the past, present and future, resulting in a series of headpieces that focus on the idea of spectacle and the artistic celebration of craft, history and technology. The design concept encapsulates a collective desire to move through the world freely again. While forming an understanding of today’s face mask and its functionality, Oshinowo and Amuah explored global history in which the head was predominantly considered a focal point for protection and adornment, across various cultures. Though rooted in history, the designers state that the headpieces are also a nod to the future, signalling an unbounded and eternal pursuit of advancement, innovation and discovery. “Now, in the midst of a global pandemic, we all are acutely aware of the head's role both as hostage to and host of an invisible adversary,” the designers explain. “Thinking about the masks that we all now wear for daily protection, we wanted to take a step further and consider how we can not only protect ourselves but use this opportunity to celebrate our joint humanity. If we must wear masks, then let them be glorious! Let them celebrate our humanity and shared joys, rather than conceal them.” The three headpieces - Egaro, Pioneer Futures, and Ògún which each include two iterations – fuse innovative and contemporary technologies with lost techniques and craftsmanship through a variety of cultural references.


“Each iteration allows for a transparent design, because we realised in our exploratory conversations how face coverings are so restricting to human interactions. Body language and facial gestures make such a difference in how we interact with one another and we’ve all realised how imposing this new restriction is. The transparent designs allow us to emphasise and showcase the need for human connection,” the designers explain. Oshinowo and Amuah considered Lexus’ core values, as well as its craft techniques and commitment to technology, by implementing Japanese principles of design such as omotenashi (exceptional hospitality) and takumi (expert craftsmanship), which became integral to their design process. The context of Lagos, Nigeria – where Oshinowo is based – and the wider African continent became another important consideration and point of reference for the project, and where most of the collaboration and production took place. Both designers use the African context as a source of inspiration in their own individual works. Oshinowo employs a socially responsive approach to architecture and urban design that explores the African identity in a modern context, while Amuah’s textile designs draw inspiration from her Ghanaian heritage through Adrinka symbology.


“We wanted the pieces to represent a sense of unity and inspire persistence, despite the changes being presented in the world right now.�

Top: From left: Chrissa Amuah and Tosin Oshinowo. Right: Research samples made from synthetic hair and polyester thread, while exploring African fractal patterning. Opposite page: Beading and suede samples for the Pioneering Futures headpiece.






“‘Freedom to Move’ is a timely and culturally significant reflection of the current state of our world, aimed to be understood in the context of the past, present, and future.”

“As an architect, my work is more structured and static, and I knew that Chrissa’s work with design and material would be beneficial to this collaboration. We both draw inspiration from Africa. Living in Lagos, I often explore the African identity in a modern context, while Chrissa looks to the past, to her Ghanaian heritage and craft techniques that can be repurposed for contemporary settings. Our overarching approach to design is the human experience and we brought this understanding to the collaboration,” Oshinowo tells identity. “We felt grounded in the rich history and vivacious culture of Lagos, and it inspired us to look at human existence on a global scale,” she continues. “Lagos is Africa’s most populous city in Africa’s most populous country and that gave us added context in thinking about human movement. We were also in Lagos during the EndSARS protests, which added to the restriction of our own movement. Overall, it gave us the chance to work with multiple specialists in the field and design and craft, and we were blown away by the skill set in and around Lagos.” The three headpieces integrate a multitude of materials such as brass, bronze, leather and acrylic with detailed hand-beading, leather etching and embroidery using the West African tinko method. Ancient craft techniques were matched with 3D printing and advanced technologies. “Bound by the same global restrictions on movement that originally inspired our designs, we worked virtually, with a short period of in-person collaboration in Lagos. Far from a solo effort, we utilised the help of 3D modellers, bronze casters, sculptors and artists both in Nigeria and in the United Kingdom. Everyone we worked with across Nigeria and beyond are all highly trained and skilled in their work and we definitely pushed the edges of their disciplines. “It was a great exploration period, and important for us to be working with a broader community, which really speaks to the project’s focus on collective humanity. We were able to recognise that though we have many things in common, it is key to appreciate the differences in order to create a really special outcome.” id




The first iteration of Egaro featuring a transparent face cover

Pioneer Futures Pioneer Futures refers to the age of enlightenment where mankind sought to explore the unknown. It references two different times and places in history: Western Europe on the frontiers of technological advancement, seen through the pleated collar made of leather and suede that protects the mouth, paired with a nod to futurism seen through the astronaut dome protecting the eyes. A hand-embroidered pattern references African fractals that make up mathematical connotations. These sequences can be also seen in cornrow hair designs, which are emulated in the pattern, using the West African embroidery technique called tinko. The first iteration includes hand-beaded details over a teal-coloured leather, while the second follows the cornrow pattern over a coral-coloured suede. Materials include: moulded acrylic helmet, beads, knife-pleated suede and leather cape.

Ògún Ògún is the Yorùbá god of war, metal and technology. The namesake design looked at the history of the Benin Kingdom, known for its advanced form of casting bronze sculptures that dates back to 1200 BC and its influence on the Yorùbá people and contribution to modern civilisation. Oshinowo and Amuah utilised the same ancient techniques, working with a fifthgeneration bronze caster in Benin City. Today, bronze casting is manufactured predominantly with brass; however the designers wanted to stay true to the traditional technique and created two iterations: one that was hand-sculpted with brass, and another with bronze. Materials include: a moulded reflective visor, brass, bronze and rhinestone detailing on suede.

