Mattiazzi SpA, Italy
In 1978 the Italian brothers Nevio and Fabbiano Mattiazzi began their obsession with wooden furniture production. For thirty years they produced furniture rather anonymously for some of the great Italian brands and only recently started to collaborate with world designers to expose their expertise to a wider audience. Over the years they have kept their expertise and quality sharp by continually investing in the latest machinery, and by maintaining a craftsman's attitude overall.
Unlike many other Italian producers, the Mattiazzi brothers knew to keep all the facets of wood production under one roof.
By default, they have now become a rare company that is able to shape wood as if it were plastic while embracing ever-increasing challenges as their own form of R&D.
After several trips to Mattiazzi's factory, along with close discussions with their craftsmen, Industrial Facility continues to push Mattiazzi further into their exploration of robot-craftsmanship.
Branca is the result of a combination of highly complex parts (made possible with robotic machinery, most notably the eight-axis CNC milling machine which Mattiazzi is expert with), alongside simple traditional shaping and finishing by hand.
"The power of the robot, the repetition of the machine and the skills of the craftsmen already have synchronised relationships at Mattiazzi where each process is as carefully selected as the wood blocks that are to be shaped", says Hecht.
It was in conversations with his partner Kim Colin, that the focus was turned to nature, where complexity thrives with reason. Beauty is simply a result of constant growth. In particular, the branches of a tree were to provide the critical analogy for the project.
Like wooden branches on a tree, Branca is a chair that is familiar to the eye. We accept that branches support the joints of twigs and leaves at different points that may seem random but are in fact intentional.
Branca's back leg supports the critical joints of its armrest, seat and back, and is made from a single piece of wood produced robotically. The joints are seen as but a part of the seamless nature of the chair and its simple outline belies the complexity of production.
With no question, Branca has to hold all of the functional attributes we expect a chair to have in a modern condition - to be comfortable; to have armrests; to fit under a table; to be light enough to carry; and to stack for easy shipping. Branca is inspired by wooden branches that turn, twist, meet and branch off.
Furniture Design of the Year, Design Museum, 2011
Habitare Award, Helsinki, 2011
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
V&A Museum, London
Finlandia Design Museum, Helsinki
Design Museum London
New Simplicity, London, 2010
Power of Making, V&A Museum, London, 2011
Beijing International Design Triennial, 2011
Turn, Twist and Branch Off, Aram Store, London, 2011
GREAT, Sakip Sabanci Museum, Istanbul 2014
In 2009 Mattiazzi – a leading Italian producer of wooden furniture – released the influential Branca Chair – the all-wood, stacking armchair produced with the best of robotic manufacturing with hand-finishing. It went on to win the Design of the Year for Furniture in 2011 and is now included in the Permanent Collections of the Design Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the Finlandia Design Museum, Helsinki; and the Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco.
To allow free movement at stool height, the seat is soft and open from 270 degrees. The backrest is small and reassuring, providing a backstop and a place to hang a jacket. The metal curved footrest replicates the outline of the seat.
The Branca Stool was first previewed by Mattiazzi at the Salone del Mobile 2014 and is now available after passing stringent quality controls and BIFMA standards. Stools are available in natural and coloured Ash (Anilin Black, Anilin White, Anilin Branca Green and Natural Ash) with a powder-coated footrest and a seat height of 760mm.
The Branca Stool continues the trajectory of tree branches seamlessly bending and meeting; it is also inviting and comfortable, yet skeletal in its formation.
Locale is an intelligent office furniture system that previewed at NeoCon 2013 as part of Herman Miller’s Living Office™.
Locale enables the creation of dynamic, high-performance work neighborhoods within open-plan environments. A composition of Locale elements encourages the free and intuitive shift from individual work to collaborative and social activities, and drives serendipitous interaction.
The subtle curvature of Locale’s surfaces signals openness, invites interaction, and generously accommodates multiple collaborators, work styles and tools. People move and change positions naturally around cantilevered surfaces.
