Tuesday night we were excited to go to the opening reception for The Gardiner Museum‘s new exhibition, True Nordic: How Scandinavia influenced design in Canada. Curated by Dr. Rachel Gotlieb and Michael Prokopow, we are honoured that our Garden Works collaboration with Anderssen & Voll is on display.
From the press release: Scandinavian design initially reached Canada’s elite consumers and style-makers via museum and gallery exhibitions, showrooms, small retail shops and articles and advertisements in popular decorator magazines. However, it was the dynamic influx of émigré craftspeople from Scandinavia who both affirmed and vernacularized the aesthetic in Canada and who shaped profoundly the country’s design and craft movement from the 1930s onward. What was broadly known as “Danish modern” became synonymous with ideas about good design, and “comfortable and gracious living.” Capitalizing on the market opportunities presented, Canadian manufacturers added Scandinavian design to their conservative repertoire of colonial and historicist offerings and called these lines, Helsinki, Stanvanger, Scanda and so on. The culminating section of the exhibition will ask why Scandinavian and Nordic aesthetics continue to resonate with so many contemporary Canadian designers and artisans at work today.
The exhibition was designed by friend of the shop Andrew Jones Design / Graphic design by q30 design inc. Loved the Alto-esque paper room divider and the intimate wall colours.
During the Q&A discussion, there was a bit of talk about how a lot of the designers were married couples. Naturally we like this dynamic a lot!
In the contemporary designers section there are a lot of local designers and artisans, such as Castor, Sean Plaice, MSDS, and Bookhou. It was nice to see everyone in the same place.
The exhibition book was a nice surprise, containing some essays and the exhibition catalog. The fire tools pictured are from a project we have been working on with Winnipeg designer Thom Fougere (to be launched in January).
Please go see this show at the Gardiner Museum, running until January 8.
We were recently pleased to receive Yoshinori Yano at Mjölk. At the time, his works had become unfortunately waylaid by a postage fiasco, shunted around the East Coast and Montreal before finally making it to our shop. As a result, we had to cancel our opening. Although this seemed a terrible thing, we ultimately got to have an altogether different experience. On a Saturday afternoon, Mr. Yano did some woodworking in the shop, and chatted with curious customers, press and passersby.
We were fortunate to be able to borrow some woodworking tools from Peter Tan of Studio Junction.
The result of this day is a delicate leaf. Thankfully a few days after Mr. Yano left the boxes arrived. They are now in the showroom and in the online webshop. Thank you to all who made it in on short notice, and to all who took an eager interest in the woodworking demo!
Yoshinori Yano’s sculptures are both ethereal and organic; through them he communicates a quintessentially Japanese idea of beauty in nature.
His technique is slow and measured, using simple hand tools to reveal each form, evoking emotions and ideas already present in nature: a delicate breeze of wind or the melancholy drizzle of rain.
Born in 1973 in Tokyo to a family of artists, Yoshinori Yano discovered woodworking during his studies in Capellagågarden, Sweden. Upon returning to Japan he completed a three year apprenticeship before opening his own studio in the city of Itoshima, Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan in 2003.
Additionally, not pictured in this post but available via the link above are a variety of vases, mobiles and art objects.
Sculptural natural forms.
A variety of platters/trays/dishes/cups/vessels for use.
A leaf carved during our impromptu meet and greet. A vessel.
A sculpture and a wall vase.
Back in July, as an accompaniment to the Takayoshi Narita Wrought Iron Cookware Exhibition, we held a lunch with Narita-san’s friend Chef Seiko Tanaka of Hibari in Tokyo. We invited a small group of guests, some via raffle, to join us in celebrating and experiencing his cookware, dishes, serving ware and spoons.
There isn’t too much left from this exhibition, it really spoke to people, but we hope to work with Narita-san again soon.
We held the lunch in our home, whereby I am sure you can see some familiar pieces in the background! Pictured: Chef Seiko Tanaka, Studio Junction’s Peter Tan and Christine Ho Ping Kong, and Studio Tint’s Takayoshi Narita.
The table is set with wonderful stainless steel plates that look like the moon due to the finish. A stainless steel bowl and serving spoon, and iron platters really make the colourful food pop.
Guests mingling with John.
Pork roasted in the oven in the wrought iron wok.