The second iteration of Egaro, covered in reflective bronze



Egaro Egaro takes its name from the Termit site in eastern Niger, where archaeological evidence confirms that Africa had independently invented its own iron technology 5000 years ago. It is a celebration of the discoveries and advancements that originated in the continent. The stencil design running across the headpieces acts as a face shield, covering the eyes, nose and mouth, offering added protection. The pattern that is etched onto the visor is called ‘Breathe’, which is inspired by the pulmonary veins of the lungs. It also follows an African fractal rhythm, which is further echoed in the embroidery seen in Pioneer Futures. The first iteration is transparent, while the second is covered with reflective bronze. Materials include: moulded transparent acrylic and brass.



Phygital reality 36

Carmelo Zappulla, the designer behind the latest Presentedby retail store in Dubai, talks about blurring the lines between digital and physical space WORDS BY AIDAN IMANOVA Presentedby store at Level Shoes in Dubai, 2020.




Carmelo Zappulla


aving completed the design for the first Presentby consignment store in London with his Barcelonabased multidisciplinary practice External Reference, Italian architect Carmelo Zappulla soon went on to design the sneaker and streetwear brand’s retail concepts in Mexico City, Paris, Doha, Birmingham and Manchester, as well as a second London location for Harvey Nichols. Having shaped the brand’s design identity and retail concepts worldwide, Zappulla took on the additional title of creative director. Dubai is his latest venture with Presentedby, which is located inside Level Shoes in The Dubai Mall. “The world of retail needs a revolution and with Presentedby we had the chance to boost a new creative vision all around the world,” he says. “When we designed the Dubai store, we knew we were creating a concept without precedents: a concentrate of innovation where art and design produce the next destiny for the sneaker community.” The fully immersive and experiential store is wrapped in a 3D-printed lattice structure that showcases some of the most expensive and exclusive sneakers, while interactive projections decorate the walls and floors, encouraging visitors to interact with the space. At the centre of the store, one can watch a holographic show unfold. The store is designed to go beyond a typical retail experience and instead acts as an exhibition of audiovisual technologies and digital fabrication where the digital dimension informs the physical and vice versa. At its core, the store is an amalgamation of influences, including technology, fashion, urban culture and design. Zappulla explains how context plays a vital role in informing the design of the Presentedby stores. In London, for instance, the design implements red brick elements that are representative of the urban fabric of the city. In Dubai, everything had to be on a heightened scale, and far more contemporary and spectacular, to capture the fast-paced glamour of the metropolis. “Technologically, it was quite a challenge,” he admits. “We


3D-printed everything in Barcelona where I am based and then we shipped it to Dubai so I could control all the production. If you look closely, you can see some glitches and imperfections in the end result, but I like it – because it is part of the process.” Zappulla argues that there is a misconception in the way technology is equated with perfection. “3D printing is still an ongoing technology,” he says. “We always tend to think that technology is something perfect but at the end of the day, it also has its own challenges – it has to deal with gravity, with material, so in a manner, it is also somewhat analogue. When it becomes physical, it also has to struggle with reality. So why hide the imperfections if it’s part of the process? It’s like when you have a pixel that is visible – it’s what makes things real and warm. “With this store, I wanted to push the boundaries of technology and interaction but if you look at my other projects, I always try to merge and to find relationships between craftsmanship, experience and digital fabrication. There is always a place for this kind of interaction, and it is something that I love.” Formally trained as an architect, Zappulla is involved in academia, teaching at various universities and engaging in research with a focus on geometrics and complex morphologies. This led him to explore solutions in the world of digital manufacturing which he has applied not only academically but also in his projects. Ultimately, his scientific investigations are motivated by a curiosity in design integration and technological advancements that could improve the impact of our daily lives. Physical and digital worlds collide in the works of External Reference, and Zappulla believes that this relationship is what helps generate new experiences for users – something that is becoming increasingly important for retail at a time where online shopping is taking precedence. “This doesn’t mean that the offline experience will disappear,” he comments. “Instead, it means that offline stores have to adapt to this revolution and the ones that don’t adapt will disappear. We can never lose physical stores because they are part of our leisure.” Nevertheless, ‘experience’ is vital to the way we design, he says – a realisation that became even more apparent during the lockdown. “There was a boom in food delivery services in Barcelona during the lockdown,” he shares. “Even Michelin star restaurants were delivering to customers. I tried it but it was not the same as when you experience the food within a space especially designed for it.” Zappulla is behind the design of Michelin-star restaurant Alkimia in Barcelona, which is conceived as a continuous scenography that fosters a sensory experience for its guests. The restaurant won the architect a number of prestigious design awards. “I guess now ‘experience’ has become an overused word. It is being used for everything,” he adds, “but then again, everything is an experience. For me, it is something that involves all the senses.


The Infinity Room at the Presentedy store in Dubai features an immersive holographic experience, showcasing the brand’s most exclusive, collectible pieces . DESIGN WITHOUT BOUNDARIES



Alkimia restaurant in Barcelona, 2018.

