Surfaces Focus: Recent Projects


A selection of recent projects in our surfaces focus includes a Gessi showroom, Tiffany Loy’s The Weaverly Way, the Lens Light collection, and hotel The Trip



Words by Emily Martin

Casa Gessi London showroom

Last year saw a new addition to Clerkenwell, London, with the Casa Gessi London showroom opening its doors to the design district, showcasing Italian bathroom design against a distinctive backdrop and presenting a sensorial journey for visitors.

Combining contemporary design and technology with traditional Georgian and Victorian architectural features, the Casa Gessi showroom showcases Gessi products within the historical infrastructure of the Old Sessions House – an 18th-century Palladian-style Grade II listed building. The building’s long, storied history is carefully integrated into the present-day design, including the prison-cell structure that extends across the ground floor and now hosts product display exhibitions.

The Gessi showroom concept goes beyond the classic showroom set-up. The London, Milan and Singaporean showrooms are set in historical buildings, with ‘architectural uniqueness’ to juxtapose the Gessi product. Materials used throughout the showrooms globally align to natural and non-synthetic materials, such as glass, wood, stone, marble and metal.

The design creates a series of ambiences, with each space described as a ‘3D mood board’The design creates a series of ambiences, with each space described as a ‘3D mood board’

But despite Gessi’s distinctive material trademark in every showroom, each one presents its very own ‘genius loci’ – a tribute to the spirit and architectural flair of the city where the showroom is.

‘The entire project revolves around the careful choice of combinations between the historical characteristics of Old Sessions House, such as aged bricks and York stones, and present-day stoneware, fabrics, glass and mirrors,’ says Sara Ferrari, head of interior design at Gessi, of the new London space. ‘These well-calibrated contrasts generate a perfect harmony between the elements, and the fine balance of history and contemporary design is showcased throughout the whole showroom.’

The new space includes a Libertà bar and lounge and the Architectural Wellness space, which features light and water. To conclude the showroom experience is the Gessi Wellness Tailor Atelier Dressing Room, which offers guests a chance to explore their wellness dreams by hand-selecting novel new combinations of Gessi products and finishes.

Recognised for its ‘Made in Gessi’ bathroom concept and design, the company promotes a forward-thinking approach to well-being. The new London showroom’s design creates a series of ambiences, with each space a ‘three-dimensional mood board’.

The design creates a series of ambiences, with each space described as a ‘3D mood board’The design creates a series of ambiences, with each space described as a ‘3D mood board’

‘One example is the Gessi Inciso ambiance stoneware panel. This surface (by Florim) has a floral texture that the manufacturer reproduced from the famous silk patterns of historical Italian textiles manufacturer Rubelli. This beautiful surface immediately gives a classic and sophisticated character to the environment,’ explains Ferrari.

‘In order to give these spaces a different look and feel, we focused on the materials, colours, the feel, the design of the surfaces, and the combination of it all together, when creating each atmosphere.’
gessi.com
 

The Weaverly Way by Tiffany Loy

While travel was off many people’s agenda in 2020, London Craft Week hopefully enticed you (safely) to CitizenM Bankside to visit a striking installation. Textile weaver and Royal College of Art MA graduate Tiffany Loy presented The Weaverly Way, a site-specific installation in the entranceway of the hotel.

Working in collaboration with heritage British brand Gainsborough Weaving at its silk weaving mill in Sudbury, with the project also supported by the DesignSingapore Council, Loy developed a structural woven piece that exaggerates the layering and three-dimensionality of jacquard weaving. ‘The piece was woven in a combination of silk and cotton yarn, to achieve a soft drape, as well as a structured appearance,’ she explains.

The installation is a structural woven piece that exaggerates the layering and three-dimensionality of jacquard weavingThe installation is a structural woven piece that exaggerates the layering and three-dimensionality of jacquard weaving. Image Credit: Ed Reeve

Loy practises traditional hand-weaving and yarn-dyeing techniques, and explores ways to reframe them in a contemporary context, building on heritage in experimental ways.

‘The craft approach brings a great degree of versatility to woven textiles. Endless permutations of designs can be achieved when we explore different materials, colours and weave structures, all within one continuous roll of fabric,’ says Loy. ‘Not only is this ideal for creating one-off art pieces, it can also be scaled up for bespoke interior textiles.’

In 2015 Loy travelled to Kyoto, Japan, to learn textile weaving following on from her degree in Industrial Design in Singapore, in search of a traditional and hands-on approach to constructing textiles. After returning to Singapore she decided to make it her career. Loy was then given the opportunity to study at the RCA thanks to a DesignSingapore Scholarship, which provides young Singaporean designers and makers with the opportunity to study at some of the most prestigious art colleges in the world.

Her works have been shown internationally, at the likes of the Singapore Art Museum and La Triennale di Milano.