Freshly made gyoza fried in a wrought iron pan.
This was an incredible meal, please if you find yourself in Tokyo visit Hibari.
We are excited to share with you some images of our latest exhibition with Nichetto Studio and De La Espada. Luca Nichetto came to our showroom for the opening, taking over the front half of our showroom to create his version of an idealized living space. Complete with the full launch of furniture designed by the Nichetto Studio for De La Espada, expertly finished in fabrics and materials chosen by the studio. The space was decorated by many objects designed by Luca Nichetto, along with handpicked design objects and books in the Mjölk collection.
Along with the full collection of De La Espada furniture, we also debuted two very special products designed by the Nichetto Studio for Mjolk: the Han and Zen flower vases, and the Uki candleholder (pictured below with more details to follow further down).
Hailing from the Venetian island of Murano, home of world-renowned glass makers, Luca Nichetto has a natural affinity for the art of craft and the power of colour. He draws inspiration from the textures and colours of nature and craft techniques from a range of disciplines including fashion, carpentry, and fine art.
Reflected in each of the products is the influence of the great American architects of the 1950s, Scandinavian design, and Italian postmodernism, which translates into a classic aesthetic where luxury is revealed in the details.
Each product was developed alongside a special colour palette that is not tied to fashion, but rather intended to remain relevant for years to come.
Gemstones set into jewellery were the starting point for Steve – a series of upholstered poufs. They feature short cast iron legs that support visible wooden structures crowned with upholstery, and are available in three sizes. Perfect as a standalone piece, Steve can also complement the Blanche, Stanley and Elysia chairs. It continues the Nichetto Collection’s aim of combining heritage styling with contemporary design.
The Stella armchair, seen here paired with the Harold Desk, grew out of Luca Nichetto’s desire to combine fibreglass – a material popular in the 1950s – with contemporary premium materials. The Stella Armchair boasts elegantly curving armrests, and its wooden legs support a visible fibreglass shell that encloses an upholstered seat and backrest. The Stella Armchair has been designed for extreme versatility and can be customized to suit residential, workplace and social settings.
With its tabletop drawer and compact proportions, the Harold writing desk evokes the era of letter writing. The flat working area is surrounded on three sides by soft upward curves, and the H-frame legs and wedge tenons grant the table a breezy elevation. The hardwood is hand-polished with lacquer for a subtle shine.
The Marlon table is an intriguing play of contrasts. Slender marble legs support a solid hardwood table top, creating a robust structure that nonetheless creates an airy impression. The table top’s numerous sections make it easily transportable, while allowing for a distinct and visually striking design detail. As part of the Nichetto collection, Marlon was inspired by the craft and form of American mid-century furniture and architecture.
Here is the first of the new product work by the Nichetto Studio for Mjölk.
The Bauhaus art school was celebrated for its use of pure, universal forms, and it’s to this vaunted early-20th-century design institution that the Zen/Han containers tips their hat. Referencing the angular form of classic vases, the Zen/Han glass containers come in two distinct, geometric shapes – a full and half rhombus – that slot together seamlessly when placed side by side, and which are finished in a soft colour palette specially developed by Luca Nichetto. Developed for Mjölk and blown by artisans in Murano, Italy, Zen/Han represents a truly international collaboration.
The soft folds of the Blanche Bergère armchair provide the perfect place for reading or private contemplation. Crafted in premium hardwood, with a choice of fabrics, Blanche has a soft seat and elegant wooden legs that are offset by two overlapping, tautly upholstered shells. Its enclosing and embracing form provides a sense of privacy. In balancing handcrafted wood with luxurious fabrics, Blanche embraces French luxury and echoes the delicacy of form of mid-century furniture and architecture.
When it launched in 2015, the Elysia lounge chair was the first product in the Nichetto collection for De La Espada. For 2016, it has been joined by Nino, an ottoman that shares its stylistic principles. Nino perfectly matches Elysia, as well as complementing the other items in the Nichetto collection. Its solid wood skeleton is exposed rather than concealed, showcasing its fine material and craftsmanship, while its fusion of wood and upholstered materials is inspired by mid-century design.