It needs to take into consideration comfort, ambiance, lighting and the overall environment. All these things are fundamental to having a good experience.” Zappulla also carries a strong background in exhibition design, and is currently working on the Spanish Pavilion for Expo 2020 Dubai as well as the Peruvian Pavilion. Designing retail stores is very much like designing a museum now, he says, where – especially in consignment stores like Presentedby – the value of the items sometimes equal that of an artwork one may come across at a gallery. The two worlds collide, he affirms. “When Duchamp signed the urinal, it was a completely pop operation; he was just putting his brand on top of something, and it is what they are doing here,” he says, pointing at a skateboard that is the product of a collaboration between streetwear brand Supreme and Louis Vuitton. “If you look at this skateboard, it is a collaboration between two brands, but they are signing a skateboard with a value of maybe 300 euros which is now costing 3000 euros. So, the act is the same: it is a pop operation. What we don’t know is if the value of this board will


be the same in 20 years. Because fashion changes. But the pieces are treated like artworks, like a manifesto of urban culture or streetwear culture. This is why experience is important. It is important how you display things and the way you interact with the space, and all these things are coming from the world of exhibitions.” Zappulla considers himself a multidisciplinary designer and rejects the notion of specialisation. “When you specialise, you lose a sense of freshness and multidisciplinarity. I believe in disciplines that can meet and inform each other.” He continues: “I started working in retail with a background in architecture, but I never did a Masters in retail. I just designed my first retail store and my first restaurant without having previous experience. This is what gives it a sense of freshness, doing something new. Of course, it is a big challenge, but I think if you take a step that is longer than your legs, there are two possibilities: you either fall or your legs catch up. So far, in all the projects that we have worked on, we've always tried to reinvent things. So, I don’t believe in a mono-discipline or in specialisation. I believe in working across many scales to encompass a ‘total design’.” id


Meeting room at the Sayrach Principal Office Club in Casa Sayrach, Barcelona, 2020. DESIGN WITHOUT BOUNDARIES



Aurelien Chen’s solitary pavilion recreates an ethereal and abstracted ‘painting’ of a traditional Chinese landscape WORDS BY AIDAN IMANOVA PHOTOGRAPHY BY AURELIEN CHEN




et against the backdrop of Rizhao, a coastal city in the southeastern Chinese province of Shandong, an ethereal installation emerges like a mirage from the roadside, marking the southern entrance to Zhulong Shan – the Dragon Mountain Natural Site. Depicting a typical Chinese landscape, or ‘shan shui’, the Dragon Mountain Pavilion evokes an image of mountains, forest, clouds and water. Commissioned by Rizhao Fada Jituan, the company in charge of the tourism development of the natural scenic location, the permanent pavilion is the counterpart to the other pavilion that marks the southern entrance to the site; both have been designed by architect Aurelien Chen. The southern gate and tourist centre integrated into the surrounding landscape of the site uses traditional local materials such as stone, wood and bamboo. “My goal was to create a dialogue between these two projects,” Chen explains. “They are opposites and yet they complete each other, just like the unity of opposites of Yin and Yang. In these two projects, mass is an answer to lightness, while stones are cemented together and poles are separated from one another. The general shape – a mountain – is identical for both projects.” The structure primarily serves as a roadside landmark to draw attention to the natural park, featuring a variety of sequences through which it can be approached and many more levels in the way it can be perceived. Chen compares the structure of the pavilion to a painting that has been realised in a physical, contemporary form. It is also a space for “pause, shelter and transition between travel and a visit to the natural site,” he says. While approaching the site from the street, a vibrant mountainous structure composed of 200 inox poles subtly appears in the distance, almost like an optical illusion. With speed, the poles become a single surface and the effects created by the different materials making up the poles reveal the shape of a new mountain.






While moving closer, one discovers a miniature landscape in which one can move and stroll at leisure. The poles become a forest, while a black marble river invites visitors to walk towards the real mountain that stands out against the horizon. The canopies placed above the visitors’ heads to represent clouds turn out to be mirrors. In this peaceful setting, urban life continues reflecting itself on the mirror canopies and on the surfaces of the poles. The perforations on the mirror panels create an interplay of light and shadow, marking the passing of time. At night, thousands of stars appear on the poles, perforated randomly, giving shape to a mountain vibrant with light. “The installation is a gateway, a space in between the hectic and trafficked road and the majestic, still natural landscape of the mountain. It allows a transition between these two spaces, dimensions and states of mind, and emotions that are evoked in the visitor,” Chen reflects. He explains how the main effects that trigger differences in perception are down to the use of materials. “The first effect is an optical illusion given to the visitors who arrive by car. Each pole is made of three different materials, which are, from the base to the top: stainless steel, polished stainless steel and white paint. With the effect of the speed, the poles become 46

a single surface and the reflections created by the different materials composing the poles reveal the shape of a mountain. “The second effect is more abstract,” he continues. “It refers to ‘time’, or more precisely, to different temporalities. It’s a contrast to the adjacent road. I counterposed a poetic experience, a temporal and spatial pause, creating a moment of calm and reflection on the elements that make up a traditional Chinese landscape. The images of cars passing by are reflected over the poles, which later disappear behind the poles and reappear between the gaps. “Inside the installation there is an opposite temporality; one that is slow and marked not only by the shadows of the poles that are aligned as in a solar clock, but also by the lighting effects created by the rays of sunlight passing through the perforations of the artificial clouds placed on top.” Chen considers Dragon Mountain Pavilion to be many things: sculpture, architecture and landscape, all at the same time. “These three aspects can be more or less dominant according to the different scales of perception. From afar, the viewer perceives a sculpture vibrant with light. While approaching one starts to perceive a place, an architectural space integrated in the landscape; and finally, discovers and experiences a miniature landscape.” id





Respite & Reflection Roar’s recently completed Sensasia Stories spa references pan-Asian architectural typologies with a contemporary twist Photography by Oculis Project

