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#78 September/October 2013 — projects Techne Architects / March Studio / Travis Walton / Studio Toogood / profile DesignOffice / Chris Hardy / Scholten & Baijings / initiative Louis Vuitton artist collaborations / discourse Russell & George / in review Faultlines / industry NADA / survey Future Retail special coverage IDEA 2013 shortlist —

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interior design review

interior design review

September/October 2013


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contents september–october 2013 REGU L ARS


32 In Review: Faultlines 36 Industry: National Aboriginal Design Agency 38 Profile: Scholten & Baijings 42 Practice: DesignOffice 48 Profile: Chris Hardy 52 Discourse: Russell & George 56 Initiative: Louis Vuitton’s artist collaborations 62 Survey: Future Retail


66 Gazi March Studio 72 Mahani Studio Toogood 78 Tonka Techne Architects 84 Gorman Travis Walton


90 Insight: Decorative Details 96 Folio Show 102 Spotlight

13 18 20 22 24 26

Editorial Contributors Objects Dateline Read Designwall

Above The Acne store in Copenhagen, designed by Bozarthfornell Architects. Photo courtesy Acne. See Future Retail, p62


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colour blocking Minimal in form yet richly layered in colour, material and graphic pattern, the work of Dutch designers Stefan Scholten and Carole Baijings spans textiles, furniture and ceramics. As recent collaborations with brands such as Georg Jensen, Hay and Karimoku New Standard demonstrate, the studio’s distinctive aesthetic is backed by a rigorous approach to research. text Jeanne Tan photography courtesy Scholten & Baijings



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Above—The layered compositions of Colour Porcelain for 1616 / Arita Japan (2012) is informed by traditional Japanese colours. Photo by Inga Powilleit

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There’s no sign on the door, but the f lashes of colour that appear beyond the enormous double-height glass windows mean that this is undoubtedly the studio of Scholten and Baijings. Located on the IJ Harbour in Amsterdam, the light-filled workspace of Dutch designers Stefan Scholten and Carole Baijings is a treasure trove of colour, material, prototypes and experiments in all stages and forms. Maquettes of chairs are lined up with coloured thread and textile swatches, teacups made from cardboard and masking tape stand beside dishes sculpted from foam, while sample towels hang from the walls, testing pattern and colour. A cupboard full of glass and ceramic samples reveals the progression of various projects – half a dozen or so grey-hued ceramic cups and saucers from the Paper Table collection shows an improvement in the quality of the prototypes while a droopy wine glass, probably not intentionally so, looks charming nevertheless. And there’s more!

Top left—Subtle gradients of colour in Scholten & Baijings’ Tea with Georg collection, produced in collaboration with Georg Jensen (2013)

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Above left—Colour Stool for Karimoku New Standard (2011)

Nooks and shelves within the studio reveal books of colour analyses, tests on towels, prototypes of striped carpets woven in paper, as well as paper colour swatches. This evidently hands-on approach to testing and making is combined with a distinctive use of colour, materiality and craftsmanship. It’s a winning combination that has fast caught the eye of the industry in the last few years – resulting in major collaborations with companies such as Hay, Established and Sons and Georg Jensen. Since launching their collaborative practice in 2000, Scholten and Baijings’ way of working on a vast array of products – from furniture and textiles to ceramics – has resembled an atelier or workshop in which the design happens through making. Scale models are made and remade in paper, cardboard or foam. Colours are created from scratch and combined in different ways to test possible options. Through the process of making, surprising mistakes arise – and the studio has mastered the art of using these to its

Above right—Block colours and delicate circles, grids and lines characterise the duo’s recent work for Danish brand, Hay (2013)

advantage, allowing them to inspire new ways of working. “By trying every way to get there, you come to different outcomes and make eye-opening discoveries,” explains Scholten. “We never refer to samples as failures. We know now, through experience, that these samples and different prototypes are needed to arrive at a good end result. If you don’t try, you will never come to new solutions.” And the testing doesn’t stop in the studio: “We often test our products at home,” adds Baijings. “Samples should be tested in the environment for which they were intended; for example, bed linen should be on the bed, not hanging or lying on a table. In this way, you can also check the quality and function.” Colour is always combined with materiality and layering, while minimal forms provide the perfect blank canvas. Behind the colourful facades of their products, a carefully orchestrated blend of grids, highlights, background colours and detailing achieves the right balance. Hinting


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the art of fashion has conflated the worlds of fashion and art through its collaborations with significant contemporary artists such as Stephen Sprouse, Takashi Murakami and Yayoi Kusama. Gillian Serisier examines how these creative collaborations have helped to reposition the brand within the realm of artistic innovation.

text Gillian Serisier photography courtesy Louis Vuitton



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Above—Eighties-inspired neon glamour lit up the Louis Vuitton Paris store, coinciding with the Stephen Sprouse Tribute collection (2009)

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What makes these collaborations so extraordinary is the extent to which the artist is allowed free rein.

