Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec designed the Kaari collection in the first collaboration with Finnish company Artek
At recently closed Stockholm Furniture Fair 2016, Artek presented Kaari, the first collaboration between Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec and the Finnish design company. Based on a simple, yet intelligent component, the Kaari Collection includes rectangular and round tables in two sizes as well as a desk, a wall console, a small round shelf, and larger shelves.
When designing the Kaari Collection (kaari meaning “arch” in Finnish), Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec looked at Artek’s history with fresh eyes. In creating a simple bent steel band to provide support for the tables, shelves, desk, and console in the series, they arrived at an element as practical and adaptable as the L-shaped leg patented by Alvar Aalto in 1933.
The principle behind the pieces is simple: the vertical load is supported by a wooden part. Bent steel banding provides elegant and transparent diagonal support. Both wood and steel banding are traditional materials that have featured prominently in Artek’s history, but they have never before been combined in this way.
The interplay between the solid vertical board and the metal band gives the base a surprisingly light appearance and creates a distinctive linear silhouette. The surface materials, linoleum and glossy HPL, absorb and reflect light each in their own way. As the tables are used, an attractive patina will form on the surface over the course of time.
Collaborating with Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec was a natural choice for Artek. The Bouroullecs are exceptionally strong system thinkers. Intelligent system components that allow for the creation of a variety of products stand at the core of Alvar Aalto’s designs for Artek. The designers’ feeling for natural materials, notably wood, makes them very receptive to exploring Artek’s core materials. In addition, the formal language of Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec is simple and direct, yet refined and poetic.
The task was for the Bouroullecs to design a product that would be both strongly linked to Artek and decidedly new at the same time. It should be respectful to Artek’s roots without making explicit reference to historic Artek products. As a system based on an intelligent, versatile component, the Kaari Collection fully meets these requirements, while remaining fresh and original in the products’ expression. Despite the affinity with the Artek tradition, Kaari has found an aesthetic of its own, distinguishing it from classic Artek designs.
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