The theatrical yet restrained design for Sensasia Stories spa in Dubai’s Kempinksi Hotel Mall of the Emirates sets it right at the heart of the city’s thriving wellness scene, and was completed by UAE-based interior design studio Roar, headed by Pallavi Dean. The flagship destination – part of the Sensasia brand under Majid Al Futtaim Group – is a 372-square metre space that takes design cues from its pan-Asian roots through an exploration of the region’s architectural typologies. Throughout their research, Roar observed that arches made a consistent appearance as a predominant feature, eventually inspiring the many areas of the spa. “We cast the net wide to understand the architecture of the region, looking at countries such as Thailand, Bali and Vietnam for inspiration,” Dean shares. Arches dominate the space through both dramatic and subtle interventions, from the illuminating arches set above the male and female lobbies to decorative elements forming around the shelving in the reception area. The striking parametric installation of arches in the spa’s shopping area is additionally designed to lure in passing shoppers from the mall, which makes up one of the entrances to the spa; the second entrance being from the hotel. The 5m-tall formation of arches that interacts at the centre is locally manufactured with welded metal and features an ‘imesh’ screen layered between the lighting and the metal. 48







Overall, Dean says that the design process for Sensasia Stories was an exercise in restraint. “We have purposefully not overpowered the senses,” she explains. “Instead, we created a place of quiet, respite and reflection. The interior scheme, which includes dark and light hues of grey, complemented by a warm wood finish and strong stone slabs, allows one to just ‘be’.” The earthy colour palette is complemented by a similarly restrained material selection, from grey stone and slate and the brown-toned Bolon luxury vinyl flooring to the natural textures of the hessian wallpaper. The materials are implemented across the space in a variety of forms. For example, the grey basalt was either leathered, stripped, carved, or honed for the hammam bed or used in its raw form. It is this versatility in textures that strengthens the totality of the space and offers a holistic design experience. The tactile layering was also helpful in controlling the acoustics of the space, as well as enhancing the warmth that cocoons the overall interior. Roar used floor-to-ceiling pivotal wooden screens as physical barriers between different spaces while simultaneously creating visual connections between various rooms and areas of the spa. Additionally, the furniture across the space is purposely pared back, and is manufactured by Bond Interiors. Its clean geometry allows it to blend with the interior architecture of the space without competing for attention. The interplay of textures in the fabric selection also enhances the monochromatic tone-on-tone palette.

The studio also worked with independent lighting consultant Alexander Holler to tackle the lack of natural light. This was turned around by enhancing the tranquil atmosphere of the space with illuminations that were fitting to the overall function of the spa, without overpowering it. They also offer different ‘lighting scenes’ that can be implemented across various spaces, depending on use, and which are all fully automated. “In a spa, clients spend a lot of time on their backs, so we decided to celebrate the ceilings which are often neglected by cladding them with a captivating bronze mesh structure. Each room has a unique pattern that creates a new experience for every visit,” says Dean. Flexibility was an important consideration for Roar, who, in addition to creating a striking space, were briefed to maximise revenue per square metre. With careful spatial planning, the studio was able to cleverly convert a space previously built for four treatment rooms into one that could now accommodate eight, without it feeling overcrowded. The spa additionally enables male and female spas to be interchanged, in the event that one is overbooked. With interior spaces increasingly focusing on the user experience, Roar was able to fine-tune the balance between wow-ing and soothing by manoeuvring visitors through features that spark curiosity while calming the senses. id



design focus




ast year saw the home take centre stage as more people spent time indoors with additional time on their hands to consider innovative and stylish ways to give their spaces a facelift. Whether investing in a full refurbishment, redecorating certain areas of the home or simply indulging in new furniture and accessories, the excitement to breathe new life into one’s home was apparent – and still is now. In the following pages, we round up a series of furniture and homeware collections to elevate the home. Be it whimsical or timeless, these pieces from established and up-and-coming designers and brands cater to an array of tastes and styles.


living spaces

Officina by Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec for Magis

Italian design and traditional craftsmanship are harmoniously combined in the Magis Officina collection which explores a new creative language through the ancient fabrication process of iron forging. Throughout history this technique has been used to create an infinite number of everyday objects and decorative artefacts. The products in this collection feature a typical wrought iron structure and finish that gives them their design object appeal, while bringing the allure of a raw material handed down through centuries. The distinctly industrial feel of the collection lends itself to create interesting contrasts in any setting. With the launch of a twoseater bench and a selection of upholstered pieces including an armchair and an ottoman, as well as two-and-three-seat sofas, the collection is alive with slight imperfections that adds to its distinct quality, while embracing a refined and elegant spirit.



design focus

VIDIVIXI 2020 Collection Photography by Jorge Abuxaqui

Mexico City-based VIDIVIXI is one to watch. Founded in New York City by designer Mark Grattan, who was later joined by his business partner Adam Caplowe upon his move to Mexico, the brand encompasses what the duo calls the ethos of “the vogue of modern living”, where the worlds of vintage, classic and modern combine to birth a range of timeless objects that are able to thrive in diverse environments. Its latest collection fuses warm voluminous forms and bold graphic contours reflecting upon themes of repetition, curvature and simple shapes that are combined to create the individually striking pieces of the collection. From rolling


organic profiles to linear accents and a muted colour palette, each piece in the collection is a hero in and of itself – evoking a richness in material, form and hue with bold sensuality. Its iconic platform bed frame that has graced many Pinterest boards and Instagram pages since its launch now comes in a new two-tone colour way of green and black, stretching around a folded mattress frame that is inspired by traditional Japanese furniture. VIDIVIXI’s new collection is currently being showcased at its recently opened Mexico City showroom, which sets each piece in a moody, theatrical setting that is both sensory and seductive.

living spaces

Diesel Living for Moroso As part of its 2021 preview in collaboration with Diesel Living, Moroso's latest collection is – aptly – inspired by the sense of rediscovering the home. It includes pieces that are suitable for various living solutions, including the Mecano shelving system and the Nebula Night sofa bed. Other products have been added to complete existing collections, including new upholstered items for the Overdyed family and a new finish for

the Pylon table. The star in the collection is the Mecano shelving system that is modular and draws on strong industrial inspiration, expressing all of its technical detailing instead of attempting to conceal it. The shelving unit is characterised by its clean geometric lines and can be installed individually or in compositions of several modules, on the wall or ceiling, creating a versatile object that can additionally act as a divider.

