“This winged table marked the beginning of my flight as a furniture designer,” says Radhika Dhumal, whose playful coffee table titled “Elytra” features insectoid layers that extend outward from its center. Winning a 2019 ELLE DECO International Design Award and the A Design International Silver Award 2021, the clever construction emphasizes natural woodgrain, slender legs, and two swiveling, glass wings.
The final composition for the table emerged from initial sketches that focused on the concept of Russian nesting dolls in which larger pieces opened to reveal smaller components. “None of the forms clicked with me, and I randomly scribbled to go beyond the imaginary box that I was restrained to,” she tells Colossal. “It was almost like a ‘Eureka!’ moment for me, as I could see a hidden form of wings opening up.” As she dug deeper into her research, she was particularly fascinated by the anatomy of beetles and the presence of hardened forewings known as elytra that protect the more delicate set of hindwings. The eponymous design ties together notions of strength, adaptability, and elegance.
From the earliest drawings to its final form, the table took about six weeks to complete. The designer recently produced a range of accent furniture sponsored by Ek Design and currently collaborates with Furlenco with an emphasis on sustainability. Find more of her work on Instagram.
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The surge in remote work during the last few years prompted Amsterdam-based designer Robert van Embricqs to rethink how conventional desks would impact a home’s atmosphere. He wanted to invite “the user to fold that desk away when work is over” and created a now-viral piece that seamlessly transforms from office to artwork.
Constructed with warm wood and brass hinges, the “Flow Wall Desk” features flush vertical slats that twist and unfold into a tabletop. The small piece of furniture, which can support about 40 pounds, is minimal in aesthetic and mimics organic movements as it unfurls from sleek relief to functional space.
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Fungi isn’t usually something we welcome indoors, but Estonian studio Myceen sees home decoration a bit differently. Focusing on furniture and interior design products, the team has found an enlightening application for mycelium, the fibrous root-like system produced by fungus that spreads below the Earth’s surface and gathers nutrients. “B-Wise” is a sustainably-grown pendant lamp (you read that right!) that combines one of nature’s most resilient materials with recycled byproducts into a light fixture that looks like it was just plucked from the soil.
The production of each piece begins with combining organic waste materials like sawdust and straw into a mold along with the mycelium, giving the organism five weeks’ worth of food to promote expansion. After that, the lampshade is removed from the mold and dehydrated to prevent any further growth.
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Our understandings of home are fundamentally personal, determined by an evolving mélange of factors like location, culture, and the people in our lives. Born in Estonia to a Siberian family and later educated in France, artist Anastasia Parmson has long considered this idea and what it means to feel at ease within a space. “I feel like my concept of home is always evolving alongside my practice and my personal experiences,” she tells Colossal. “I do still see drawing as a form of home that I create for myself—a little space where I feel like I truly belong.”
Now living and working in Sydney, Parmson continues to question what creates that sense of comfort and connection by envisioning living areas and bedrooms as a sort of blank canvas. She paints walls, furniture sourced from resale shops or trash bins, and domestic objects like coffee mugs and potted monsteras in white and then draws details in black. Custom vinyl flooring with hand-rendered wood grain and wall panels line the perimeters, and the life-sized works often feature quaint, cozy details like patterned rugs and billowing drapes, in addition to pop culture references through books and framed artworks.
Falling at the intersection of two and three dimensions, the immersive installations are minimal in execution—based on the humble line drawn in a monochromatic palette—in an effort to define the contours of the concept while leaving the specifics open for interpretation and evolution. She explains:
What if home is not defined by an address, a space, or a geographical location? What if, instead, it is defined by the people in our lives? Maybe home is not a place, but a person. That feeling of being truly seen and understood by someone. That feeling of timelessness and ease when you reconnect with an old friend after many long years and realise that you can pick up the conversation as if no time has gone by at all. Maybe home is inter-personal connections and a sense of togetherness.
Parmson’s works are on view in several group exhibitions this fall, including through October 30 at Bendigo Art Gallery, through December 11 at Grafton Regional Gallery, and from October 12 to November 20 at Woollahra Gallery. She will also host a studio sale of smaller pieces in the coming months, so keep an eye on her Instagram for updates.
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Loretta Bosence and Ben Bosence are behind the East Sussex-based Local Works Studio, which recently completed a furniture collection focused on revitalizing what’s been discarded or cast aside. Designed for Maggie’s Southampton cancer center, the functional goods are made almost entirely of upcycled goods sourced nearby. “People who sit in the chairs and touch the surfaces can ‘read’ the story of the furniture and understand where the materials came from. This connection to place and the playful character of the furniture is a powerful antidote to the usual impersonal, sterile environment of a hospital,” the studio said to dezeen.
For the long dining table, designers crushed gravel from the site, which was also combined with damaged and leftover terracotta bricks from the center’s facade to create a terrazzo-style surface for benches and smaller tables. Ground granulated blast-furnace slag, a byproduct of steel, serves as the main binding agent, with only a bit of carbon-dependent concrete added. The studio also shaped leftover material into pavers for seating areas.
Hoses decommissioned by the local Hampshire Fire Service Headquarters—the entity is required to replace its equipment every ten years, meaning the red, water-resistant tubes are abundant in supply—were woven into the backs and seats for dining chairs, loungers, and one-armed models. The textile-like components were then wrapped around steel frames made by the charity Making it Out, which supports people who were formerly incarcerated.
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Through Organic Sculptural Furniture, Artist Nacho Carbonell Channels the Sensual Details of the Mediterranean
Evoking the textures and colors of his native Valencia, the sculptural furniture pieces by Spanish artist Nacho Carbonell are sensual interpretations of life in the Mediterranean. A bulbous, metal mesh canopy sprouts from a rugged pink seat, small wooden sticks comprise the sinuous patterns on a buffet, and a vibrant mosaic takes the form of a headphone-shaped lamp. Tactile and potentially functional, the objects reference the natural, sun-soaked environment of Carbonell’s childhood, in addition to art historical traditions like those of 15th Century painter Hieronymus Bosch and 20th Century Austrian sculptor Franz West.
Constructed from a wide array of recycled and industrial materials like glass bottles and concrete, the works are largely organic and archaeological, rooted in personal memories the artist likens to fossils. He tells designboom:
I learned that when you build something, nature can take over. Here, in this context is where I learned it. But this is not unique in the world, it is happening everywhere. So I just take [the natural elements] and I appropriate them because they are part of me… I feel entitled to say ‘Because we grew together, I can use you in my work to create this narrative for others, to let them know that you exist here.’
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