Tiffany LoyTiffany Loy. Image Credit: Ed Reeve

‘I am inspired by the way weavers see and analyse the objects around us, how we think in terms of colour and structure,’ says Loy. ‘Like pointillist painters, we compose our works by arranging tiny lines or dots of colours together, and we do this all in 3D. When we think about weaving as a way of building in a broader sense, we are no longer limited by what “textiles” can be.’
tiffanyloy.com
 

Lens Light collection by Yair Neuman with Cubitts

The collection is a series of sculptural lights that repurposes waste lenses into an innovative material
The collection is a series of sculptural lights that repurposes waste lenses into an innovative material. Image Credit: Jonathan Minster

London-based designer Yair Neuman is exploring the opportunities of sustainable design and is producing products with low environmental impact. He is currently working on pieces made using waste from the eyewear industry after noting the amount it produced. His most recent work was with eyewear brand Cubitts, which offered its Coal Drops Yard store to launch the Lens Light collection during the London Design Festival. The collection is a series of striking, sculptural lights that repurposes waste lenses into an innovative material developed by Neuman.

‘Witnessing the enormous waste generated in the processes of selling eyewear was the beginning of this project,’ explains Neuman. ‘A small optician’s shop bins 200 new display lenses a week on average.’

The collection is a series of sculptural lights that repurposes waste lenses into an innovative material
The collection is a series of sculptural lights that repurposes waste lenses into an innovative material. Image Credit: Jonathan Minster

The Lens Light collection comprises six designs, with each piece being unique. Working with the dummy plano lenses, which have no visual correcting power and are replaced with prescription lenses once the frames are selected by the customer, Neuman developed a method to fuse the lenses into a sheet material. Made from optical grade polycarbonate, plano lenses are often destined for landfill and incineration centres, but through experimentation in his London studio Neuman has created a light-emitting material.

Its surface is textured, with the pressed sheets working with the lens form and curve direction. Neuman then shapes the sheets using jigs, manual moulding and freehand, to create the lights. Embedded filters in the lenses mean colours change depending on the viewing angle, giving a sense of dynamism.

‘By simply collecting these lenses, experimenting to make a new material, we now have, in effect, a new supply chain,’ comments Neuman.

The collection is a series of sculptural lights that repurposes waste lenses into an innovative material
The collection is a series of sculptural lights that repurposes waste lenses into an innovative material. Image Credit: Jonathan Minster

The Lens Light collection includes hanging spheres, (single and conjoined), flower lamps, pendants, a fan shaped base light, and a vase light.

Neuman’s strong belief that ethical making should come first in the conception of products is in line with Cubitts’s own sustainability philosophy, which puts reducing its environmental impact at the centre of product development. This philosophy has seen Cubitts experiment with frame-making from waste materials such as potato peelings and sheep’s wool, and more recently in the development of new accessories that include spectacle cleaning cloths made from recycled plastic bottles, spectacle cases cut from a pattern that utilises every bit of fabric, and spectacle chains made from their own acetate offcuts.

The collection is a series of sculptural lights that repurposes waste lenses into an innovative material
The collection is a series of sculptural lights that repurposes waste lenses into an innovative material. Image Credit: Mark Cocksedge

The Lens Light collection is the latest of Neuman’s work bringing a strong ethical edge to contemporary design and is his first eponymous collection.

He adds: ‘Cubitts has been singular in their support to make this installation happen. Most of all, the Lens Lights are designed to be aesthetically pleasing, thought-provoking and honest.’
yairneuman.com

The Trip


For the corridors, the textural carpet planks from Milliken’s Arctic Survey collection were installed. Image: Philip Vile

Founded in Hamburg in 2005, the 25 Hours hotel group thrives on making a statement. Its distinctive, and often quirky, design style aligns with its company mission: to create ‘soulful spaces... based on dynamism, surprise and a touch of adventure’.

When its Frankfurt hotel The Trip was developed in 2018, the flooring specification was crucial to achieving its aesthetic ambitions for the project. The design team, including group co-founder Ardi Goldman, Frankfurt- based artist Michael Dreher, and interior design company Morgen & Co., developed a travel-themed design scheme, summed up with the phrase ‘around the world in a day’, as emblazoned across its facade.

‘The exciting thing about this project was definitely its location in the middle of the multicultural train station district in Frankfurt,’ says Thomas Tritsch, a designer at Morgen. ‘One-hundred and forty different nationalities live here in a very small area. This is also the reason why no two rooms are alike.’

 
Rich, deep earthy tones of reds, rusts and greys were used in some rooms, with turquoise hues and acid greens in others Images: Philip Vile

Milliken’s modular carpet collection Clerkenwell – which is a strong, graphic celebration of London’s vibrant design quarter – was chosen to meet the bold brief for colour, comfort and a sense of fun. In The Trip hotel bedrooms the bold lines and angles of Three Corners and Angled Walk and the sweeping curves of Circle Top View and Time Piece were selected. For the corridors, the textural carpet planks from Milliken’s Arctic Survey collection were installed. Sympathetic to the design theme, the carpet colours for the hotel rooms were chosen to compliment furnishings and wall coverings. Rich, deep earthy tones of reds, rusts and greys were used in some rooms, while turquoise hues and acid greens were used in others.

Modular flooring offers the possibility to create a bespoke floor. With its multiple, coordinating elements, the Clerkenwell collection offers a number of design solutions to align with the design scheme’s theme.
 

Rich, deep earthy tones of reds, rusts and greys were used in some rooms, with turquoise hues and acid greens in others Images: Philip Vile

‘The unique thing [about the project] was for all the different styles, nationalities and influences – which in themselves appear very heterogeneous – to be integrated into the project so that in the end it appears homogeneous and natural,’ says Tritsch.

morgen.org | floors.milliken.com








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