Solids by Cobra Studios Brussels-based Cobra Studio is another design practice to keep on your radar. It was founded by architect Kenny Decommer and scenographic designer Hugues Delaunay, and the studio has created surprising and sculptural furniture pieces for their first collection, playing with colour, material, form and volume. Titled Solids, it features a selection of tables inspired by the classical order of Roman architecture including dinner tables, coffee tables and side tables - all made up of geometric shapes that are contrasted to create new volumes. With nods to Memphis and postmodernism, the heavy legs of the tables are made of epoxy resin and act as shiny, solid columns supporting the thin, soft tabletops. Each piece is designed to be a sculptural entity within its environment. The collection also includes a theatrical lamp that is made up of steel tubes and adapts to various settings when switched on or off.



design focus

Yinka Ilori Homeware

Nigerian-British designer Yinka Ilori has launched his first-ever homeware collection that is a continuation of his multidisciplinary works and draws inspiration from his dual heritage and childhood. Much like all of Ilori’s projects, the homeware collection is a colourful celebration of cultures expressed through abstract, technicolour patterns and contemporary craft. The functional household items, including cushions, wool rugs, trays, stoneware bowls and plates, enamel mugs and various textile-driven accessories are presented as functional artworks. With each piece maintaining a sense of narrative, the collection aims to instil the sense of optimism and joy that is strongly present throughout Ilori’s design portfolio. The collection sets a strong focus on craftsmanship in order to create pieces with a long lifespan. From hand-turned stoneware created in Portugal and the jacquard table linens and cushions, to industrial enamelware handmade in Poland and hand-knotted woold rugs crafted in Nepal, Ilori’s first homeware collection blurs the boundaries of functionality and art in true style. id


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Iconic, Fossil, Basalt Bold, Basalt, Fossil Iconic, Fossil, Basalt Vibrant, Basalt, Mineral Bold, Basalt, Fossil Dynamic, Mineral, Iconic, Fossil, BasaltChalk Vibrant, Basalt, Mineral Bold, Basalt, Fossil Dynamic, Mineral, Chalk 5⁄8" x 23 5⁄8") 600 x 600mm (23Mineral Vibrant, Basalt, 15 & 20mmMineral, ( 5⁄8" & 3⁄Chalk 4") Dynamic, 600 x 600mm (23 5⁄8" x 23 5⁄8") 15 & 20mm ( 5⁄8" & 3⁄4") 600 x 600mm (23 5⁄8" x 23 5⁄8") 15 & 20mm ( 5⁄8" & 3⁄4")

The Square sits within the collection as a beautiful, contemporary optical illusion that explores the The Square sits within the collection as a beautiful, sumptuous aesthetic and architecture of squares. contemporary optical illusion that explores the With the capacity to mix classicascolours, the The Square sits within thethese collection a beautiful, sumptuous aesthetic and architecture of squares. interior possibilities of the Square are endless. contemporary optical illusion that explores the With the capacity to mix these classic colours, the The Squareaesthetic is also available as wall tile sumptuous and architecture of with squares. interior possibilities of the Square are endless. raised parts, creating an these exciting 3D look. With the capacity to mix classic colours, the The Square is also available as wall tile with interior possibilities of the Square are endless. raised parts, creating an exciting 3D look. The Square is also available as wall tile with raised parts, creating an exciting 3D look.

Lobo & Listone | www.lobolistone.com Lobo & Listone | www.lobolistone.com

Hakwood collection by Kelly Hoppen Hakwood collection by Kelly Hoppen


Abstract, Basalt, Chalk Vibrant, Mineral, Basalt Abstract, Basalt, Chalk Grand, Flint, Basalt Vibrant, Mineral, Basalt Abstract, Basalt, Chalk Grand, Flint, Basalt GRID 1-4 Mineral, Basalt Vibrant, 800 x 800mm (31 1⁄2" x 31 1⁄2") Grand, Flint, Basalt GRID 1-4 15 & 20mm ( 5⁄8" & 3⁄4") 800 x 800mm (31 1⁄2" x 31 1⁄2") GRID 1-4 15 & 20mm ( 5⁄8" & 3⁄4") 800 x 800mm (31 1⁄2" x 31 1⁄2") 15 & 20mm ( 5⁄8" & 3⁄4")

The Grid tile features a canvas of beautiful vertical strips, in varying dimensions, the colours of which The Grid tile features a canvas of beautiful vertical can be combined to create a bespoke statement strips, in varying dimensions, the colours of which surface project. The Gridfor tileeach features a canvas of beautiful vertical can be combined to create a bespoke statement strips, in varying dimensions, the colours of which surface for each project. can be combined to create a bespoke statement surface for each project.

