Discover Benelux, Issue 26, February 2016

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Discover Benelux | Benelux Design | Special Profiles


Driven and fuelled by passion, Gold&Wood is confident about its place in the world of high-quality design, detailed production and handcraft made in Luxembourg, with eyewear that makes heads turn whenever it is worn. Since 1995, Gold&Wood has strived to bring the very best materials and expertise together. It combines the most exquisite natural materials such as gold, pure leather, fine wood and buffalo horn with the dedicated, artisan hand work of its craftsmen from the Hosingen valley in Luxembourg. “In a world of consumerism where we replace objects the minute they do not look shiny

and new, Gold&Wood commits to offering a product of high-quality and long-lasting life,” says founder Maurice Leonard. “Our designs have often been received as art pieces, by their unique features and characteristics. We aim to create beautiful objects with a soul – this is what makes us truly unique.” Inspired by magical places, architecture, interior decoration or luxurious accessories, Gold&Wood is full of references: from Berlutti shoes to Hermes’ signature scarves to the sticking fabric coming out of Atelier Lesage. “We strive to bring all these elements together through transforming the process of buying into an authentic experience, where the client can truly appreciate the amount of thought and expertise that goes into every single one of our pieces,” Leonard says. With promising new designs for 2016 and their favouring of luxury over large-scale retail, Gold&Wood is the brand to wear this year.


Alexander Bannink does not blindly follow mantras such as ‘form follows function’ or ‘the best designs are simple’. Instead, the industrial designer shows why balanced complexity and intensity can be better qualities, especially when it comes to transport design. “Design should be allowed to be complex. Clear-cut lines are an option, but not a necessity. You should allow for the image to be intense, visually and especially emotionally,” Bannink says. Thirteen years ago, he founded Alexander Bannink Industrial Design (ABID). “I always try to create value for my clients. Form doesn’t always follow function, especially in transport design where manufacturability combined with emotion are more essential.” Bannink has a special interest in transport design because of the movability of vehicles, which adds an extra dimension to their design. 14 | Issue 26 | February 2016

Living in Haarlem, Bannink was inspired to create a bicycle aimed at busy parents. It features a seat lock, making the bike unusable when locked, a foldable handlebar and child seat and a ‘spoke-free’ back wheel. “This leaves space for an electromotor and cycle bags. When folded in, the bike takes up very little space, ideal for stalling it in the city centre or a narrow corridor.” Bannink also came up with a lightweight, energy-efficient design to revive the ‘Blauwe Tram’ or blue tram. Until the 1960s, this line connected Haarlem to Amsterdam, Schiphol and the agricultural Bollenstreek. The front of the tram is covered by a soft foam material and the window panels are made from a plastic polycarbonate, making a collision with a pedestrian or cyclist less deadly. “In my mind, it would run on hydrogen. Now I just need to get this into the minds of a progressive city council!”