With the addition of height adjustability, a push of a paddle allows an individual to sit down for focused work or stand up to collaborate with colleagues.
Adjustability is not limited to surface height—mobile tables, screens, and easels can be utilized as the need arises.
By easing physical and experiential transitions, Locale’s consistent and thoughtful design vocabulary contributes to a more seamless total experience of work.
“We often talk about how social networks behave given current technology, where close relationships are not based on physical proximity, but instead on similarity of purpose or interest. You might make an alliance in a social network with someone who is very far away but very close to you in other ways. They are great spatial condensers in this respect. Locale is a physical manifestation of this principle, where the most relevant participants are kept close and communication is fast and frequent.” Kim Colin
“One could argue that collaboration is a buzzword right now, that somehow it might go away, but we think this is unimaginable. People are collaborating globally, empowered by digital networks, but the most ambitious businesses still need productive, collaborative physical environments. The offices we visited during our research—places where people want to work—are open-plan, transparent, and energetic.” Sam Hecht
Best of NeoCon Silver Award, Chicago, 2013
IDEA 2014 Gold Award, USA, 2014
Metropolis 2014 Award, USA, 2014
HIP Award, Chicago, 2014
Radice is a three-legged wooden stool, the result of Industrial Facility’s second collaboration with Italian furniture producer Mattiazzi.
Unlike many other Italian producers, Mattiazzi keeps all the facets of wood production under one roof. By default, they have become a rare company that is able to shape wood as if it were plastic, while embracing ever-increasing challenges through their own R&D. Industrial Facility have continued to push Mattiazzi further into the exploration of robot-craftsmanship – following on from their first collaboration with the Branca Chair.
Radice finds its underlying beauty and simplicity in its structure. It is the bringing together of the front-half of a traditional 4-legged stool with a single back leg – the root. It is a visual improvisation, where two things come together unexpectedly.
“Radice has some tension in its form and it is a slight surprise that the third leg works as well as it does to resolve the overall structure. It is in some ways structurally diagrammatic, yet is made comfortable visually and physically because of how this third leg supports the seat,” says Sam Hecht.
The backrest is small and reassuring, allowing a coat or handbag to rest on it; and the seat is open for large and small people. It is light both visually and in weight and uses no screws or metal fittings, yet also passes stringent BIFMA standards ensuring it is structurally sound, stable and reliable. The wood stain options for Radice are based on the cycle of an autumn leaf turning colour.
Radice is available in 650mm (stool height) and 450mm (chair height).
Finishes: Ash - Available in Natural, Black, Branca Green, Red, and Yellow mustard; Natural Oak
Optional seat cushions: Leather and Kvadrat Steelcut Trio
Wireframe Sofa Group
Herman Miller, USA
Wireframe is a thoughtful and contemporary addition to Herman Millers recently relaunched ‘Collection’ series of furniture. It uses a structure made from metal wire to hold its soft and contoured cushions. Wired frames have a long heritage at Herman Miller, because they have the ability to create large structures that are light to move and strong in all directions. A versatile sofa was to be created, that is soft in appearance and where cushions were held in place by its structure. The wired frame allows it to be half the weight of a typical sofa, making movement, transportation and adjustment simple and relevant to today’s transient lives. It also means a smaller and less wasteful package to arrive to the customer.
There is a separation of upholstery and structure, allowing for easy maintenance that continues the legacy of lifetime repair and care that Herman Miller has pioneered. During the development of the project Industrial Facility had the opportunity to employ in the sofa structure a suspension technology called the ‘super-seat’, where a stretched molding creates a trampoline effect. It was previously used in the Nala Harmonic Tilt medical chair. The technology provides Wireframe with specific comfort, softness and support across its length. Wireframe is available in one, two and three seater versions.
Structure: White Flat or Black Flat
Cushions: Kvadrat Steelcut Trio; Kvadrat Remix; Black Leather; Brown Leather; and all Herman Miller Fabrics
Design Guild Award, 2014