Lobo & Listone | www.lobolistone.com Lobo & Listone | www.lobolistone.com

Hakwood collection by Kelly Hoppen Hakwood collection by Kelly Hoppen

LINE LINE LINE Iconic, Fossil (metal-silver) Vibrant, Mineral (metal-silver) Iconic, Fossil (metal-silver) Abstract, Basalt (metal-gold) Vibrant, Mineral (metal-silver) Grand, Fossil Flint (metal-silver) Iconic, (metal-silver) Abstract, Basalt (metal-gold) Vibrant, Mineral (metal-silver) Grand, Flint (metal-silver) 1⁄8" x 18 1⁄8") 460 x 460mm (18(metal-gold) Abstract, Basalt 15 & 20mm ⁄8" & 3⁄4") Grand, Flint( 5(metal-silver) 460 x 460mm (18 1⁄8" x 18 1⁄8") 15 & 20mm ( 5⁄8" & 3⁄4") 460 x 460mm (18 1⁄8" x 18 1⁄8")


15 & 20mm ( 5⁄8" & 3⁄4")


The Line tile sits in the Kelly Hoppen collection as the perfect foundation for any interior, whether it be on The Line tile sits in the Kelly Hoppen collection as the the walls or floors. Featuring linear metal dashes set perfect foundation for any interior, whether it be on upon neutral, colour wood, collection the minimalist The Line tile sits in thewashed Kelly Hoppen as the the walls or floors. Featuring linear metal dashes set Line tile plays with depth and texture, and perfectly perfect foundation for any interior, whether it be on upon neutral, colour washed wood, the minimalist embodies Hoppen’s signature aesthetic of set the walls orKelly floors. Featuring linear metal dashes Line tile plays with depth and texture, and perfectly simplicity, balance, style. wood, the minimalist upon neutral, colourand washed embodies Kelly Hoppen’s signature aesthetic of Line tile plays with depth and texture, and perfectly simplicity, balance, and style. LINEmix is a companion without metal accents, embodies Kelly Hoppen’stile signature aesthetic of available the same colours simplicity, in balance, and style. as Line. LINEmix is a companion tile without metal accents, available in the same colours as Line. LINEmix is a companion tile without metal accents, available in the same colours as Line.

Lobo & Listone | www.lobolistone.com Lobo & Listone | www.lobolistone.com

Hakwood collection by Kelly Hoppen Hakwood collection by Kelly Hoppen

V V V Iconic, Fossil, Mineral, Basalt Vibrant, Mineral, Chalk, Basalt Iconic, Fossil, Mineral, Basalt Divine, Fossil, Chalk Vibrant, Mineral, Chalk, Basalt Energetic, Fossil, ChalkBasalt Iconic, Fossil, Mineral, Divine, Fossil, Chalk Grand, Flint, Basalt Vibrant, Mineral, Chalk, Basalt Energetic, Fossil, Chalk Divine, Fossil, Chalk Grand, Flint, Basalt 745 x 745mm (29 11Chalk ⁄32" x 29 11⁄32") Energetic, Fossil, 15 & 20mm ⁄8" & 3⁄4") Grand, Flint,( 5Basalt 745 x 745mm (29 11⁄32" x 29 11⁄32") 15 & 20mm ( 5⁄8" & 3⁄4") 745 x 745mm (29 11⁄32" x 29 11⁄32") 15 & 20mm ( 5⁄8" & 3⁄4")

In a nod to the traditional herringbone pattern, the V tile combines diagonal slats into a unique jigsaw In a nod to the traditional herringbone pattern, the to create a stunning, bespoke V shape. With each V tile combines diagonal slats into a unique jigsaw tile two or more complementary shades, In afeaturing nod to the traditional herringbone pattern, the to create a stunning, bespoke V shape. With each this abstract tile really draws the eye and allows V tile combines diagonal slats into a unique jigsaw tile featuring two or more complementary shades, for endless to create a possibilities. stunning, bespoke V shape. With each this abstract tile really draws the eye and allows tile featuring two or more complementary shades, for endless possibilities. this abstract tile really draws the eye and allows for endless possibilities.

Lobo & Listone | www.lobolistone.com Lobo & Listone | www.lobolistone.com

Hakwood collection by Kelly Hoppen Hakwood collection by Kelly Hoppen

SIGNATURE SIGNATURE SIGNATURE Divine, Fossil, Chalk (metal-silver) Iconic, Fossil, Basalt (metal-silver) Divine, Fossil, Chalk (metal-silver) Abstract, Basalt, Chalk (metal-gold) Iconic, Fossil, Basalt (metal-silver) Grand, Divine, Flint, Fossil,Basalt Chalk(metal-gold) (metal-silver) Abstract, Basalt, Chalk (metal-gold) Iconic, Fossil, Basalt (metal-silver) Grand, Flint, Basalt (metal-gold) 5⁄8" x 23 5⁄8") 600 x 600mm (23 Chalk Abstract, Basalt, (metal-gold) 15 & 20mm ⁄8" & 3⁄4(metal-gold) ") Grand, Flint,( 5Basalt 600 x 600mm (23 5⁄8" x 23 5⁄8") 15 & 20mm ( 5⁄8" & 3⁄4") 600 x 600mm (23 5⁄8" x 23 5⁄8") 15 & 20mm ( 5⁄8" & 3⁄4")

The Signature tile honours Hakwood’s dedication to detail, authenticity and originality. The striking, art The Signature tile honours Hakwood’s dedication to deco inspired style of the Signature tile plays with detail, authenticity and originality. The striking, art illusion, structure shadow, designed to make an The Signature tileand honours Hakwood’s dedication to deco inspired style of the Signature tile plays with impact and create a beautifully dramatic statement detail, authenticity and originality. The striking, art illusion, structure and shadow, designed to make an floor wall. style of the Signature tile plays with decoor inspired impact and create a beautifully dramatic statement illusion, structure and shadow, designed to make an floor or wall. impact and create a beautifully dramatic statement floor or wall.

