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274
Current Issue

September 2019

#274
September 2019

Interior High Notes: Residential wonders in Atlanta, Whistler, Milan and more in Karno.in.ua's September 2019 issue!

UNEXPECTED PARTNERS
Tan: We met in 2005 at an Electrolux Design Lab in Stockholm. It was a design competition where the finalists got to go to Sweden for a workshop. Gustavo and Sebastian were representing Spain, and Wendy and I were representing Singapore.

Maggio: There were about 15 people in this workshop, but somehow the four of us just came together and got along well. We realized that we were very different but shared some design principles. We all like simplicity. We don’t like objects that are trendy or have a lot of unnecessary ornament. We also try to use natural materials; for instance, we all like wood. That’s how our style became Scandinavian, in a way. Our products are very simple and a little bit crafted.

GLOBAL PRACTICE
GM: Three of us are in Singapore now. I moved from Buenos Aires two years ago. Sebastian is still in Barcelona, because we have numerous European clients, and it helps with communication, and with going to fairs and that kind of thing. It’s easy to talk with Skype, and we have online project management software for sharing ideas and CAD models. We’re in touch almost every day.

GT: We work together on all of our projects. Bar­celona is not so difficult, because it’s only a six-hour time difference. By the time we’re having lunch in Singapore, Sebastian is already online. When Gustavo was in Buenos Aires, it was an 11- or 12‑hour time difference, depending on the season, so that was difficult.

FROM FURNITURE TO INTERIORS
GT: Most of our furniture clients are in Europe. But in Singapore, there’s a lot of construction and many interior design projects. So we mostly do restaurant design and interior architecture here. When we do interiors, we often want to use lighting or furniture pieces that we specifically design for them. If a client just wants to do a quick project, we usually don’t take it on.

GM: Interior design is an extension of our furniture design. Even though our passion started in objects and furniture, it’s an interesting evolution for us.

MIXING COLOURS
GT: With the Hues tables for Ligne Roset, we were looking at Venn diagrams, which everyone is familiar with from school. We had this idea to play with coloured glass, and to have a dialogue between a high and a low table. One is slightly fatter and more generous, and the other is slimmer. It’s a simple idea, but it requires precision in the welding to make it really thin but strong. It’s that fine line between something that is stable enough for a table, but delicate enough to make it attractive. When you nest them, the appearance changes. The two pieces have a relationship: depending on how you arrange them, you create a different impression in your living space.

STRIPTEASE
GT: We designed the Naked chair during the global economic crisis a few years ago, and we wanted to make a statement. We decided to use thin, folded metal sheets to give it strength, paired with a wooden structure. Aesthetically, it’s all about reduction; it has no upholstery or foam. This allows the leg structure, which is usually not seen, to rise to the surface and define the look of the piece. When we recently designed Hatched restaurant here, we actually reaped the benefits of our approach. We had to get the chair to Sing­a­pore quickly, since we only had two months to design the restaurant. Because it packs flat, we could air-freight it over cheaply.

BURGER KING?
GT: That was an interesting project. We wouldn’t usually do a fast-food interior, but Burger King came to us with an attractive offer, with a clean slate for designing a pilot location in Singapore. We didn’t have to look at any precedents or brand guidelines. Flame grilling is the company’s mantra. We associated that with barbecues, camping and outdoor culture. So instead of having a sterile and plasticky environment, we did something related to communal gatherings, where it’s more like a park or a garden. Later they had a conference in Singapore where Burger King representatives from different countries came in, and they un­veiled the redesign to everybody. It’s now being implemented in Japan, Taiwan and Vietnam.

BRANCHING OUT
GT: We’re doing some electronics design, for pieces like speakers and ceiling fans. We don’t necessarily stick to one discipline. It’s more about finding the kinds of projects we feel are in line with our thinking. Whether it’s an electronic product or furniture or an interior, it doesn’t really matter. We try to let our thoughts and ideas show through the things we create.

CURRICULUM VITAE

Members
Wendy Chua

Born in Singapore, 1984
Sebastian Alberdi
Born in Buenos Aires, 1978
Gustavo Maggio
Born in Buenos Aires, 1980
Gabriel Tan
Born in Singapore, 1982

Location
Singapore and Barcelona

Education
Alberdi
BA in industrial design, Istituto Europeo di Design Barcelona, 2005
Chua
BA in industrial design, National University of Singapore, 2007
Maggio
BA in industrial design, University of Buenos Aires, 2004
Tan
BA in industrial design, National University of Singapore, 2007

Occupation
Industrial and interior designers

Selected awards
2010 President’s Design Award, Singapore, Design of the Year
2005 Electrolux Design Lab Award

Selected exhibits
2011 Barcelona Design Meets London, the Vyner Studio, London
2007-2010 Salone Satellite, Milan

Selected clients
Bolia, Burger King, Environment Furniture, Discipline, Foundry, Ligne Roset, Scanteak

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