Wednesday. 17/8/2022

The Monocle Minute
On Design

Image: Maarten Willemstein

Form and function

This week we’re flicking through a beautiful Turkish publication, sitting down for a chat with London-based creative Faye Toogood and visiting the newly reopened Museum Arnhem (pictured). Then things turn Scandinavian, as we explore cabin living in Finland and celebrate a classic chair created by two of the country’s heavyweight artisans. And Nolan Giles has been to see Stockholm guesthouse Ett Hem, whose striking gates led him to ponder what constitutes a well-designed entrance…

Image: Felix Odell

Opinion / Nolan Giles

Making an entrance

Readers of Monocle’s September issue, which is out tomorrow, will be able to appreciate on page something that I experienced in person last month: a peek into the brand-new Ett Hem guesthouse extension in Stockholm, designed by London firm Studioilse. While I won’t give away all the story of the upgrade, I’m keen to point out a meaningful design element that’s stuck with me. Since the residence went into operation 10 years ago, its wrought-iron entrance gates have remained closed. To enter, visitors ring a doorbell and are then greeted by a staff member, before passing through a leafy courtyard to access the building. This provides a proper sense of arrival, transporting guests from the city into this blissfully designed refuge and somehow cleansing them of the outside world in the process.

In the weeks since that visit, I’ve become obsessed with entrance design and the meaning it adds to the experience of a building. For example, the great restaurant Sessions Arts Club in London’s Clerkenwell, designed by Soda Studio, has a discreet doorway that leads into a moodily lit reception. There you’re greeted by a friendly host who directs you up into the grand, sun-flooded dining room. This good entrance design provides the perfect tone-setter to a well-crafted interiors project. It’s a technique that should be emulated wherever possible.

A space doesn’t need to be huge to pull off this trick well either. For inspiration (as with most aspects of good design), you can look to Japan. There, people have been perfecting the art of forming genkan in homes and venues of all sizes for centuries. These warmly designed (and typically timber-laden) porches are a place where guests slip off their shoes and slip into the comfort of another person’s property, immediately feeling welcomed and refreshed in the process.

Nolan Giles is Monocle’s executive editor.

The Project / Museum Arnhem, Netherlands

Unreal estate

Museum Arnhem, one of the Netherlands’ leading modern and contemporary art galleries, has reopened after a five-year renovation. It’s located in a grand 19th-century villa in the heart of its namesake city and its exhibition area has been expanded thanks to the construction of a new wing designed by Benthem Crouwel Architects. But it’s the work of Studio Modijefsky, an Amsterdam-based practice that reimagined the existing entrance, café, shop and event space, that is perhaps most impressive.

Tasked with creating environments that reflect the art on show, while also paying tribute to the structure’s heritage, the studio selected materials and furniture that played off the museum’s collection of magic realism, an artistic movement that features absurd takes on reality, and the building’s past life as a gentlemen’s club. As such, swooping, U-shaped chandeliers and mirrors that twist reflections sit alongside sober and masculine leather benches, terrazzo flooring and marble counters. The result is a set of areas in the museum that are both playful and contemplative, providing an atmosphere that’s perfect for enjoying the broad range of art in the galleries.;

Design News / Space of Mind x Bonden, Finland

Cosy up

As people yearn to escape cities, cabin living has been steadily on the rise – and nobody does it better than the Nordics. Case in point is Space of Mind, a small and beautifully designed modular timber cabin designed in collaboration by three Finnish companies, Studio Puisto, Protos Demos and Made By Choice. It can be adapted to any environment, from garden office to an off-grid retreat, but its interiors can still, of course, benefit from a little added warmth. Enter homewares brand Bonden, whose Wellness collection has been created especially for Space of Mind, with bedroom and bathroom textiles made from naturally dyed European linen.

Image: Unto Rauti
Image: Unto Rauti
Image: Unto Rauti

“In a small space like a cabin, everyday rituals become particularly important, from how we prefer to dry our skin to what kind of fabrics we most enjoy sleeping in,” says Bonden’s founder, Kati Hienonen. Her designs for Space of Mind, inspired by Nordic forests, look to imbue such rituals with a sense of peace. With peaty colours, the textiles create soothing surroundings – an ideal environment for any urban escape.