Lobo & Listone | www.lobolistone.com Lobo & Listone | www.lobolistone.com

Lobo & Listone is unique in its commitment to customer delight achieved by an exceptionally broad collection of world-class products and services delivered on time every time. Inhouse expertise and facilities for design and manufacture enables supply of bespoke architectural products to suit individual tastes and requirements.

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Inhabitable fabrics

The late Elke Walter was famed for her iconic amorphic garments. Working across fashion, photography and sculpture, Walker was perhaps best known for dressing the enigmatic Zaha Hadid.

A tribute to

Elke Walter Words by Juan Roldan




had the pleasure of crossing paths with Elke Walter in the summer of 2018 when a pair of good friends (Juan Antonio Fuentes Brito and Guadalupe Cantarero) were organising an exhibition about her work at the Architects Chamber (COAM) in Madrid. The exhibition showcased some of Walter’s one-of-a-kind pieces, including prototypes of the designs created for the late Dame Zaha Hadid. Walter's pieces had captivated Hadid's attention in 2006, at the Puppy Love by Luminaire charity auction in Miami. How they met is a story in itself. It includes a vaudeville, with Walter’s booth set as the main stage. Prior to the opening, the director of the fair told Elke that a celebrity who was interested in her work may show up at some point. After asking who that personality might be, the director remained silent. The fair began and Walter would attend from early in the morning until, suddenly and without prior notice, a group of workers approached her open booth with studs, drywalls and a door. The space transformed into an improvised and exclusive changing room for the aforementioned celebrity. With Walter inside witnessing this performance, the pre-installed door in one of the drywalls suddenly opened, and there she was: Madame Zaha Hadid with her two assistants. She dropped the shawl from her shoulders (which gently was taken by one of her assistants) and exclaimed with her broken voice: "I am Zaha Hadid, nice meeting you." Walter, not believing her eyes, attended to Hadid’s requirements. She in turn gave Walter her card, saying: “We will be in touch”. Right after Hadid left, she asked the fair’s director, “Who is this lady?” This was the bumpy beginning of a long-term relationship between the two artists. To write about Elke Walter's work is to talk about an ever-changing, undefined creative force; difficult to grasp or define in simple words. Walter would introduce herself as a fashion designer, artist, and photographer – probably the only way to find an orthodox definition to her work and sensitivity for ‘making’. The same way a ceramist sees clay as the optimal support to drive creativity, Walter found her medium

in a profound understanding of fabrics. Her work spans from stunning dresses to jewellery. Her obsession with fabrics went beyond the mere selection of them, making her manually transform and pleat many of the original materials – a method of researching materiality and exploring the relationship between folded, stretched and pleated garments in connection to the human body: a fabric that is manually tamed into a specific texture and condition. That must have been the main reason why she captivated Hadid’s attention: both considered fashion as a way of basic intimate inhabitation. When we think about Hadid’s outfits over the last years of her life, it is difficult not to mention Walter’s one-of-a-kind wearables: each piece different; each one a work of art in itself. However, to limit Walter’s work to fashion is to diminish her sensitivity and creativity. In 2018, when we discussed a possible exhibition in Dubai, my main obsession was to showcase similar works that she had created for Hadid in the past, but her response was very clear: “That is the past; my work now is in sculpture and photography.” The way Walter explored form-making was finally free. The constraint of the fabric design with the human body had found an unexpected level of liberty by expressing itself through the lens of her (believe it or not) mobile phone. Her ethereal images transcended the ties between fashion and gravity, moving her work to the next level. There is something fantastic – imaginative and removed from reality – about these images she created and how she intimately observed her work and wanted to transmit it. ‘Best wishes from Provence’ were her last words to me in a chain of emails where we were discussing bringing her work to Dubai Design District. Rest in peace Elke; your work will be with us forever. Also, thank you to Juan Antonio Fuentes Brito for allowing us to know Elke in a deeper manner during her life and for keeping her soul alive.




Design Nomads Montroi is the brainchild of Enrique Hormingo and Samir Aghera. The Dubai-based brand promotes ‘Nomadism’ – creating items for travel, crafted across various locations on the ancient Silk Route. From soft leather bags, accessories and travel guides covering Tunis to the Amalfi Coast, to handcrafted furniture, the brand has filled a gap in the market for items that combine a sense of spirit with craftsmanship and style. We catch up with Enrique Hormingo to find out more.



W Samir Aghera and Enrique Hormingo

hat led you to start Montroi? The project started five years ago. A lot of people around us were choosing to go back to being nomads again, to live whilst travelling. We see nomadism as a cultural bridge, an educational tool to connect, to grow, and to learn through dialogue and shared experiences. Becoming a nomad, ultimately, means leaving a more enlightened world for future generations. I come from a family of nomads. My grandfather served in the Spanish army. My father was born in Africa and I was born in Barcelona, which I left 15 years ago. I see nomadism as a tool for learning from other cultures and to develop.

