Q&A WITH BIG-GAME, DESIGNERS OF THE NEW PROP SHELVING SYSTEM FOR KARIMOKU NEW STANDARD
BIG-GAMErs, you have designed a number of pieces already for Karimoku New Standard. How do you see your new PROP Shelf fit in, which will be presented at Salone del Mobile? Does it correspondent to other pieces that you have designed for the brand?
Karimoku New Standard blends craftsmanship and technology in a unique way, their understanding of wood is very advanced. We have designed various pieces of furniture for the brand over the years, and this has allowed us to gradually understand their skillset. The CASTOR family for instance, started with a simple stool, and then grew gradually to a large family that includes sofas, tables and armchairs – items that are more challenging to produce.
How would you describe the line of shelving PROP? What is distinct or special about the shelving system?
The design of PROP is built on bold, L-shaped side modules that give the shelf great stability while reducing its component parts. It has a strong characteristic appearance, looking both robust and uncomplicated as it doesn’t require any cross section for stability. It looks good both from the front and back, so it can be used in the middle of a room. It also has optional sliding doors, making it perfect for storage and display in living rooms, hallways and offices.
Where do you see the challenges of designing a shelf? Is it a particularly difficult piece of furniture?
A shelving system is a very good design challenge because it needs to be stable, discreet and well-proportioned at the same time. A shelf doesn’t exist purely to increase the storage surface of an interior but it also is an opportunity to showcase nicely our favourite objects.
In what interior do you see the shelf?
PROP is meant for homes and small offices that require functionality of an efficient shelving system and the warmth of great quality wooden furniture.
How would you say does your design language meet the aesthetic of Karimoku New Standard?
The meeting between our design and Karimoku New Standard’s aesthetic lies probably in the fact that we value functionality combined with a simple geometric design language – while also being optimistic. Our ambition is to design objects that embellish everyday life, and Karimoku New Standard is a great partner to work with in that respect.
You also designed the Castor series for the brand. How would you describe its distinctness?
CASTOR is an essential furniture range designed for Karimoku New Standard. All pieces are made from Japanese oak which is gained from low-diameter trees that have previously remained significantly underused, ending up mostly as wood chips for paper pulp. The CASTOR chair’s ergonomics derive from classic chairs found in traditional Swiss cafés. It makes it a light, compact and comfortable seat. The low chair offers a wide seat and backrest that make it a versatile lounge chair. The shelf and bench make reference to traditional Japanese furniture typology. The tables are compact as we wanted them to fit into various sized interiors, as well as cafés and restaurants. Karimoku’s tradition derives from a deep understanding of craftsmanship, bound together with innovative technologies to build furniture that meets the highest requirements of quality and sustainability. The company’s motto is: a piece of furniture has to live at least as long as the tree it comes from. And we can personally identify with that.
How would you describe yourself as designers? How do you work?
Our studio is based in Lausanne, Switzerland and was founded by Augustin Scott de Martinville, Grégoire Jeanmonod and Elric Petit. Our team now includes eight people and our way of working is based on discussion and exchange. We would describe our design as simple, functional and optimistic. Additionally, our work should be accessible, charming and, above all, useful.