Insects metamorphosied, broken and strange; ceramic foxes tattooed with barbwire and graffiti; otherworldly glass cloches—a home for coloured glass circus animals hanging in dedicate splendour. These are but some of the beautiful works of Italian-Singaporean duo Lanzavecchia + Wai (comprising Francesca Lanzavecchia and Hunn Wai) for Nodus, Bosa and Secondome respectively. Always with an important message about the state of the world or a commentary on domestic situations, but crafted beautifully, their designs touch both the heart and the mind.
One new product unveiled at the 2015 Milan Furniture Fair in April was the Taco and Plug pair of anodised aluminium side tables for Italian manufacturer Cappellini. “The Plug and Taco service tables [are designed to be] our home mates, always at our side and ready to help us in our daily lives: to have a drink, to dine in front of the television and to work on the computer” reads the designers’ description. The double layers of Taco also makes it suitable as a magazine holder. For sure, they are functional pieces. More than that, there’s that whimsy and animation Lanzavecchia and Wai always breathe into their creations—Taco and Plug comes with legs that appear to be wanting to go somewhere. We ask Hunn a few questions:
What is the origin of the catchy names ‘Taco’ and ‘Plug’ for the side tables?
‘Taco’ because it has a double surface and because of the snappy sound to the name, and ‘Plug’ because it plugs into our new domestic lifestyles.
How does Taco and Plug fit into or expand the Lanzavecchia + Wai oeuvre in terms of philosophy, product range and experimentation?
[They do so in terms of] their playfulness, the new thinking they bring into how domestic furniture archetypes can support our evolving domestic lifestyles, their agile proportions and semantics that encourage free movement in the domestic landscape, their materiality that supports this lifestyle and rituals, lightness and mobility, and the brilliant colours, which is a direct result of its materiality. We strive for our products to sit at the intersection of context, concept, function, materiality and manufacturing. We reckon this is a good example of that intent.
Products from Lanzavecchia + Wai have a very playful quality about them. What guides this approach?
The both of us push for playfulness and romanticism in our work. Our products all bear the intent to evoke emotion and create bonds with their users. For us, life is meant to be rich, romantic, light and playful, and activate all our senses as much as possible, to feel alive with joy. We want our products to vibrate with a certain positivity in them, to affect spaces, its users, their behaviours and outlooks, hence they can be read as playful and energetic.
What were your impressions of the Milan Furniture Fair this year, and would you care to share what you think were the best experiences?
We simply adore the Dutch Invertuals group show and we have made it a point as a must-see for ourselves and anyone who asks “what is a must-see?” [They do] such provocative work that suggest and propose new meanings and palettes of design expression, in terms of materiality, archetypes and conceptual thinking.
The other exhibition, which absolutely enthralled us, was ‘The Garden of Wonders. A Journey Through Scents’ by the BE OPEN Foundation. It was a beautifully poetic exhibition on the history and providence, the typologies and manufacturing methods of perfumes. And of course they had exquisite glass vessels filled with perfumes with names like ‘Mystery of the Pyramids’ where one could detect scents of papyrus, incense of pharaohs and of rituals, to ‘Eternal Beauty Elixir’ that links to a 14th Century Queen Consort of Hungary, Elizabeth, who not only used the perfume for her skin but also drank it. She attributed her beauty to it, this Eau de la Reine d’ Hongrie, which was even referenced in Charles Perrault’s famous Sleeping Beauty as a mean to wake the princess but to no avail.
Please continue this sentence: play to me is:
A mindset, a tool, an investigative space, a way of living.
Cappellini is available at DREAM.
+ images courtesy of Lanzavecchia + Wai