The Elysia lounge chair combines superb woodwork with bespoke tailoring. Its solid wood legs support an exceptionally comfortable backrest and seat. The chair’s skeleton is exposed, rather than conventionally concealed, to showcase its fine materials and craftsmanship, as well as its generous proportions.
The Laurel side table, positioned beside the Elysia lounge, is composed of two pure geometric shapes, an intersecting cone and cylinder, providing distinct surfaces on different levels. The solid, stable cone appears to weightlessly float atop the base, a fusion of form and function. Inspired by the balance of 1950s American architecture, Laurel is split 50:50 between two materials, with stone for the cylindrical base, and painted, hand-polished hardboard for the cone.
Here is the second product debuting by the Nichetto Studio specifically for Mjolk.
The Uki tea-light candleholder (brass / copper) gives off a soft and atmospheric light that illuminates any space. The glass diffusor appears to be a perfect globe, but its form has been carefully shaped to introduce subtle angles. While the diffusor is executed in Murano blown-glass, Uki’s base is produced out of spun brass made in Toronto, the materials and making processes revealing the quality of the manufacturing that lies behind the design. This piece represents a truly international collaboration.
A product of expert woodwork and joinery, the Stanley sofa is crafted around an elegant exposed wooden frame that is upholstered with a choice of fabric. Taut upholstery provides a smooth finish to the backrest, while generously proportioned cushions allow for exceptional comfort. In balancing skillfully handcrafted wood with complementary fabrics, Stanley embraces the craftsmanship of America’s great 1950s furniture and architecture.
The Mitch cabinet is a system made from solid hardwood and polished lacquer. The lightweight appearance of the cabinet belies the robust structure. Inspired by traditional Venetian doorbells, burnished brass is used for the door pull, for an exciting contrast of materials that nods to the designer’s heritage.
The Kim, a family of nesting tables, have been designed through the re-imagining of the design language of 1950s American furniture. Available as a set or as standalone pieces, the three items in the Kim family share common materials, while each having their own distinct form. Simple but with a strong sense of character, Kim’s finished wooden surfaces straddle the boundaries between the natural and the manmade.
Alissa Coe (producer of original edition of Sucabaruca) trying out the Harold writing desk, with Luca Nichetto looking on.
Thank you for everyone who came out to the exhibition. We will be showing the exhibition in its entirety until June 17th.
From the very beginning, Sucabaruca and Aureola, was about involving people from different cultures and countries; Luca Nichetto, a designer from Venice, Italy, but residing in Stockholm, Sweden; Lera Moiseeva, designer and artist of Russian origin, but New Yorker by adoption; Mjölk, a purveyor of objects and furniture from Japan and Scandinavia; Canadian ceramicist Alissa Coe, who carefully crafted the prototypes and the first edition of the sets; Kihara Inc, the manufacturer of the sets, skillfully handcrafted each piece in Arita, Japan. All of these people have enriched the project, making it an extraordinary melting pot of ideas and energy on an international scale.
We chose to work with Kihara because of the history and expertise of the makers in the studio. Arita was one of the first places to produce porcelain wares in Japan in the early 17th Century. The work that was produced was heavily influenced by Korea, using an underglaze in blue, the Sometsuke porcelain became the primary finishing technique.
Today, Arita ceramics are considered both works of fine art as well as vessels primarily used for function. Kihara, a studio that has been producing for over 400 years, uses a traditional white glaze with blue undertones. The company still produces work with techniques that have remained unchanged while also incorporating new technologies to enhance the nature of the material.
The Sucabaruca Coffee Set is rich in cultural and formal references that come from the influences of several people involved in the project. The main cone-shaped body is reminiscent of Carmencita, the famous character created by Armando Testa in1966 for the tv show Carosello. The lines in the ceramic are meant to emphasize the uniqueness of the pieces which can be stacked and combined in various ways.
Set includes pot, filter funnel and 3 cups.
The Aureola Tea Set was designed based on research about ancient and modern tea sharing rituals that play a significant role in the social relationships in several countries. The tea ceremony represents an important tradition in many areas of the world, and particularly in Asia, influencing numerous other cultures. By observing how tea is consumed in Russia, Luca Nichetto noticed that the infuse is served not in cups but in small bowls without the handle and realized how this small detail gives more solemnity to the whole ritual.
Set includes pot, strainer and 2 bowls.