What is the ethos of the brand? We were all nomads at one point, no matter from which country we come from. Going back to that means going back to the essentials. A nomad is on a path of having less in life – less but of better quality; things that can be carried and things that age well and tell stories. A nomad appreciates craftsmanship and collects beautiful things from specific places where there is still a certain level of expertise. As a brand, we travel the modern Silk Route looking for craftsmanship and we create beautiful objects to make nomad life easier. Our leather goods are manufactured in Italy and Spain. Our fragrances are made in Grasse, France; our rose water in Oman; home incenses and gold charms in Jaipur; and so on. We manufacture beautiful objects crafted with pride, skill and care: objects you will treasure and ones that tell a story. We collaborate with more than twenty workshops with skilled artisans and craftsmen manufacturing in Marrakech, Jaipur, Oman, Ubrique, Bergamo and Grasse. How do you think globalisation has affected design and our tastes in the home? I think globalisation can be both a good and a bad thing. I embrace the good side of it: it brings us choices, options and perspectives. When we have access to the same things everywhere, it makes it even more important to find those elements that gives soul to a project. Are you seeing a shift in values related to the way people consume design? I see a shift from fashion towards other forms of design in general. Among our clients we can see an increasing appetite towards architecture, interior design and even photography. How do you view luxury today? Luxury means different things to different people. We see luxury in the process of craftsmanship, in things that age well and tell stories. There was a time when a bag would last a lifetime and it would become more beautiful with time. There was a time when you would spray some perfume and it would last for the day – that is the true meaning of luxury for us.




Objects of desire From curvaceous seating to handcrafted candle holders, this month's objects of desire celebrate organic forms and natural materials

Ruff Patricia Urquiola for Moroso Available at moroso.it



Ophelia crystal tealight candle holders Reflections Copenhagen Available at matchesfashion.com

Dandy candleholder Marcel Wanders Studio for Natuzzi Italia Available at natuzzi.com

Cartoccio decorative bowl Berluti Available at matchesfashion.com

Amsterdam saddle basket Rabitti 1969 Available at matchesfashion.com

Matte Finish candlestick Zara Home Available at zarahome.com




A marriage of colour Pantone reveals two colours to share the title of 2021 Colour of the Year, conveying a message of strength and hopefulness


he global colour authority Pantone has announced two independent colours as the Pantone® Colour of the Year for 2021 that together create an aspirational pairing, evoking deeper feelings of thoughtfulness with a promise of optimism. PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating is a bright and cheerful yellow shade while PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray is emblematic of solid and dependable elements which are everlasting and provide a firm foundation. Reminiscent of the colours of pebbles on the beach and natural elements whose weathered appearance highlights an ability to stand the test of time, Ultimate Gray’ invokes feelings of composure, steadiness and resilience. “The selection of two independent colours highlights how different elements come together to express a message of strength and hopefulness that is both enduring and uplifting, conveying the idea that it’s not about one colour or one person, it’s about more than one,” says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Colour Institute. “The union of an enduring Ultimate Gray’ with the vibrant yellow Illuminating expresses a message of positivity supported by fortitude.”

Gardner chair by Aster Buatta stool by Aster

“The Pantone Colour of the Year reflects what is taking place in our global culture, expressing what people are looking for, and that colour can hope to answer,” adds Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Color Institute. “As society continues to recognise colour as a critical form of communication, and a way to symbolise thoughts and ideas, many designers and brands are embracing the language of colour to engage and connect.” Paired by a marriage of strength and optimism, the two colours can be used in alternate proportions, allowing one of the colours to take precedence, be it for apparel, beauty, home furnishings, product design or packaging. When decorating one’s home, for instance, Ultimate Gray and Illuminating can be used to create a strong sense of juxtaposition within a space. The two colours can also be merged in commercial spaces, balancing the warmth of the yellow with its grounded grey counterpart in a combination that is both vibrant yet understated.



Books This selection of coffee table books delve deep into the worlds of art and architecture

Atlas of Brutalist Architecture Phaidon Editors

Phaidon’s Atlas of Brutalist Architecture is a survey of one of the most controversial yet popular styles of architecture, and one that is currently enjoying a renaissance. This new edition documents Brutalism through a wide-ranging investigation, and features more than 850 buildings. Whether still in existence or demolished, and including both classic and contemporary interpretations, Atlas of Brutalist Architecture is organised geographically into nine continental regions spanning 102 countries. From beloved masterpieces to lesserknown structures, the book brings together a comprehensive selection of buildings spanning the UK, the USA, Europe, Asia, Australia and beyond.

Anni & Josef Albers Nicholas Fox Weber Phaidon Anni & Josef Albers presents an unprecedented visual biography of two of the leading pioneers of modern art and design. Cited among the twentieth century’s most important abstract artists, the work of Josef - painter, designer and teacher - and Anni Albers textile artist and printmaker – is now being celebrated in this rich monograph of the artists’ works. The book is packed with over 750 artworks, archival images and documents – many published here for the first time – all tracing the remarkable lives and careers of the couple, and bound in a beautiful cloth package.



id most wanted

The ‘Palmea’ cabinet by Lebanese designer Khaled El Mays for Milan-based Nilufar Gallery is a modernised interpretation of wicker furniture, based on an age-old tradition of weaving rattan that is often attributed to the Middle East. The cabinet was handcrafted by artisans in Lebanon and is part of a wider collection that incorporates colourful bamboo and rattan.

Palmea cabinet by Khaled El Mays 82

Designed For Living



Profile for Motivate Media Group

identity - January 2021  

Design Without Boundaries Issue

identity - January 2021  

Design Without Boundaries Issue