Words with... / Faye Toogood, UK

Team work

Founded in 2008, Toogood is a British studio that encompasses interior design, homewares, fine art and fashion. At its helm, and working across this range of disciplines, is Faye Toogood, an editor and stylist turned designer. We caught up with her for Monocle On Design to find out how she put together her team and which materials are her favourite to work with.

Image: Philip Sinden

Tell us how you went about building a team capable of working across so many different disciplines.
When I set up the studio I was interested in finding other people who didn’t want to be pigeonholed. I hired staff who might have trained as an architect but were interested in fashion and those who trained in fashion but were fascinated by industrial design. Cross-discipline working has always been appealing to me.

As a team, how do you begin to tackle a new project?
We’ll all gather around the table and workshop it together. We will question the brief and look at it from all angles, using all disciplines, and find a way to make it work. This makes the design process more rigorous – and more fun. It means that none of us becomes bored because we’re always working on something completely different.

Working across disciplines means that you use many different materials. Are there any that are essential to your practice?
Materials are the essence of everything we do; they tend to be the starting point for a project or design. But it’s very difficult to say which materials are quintessentially Toogood. If I had to reduce my palette and only use a few, I would always choose canvas, clay, wire, paper and cardboard. They’re the simplest and most ubiquitous materials.

For more from Faye Toogood, listen to ‘Monocle On Design’.

From The Archive / 004 Lounge Chair, Finland

Power lines

These sprightly, striped lounge chairs caught our attention while touring the new Studioilse-designed extension of Ett Hem in Stockholm (read more about the project in the September issue of Monocle magazine, which is out tomorrow). The vintage chairs, which are covered in a textile reminiscent of a peppermint sweet, originate from Sweden’s Nordic neighbour: they were created in 1966 by Antti Nurmesniemi and Vuokko Eskolin-Nurmesniemi, a powerhouse couple in Finnish mid-century fashion and design.

Illustration: Anje Jager

The form of the 004 chair was drawn up by Nurmesniemi, while Eskolin-Nurmesniemi developed the fabric pattern and manufactured them through her company Vuokko Oy. The textile designer is best known for her work with Marimekko, where she created iconic clothing such as the Jokapoika, a shirt with the distinctive striped Piccolo pattern that is not unlike the upholstery of this lounger. And, just like the Jokapoika shirt, which is still a Marimekko bestseller, the 004 would no doubt be in demand were it still in production.

Around The House / Gejst, Denmark

Well hung

The enduring appeal of Scandinavian minimalism is proof that the best design is often the simplest. This is a principle that Danish brand Gejst has at the core of everything it creates and its Nivo range of shelving is a prime example of this dedication to a pared-back approach.

Image: Høeg+Møller
Image: Høeg+Møller

Designed by Berlin-based studio Böttcher & Kayser, the shelves have been on the market for a couple of years but Gejst has now added a sleek rail and hooks that can be fitted to run along the bottom of the unit. The result is a product that’s ideal for hanging anything from scarves and towels to pots and pans, and complements a new series of oak and walnut hooks that can be attached directly to the wall. Both are subtle additions to Gejst’s range but, like all its products, are highly functional and immaculately designed.

In The Picture / Sanayi313 Paper, Istanbul

Print making

Turkish furniture and design studio Sanayi313 has, for a number of years, been producing Sanayi313 Paper, a publication that delivers insightful briefings on art, design, architecture, food and travel. The current issue, which recently landed on Monocle’s design desk, features a striking black cover, an interview with Aric Yeakey and Jared Heinrich of New York furniture gallery Love House and an illustrated tour of some of Istanbul’s heritage buildings.

Headed by editor in chief Sidni Karavil, with graphic design by Sanayi313’s creative team, the magazine is a reminder that company branding isn’t only about telling your own story; instead it can contribute to the wider narrative of your industry. As such, Sanayi313 Paper is indispensable reading for fans of the brand and design enthusiasts more broadly.


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