Transforming the classic brown and gold monogram into a riot of 33 colours, Japanese artist Takashi Murakami exploded colour into the Louis Vuitton brand and prompted a cult of collecting. In 2001 Stephen Sprouse’s emblazoned graffiti gave Louis Vuitton street cred, while, in 2005, French artist Vanessa Beecroft added nudity – and controversy – to the brand when she fi lled the new Paris emporium with scantily clad models. The more recent collaboration with Yayoi Kusama negated any impression of staid conservatism, while, closer to home, Nike Savvas brought a funky edge to the Sydney store. With artistic director Marc Jacobs at the helm, Louis Vuitton has effectively worked with artists to topple perceptions and position the brand within the avant-garde.

Above right—In late 2011 British artist, Billie Achilleos, created a series of Australian animals from parts of Louis Vuitton bags to coincide with the launch of the Sydney Maison opening

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The relationship between Louis Vuitton and the arts has been evolving for more than a century. Instigated by Gaston-Louis Vuitton’s penchant for collecting art while working with designers to transform the shop windows in the 1920s, the design house has long aligned itself with names of significance. The 1980s heralded a formal shift to affi liate the house’s identity with modern art through collaborations with artists including luminary, Sol LeWitt. The cutting edge aesthetic continues with work by artists as diverse as Ólafur Elíasson, Michael Lin and Mario and Iván Navarro exhibited in store, in addition to curated exhibitions at Espace Louis Vuitton in Tokyo, Paris and, soon, Munich (opening late 2013). With Marc Jacobs’ appointment to artistic director in 1997, the house was propelled into

the world of fashion. Importantly, Jacobs’ association with artist and fashion designer, Stephen Sprouse, led to an invitation to collaborate and reinvent the brand, a formula that has since been extended to Murakami, Richard Prince and Kusama. Sprouse, known for his super-saturated colours and graffiti text, did not bow to the brown on brown of tradition. Rather, he retained the celebrated all-over monogram, which has then been covered over with hand-written text in a clash of pink, green, black, orange, green and yellow. As a handbag or duffle the result is saturated pop; as an unrelenting interior fi nish, it sizzles the senses. For the New York 2001 launch, huge graffiti lettering covered the storefront, while the interior walls, floor and ceiling throbbed with text in clashing colours, funnelling towards backlit, wall-


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Left—Naomi Troski’s ethereal installation, Drift, introduces a soft, fluid form to the ordered lines and robust materials of the rest of the fitout Opposite—Located at the far end of the tenancy, the Tonka dining room takes full advantage of the building’s windows

project Tonka 82


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moment,” explains Travers. “We wanted the venue to have a timeless quality, one that would perfectly balance a sense of functionality and restraint in design. While the base building works were underway, we really used the time to conceptualise, refine and debate the design and its merits before finally committing to the concept and construction documentation.” The team’s refined and considered approach is evident in every aspect of the space, where the main feature is a beguiling installation by artist Naomi Troski. “We wanted to create a beautiful sense of theatricality,” adds Travers, “and once we’d discovered Naomi’s work, we knew that her contribution would make the perfect addition.” Troski’s cloud-like installation,

Drift, is an undulating twist of white powder-coated steel mesh that weaves through the entire tenancy, bringing a delicate, three-dimensional movement to the interior. Techne’s material application embodies the firm’s desire for restraint and is restricted to mild steel for the bar fronts and custom furniture supports, hardwood timber stained a warm, smoky grey for the tables and bar tops and soft pink limed finish for the floors. Soft greys are also used on the walls and overexposed brickwork, while the furniture is simple in nature. “The colour palette was envisioned by the client and came about after a trip to India they embarked on during the design phase,” says Travers. “The joinery and signature furniture elements throughout

are robust, linear and defined by steel construction. The fitout has been constructed for longevity and detailed for flexibility in use.” The bold and raw palette of the base architecture is perfectly balanced against the soft colour of the floorboards, as well as the flashes of bright blue and watermelon shades of the loose furniture. In essence, Techne has brought together a robust, functional and rational spatial layout with the ethereal qualities of Troski’s installation to produce a fitout that provides visual intrigue, without playing to shortterm trends. More than a one-trick pony, the interior of Tonka is a refined and well-resolved addition to Melbourne’s dining scene.


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