Too much old furniture ends up in skips. It’s a fate met even by pieces made from precious woods. But craftsmen are beginning to tap this source of timber. John Harris makes furniture from reclaimed woods and wants to prove that they can be used for stylish pieces. “A lot of furniture made from reclaimed timber is clumpy. It’s great to keep the natural lines but you can add elegance to those lines,” says Harris. See his work in Paris from 24 January to 23 February.
Lot-Ek has designed this new mixed-use building in Sanlitun, Beijing. The four-storey structure is wrapped in a blue mesh that filters sound and sunlight. Windows protrude allowing people inside “to conquer different views”, says head designer Giuseppe Lignano. It will be occupied in time for the 2008 Olympics – Chanel and American Express are expected to move in this spring.
The concrete and glass Arkell Museum in Canajoharie (in upstate New York) evokes the early days of this former factory town. Designed by Boston-based Design Lab, this 750 sq m gallery with its iconic sign showcases the American Impressionists collection of Bartlett Arkell – founder of the Beech-Nut food company, which has its original factory next door.
Norway’s visitors can delight in stylish rest stops like this one by Jensen & Skodvin. Since 1993, the Norwegian Public Roads Administration has been working with 40 architects and landscapers to beautify the nation’s roads, bridges, toilets and walkways. Although the deadline for completion is 2015, project manager Jan Andresen says, “We now have enough sites on the roads that we can show this project to the world.”
Portuguese architect and designer Carvalho Araújo has designed this pared-down porcelain espresso cup and saucer for Vista Alegre. Araújo runs a small practice in Braga and apart from product design, his portfolio includes interiors for homes and commercial premises.
Can you explain the cup’s design?
Sometimes in Portugal we put alcohol in our coffee cups. I wanted to design something that provided a more pleasant way to enjoy it. In design and architecture I pursue simplicity. The cup is a way of provoking a reaction in people.
Do you have any other collaborations with Vista Alegre in the pipeline?
I’m designing a set of versatile tableware that can be used for a diversity of food.
Which do you prefer – building or product design?
Above all, I enjoy searching for a solution. The major difference between architecture and design is scale. Designing products is a form of extending and reinforcing my architectural language.
What buildings are you working on at the moment?
I’m designing a series of buildings for a Portuguese wine producer in the Dao region. This will include a restaurant, small hotel, gourmet shop and perhaps some other objects.