“I keep in shape, I exercise, I don’t drink much.” So says Marianne Wegner, 59, daughter of celebrated furniture designer Hans Wegner (below), who plans to run her father’s studio for at least 15 years. Responsible for some of the world’s most iconic designs, such as the 1950s Wishbone and Elbow chairs, Wegner led the Danish Modern movement. He died in Copenhagen in January, aged 92, and his reputation is now at an all-time high; 35,000 Wishbones were sold last year.
A studio founder’s passing can mean an unstable time. Vico Magistretti, the celebrated Italian architect and designer, died in September last year. His principle assistant, Paolo Imperatori, continues to run Studio Magistretti in Milan, but is not taking on new contracts: “We carry on as projects need to be completed.” He will work there for the next few years, after which Magistretti’s children will decide what form the studio takes; it may be re-imagined as a museum of his archive.
Marianne Wegner, however, an architect who worked with her father for 20 years, intends to breathe new life into the business. About 20 per cent of sales come from Japan, while the biggest market is Wegner’s home country.
“My real job is to keep his designs in production. Many were too early for their time, but are popular now,” she says.
“I will retire at 75 – as he did. We must be active to keep the brand alive.”
With its sliding cabinet doors and plaited seagrass chair seats, it’s clear why the 50-year-old Øresund collection, by Danish furniture-maker Børge Mogensen, is enjoying a renaissance. “The lines are clean and simple, and people are increasingly interested in famous Danish designers,” says Ingvar Wadskog, MD of Sweden’s Karl Andersson which has manufactured the range since 1955. Most sales are made in Scandinavia.
The celebrated partnership of Markus Wespi and Jérôme de Meuron has completed a holiday home on the hills above Locarno, in stark contrast to typical villas in this dense residential area. They abandoned traditional architecture for an abstract design language more closely aligned with local topography – stone walls rising from the landscape. The cave-like interior feels more excavated than built, which is why Monocle recommends them for new commissions.
Followers of the design and architecture firm Simplicity (famous for the Murata Ryokan in Kyushu and the 40 Carats and 525 shop in Aoyama) will be thrilled to hear that the company has recently collaborated with Arflex on a dining/office table and accompanying chair. Materials used are oak and hemp, and the pieces are perfect for a small boardroom or elegant corporate dining setting. We like the chair best in cool grey.
Valencia boasts 474km of coastline with a variety of topographies – beautiful bays, resort towns, and now an astonishing series of artificial islands, constructed by architect Vicente Guallart. His hexagonal wooden platforms are sprouting up alongside the sea at Vinaroz, where the beaches are too rocky for recreation. The modular “islands” come in two basic forms – flat and “hillock” – and have been a great success with sunbathing locals. The project has also won him a national design award.