06 Feb

Tom Dixon tackles the office

Published in Profiles
  Written by James McLachlan
Tom Dixon has a strong handshake. It is tempting to add the caveat “for a designer”, but then Dixon never learned his trade in a classroom. The firmness of his grip betrays his early beginnings welding bits of scrap metal to make lights and furniture to exhibit in a vacant shop on Kensington High Street. He still welds, but the skill is no longer intrinsic to production. From this rudimentary start back in the early…
Image Credits David Vintiner
20 Dec

AHMM: Intelligent intervention

Published in Profiles
  Written by James McLachlan
In 2004, Shoreditch’s Tea Building opened its doors, marking the end of a ten-year process to overhaul a warehouse first built for the Lipton tea family more than a century ago. It was around the same time the satirical comedy Nathan Barley hit our television screens. Written by Chris Morris, the show was a razor-sharp send-up of the “self-facilitating media nodes” that bounced up and down the gritty East End streets, proving so London-centric that…
Image Credits Peter Guenzel
08 Nov

Stefan Diez: Straight talker

Published in Profiles
  Written by James McLachlan
“A good magic trick is something that takes a little effort, but the effect is huge. Like the magician who pulls the rabbit from the hat,” says Stefan Diez. “Of course, we know it is all fake; and it is the same idea with these tricks in design.” It seems odd to hear this unflashy German liken his work to some kind of gimmickry, as if Daniel Day-Lewis had admitted method acting was actually gibberish.…
Image Credits David Vintiner
01 Oct

Studio Weave: Narrative Thread

Published in Profiles
  Written by James McLachlan
There are architects who build and those that theorise about building. Studio Weave, purveyors of charming but often ephemeral public architecture falls emphatically into the former. The studio, founded and headed up by Maria Smith and Je Ahn, is simply itching to stamp its mark in bricks and mortar: what that building turns out to be almost does not matter, as the directors clearly relish the challenges in everything from an office block to luxury…
The first few minutes of my conversation with Lauren Geremia is fraught with distractions. First, she sounds robotic due to a bad line, caused by her pacing through her office on the phone. Then a background soundtrack of barking dogs takes her scurrying away for a moment. “Sorry,” she says, “there were, like, three dogs in the office, having a party.” Finally, someone brings her a morning coffee and I have her full attention. Her business…
Image Credits Ike Edeani
Not for the first time, onoffice is in the wrong place. Although the slighty tatty sign nailed adjacent to the front door clearly said Note Design Studio, there is no sign of the Stockholm-based collective we have jetted in to meet. What’s more, a steady stream of young pram-pushing mothers continually come and go from the warehouse, imbuing the whole scene with a feeling of comic mystery. “Must be a baby audition,” says onoffice’s art…
Image Credits Carl Dahlstedt
28 May

Tomas Kral: Hot tip

Published in Profiles
  Written by Jenny Brewer
One of the most exciting aspects of being in Milan is spotting the up-and-coming designers destined to grace many a furniture fair to come, and one of this year’s most promising finds is Tomas Kral. Strolling through Brera, onoffice stumbled upon his Ray lamps for Petite Friture adorning a corner of design boutique Spazio Pontaccio, and having heard his name on more than a few in-the-know lips recently, this discovery prompted us to find out…
Image Credits Miroslav Nota
Like the man himself, Werner Aisslinger’s studio appears a little off the beaten track. Located just north of the Tiergarten, the area captures that peculiarly Berlin condition where small clusters of galleries, record labels and design studios are buried among the lorry parks and used car lots. In London it would be unthinkable for somewhere like this to exist so close to a city centre train station without catching a developer’s attention – and, sure…
Image Credits Marcus Hoehn
17 Apr

Lucy Abbott: Light exposure

Published in Profiles
  Written by Jenny Brewer
As designers become better known, they grow more accustomed to talking about themselves. Some let it go to their heads (we’re not naming any names), but most don’t, understanding that self-analysis and self-promotion is a necessary evil. Here at onoffice we’re used to meeting those famous sorts, so meeting Lucy Abbott is as refreshing as it is surprising. Having only recently set up her own practice after years of being part of other firms, she…
Image Credits Dave Parker
Dressed in trademark black, Jean Nouvel sweeps into the dining room at Milan’s Hotel Principe di Savoia. I greet him with a wonky “bonjour”; he pauses briefly to shake hands, and then sits down at a table with another journalist some 20 feet away. At dinner the night before (part of a press junket), word had gone round that I was “the one” who had scooped an interview with the great man. Needless to say,…
Image Credits Mario Ermoli
18 Mar

TAF act to follow

Published in Profiles
  Written by Jenny Brewer
Amid the loud and bustling opening day of the Stockholm Furniture Fair, meeting TAF’s Gabriella Gustafson and Mattias Ståhlbom is like stepping into a bubble. Quiet, calm and humble, there isn’t a shred of arty pomp to them, nor their designs. Appropriately, their best-known piece is the Wood lamp for Muuto (below), a deliberately low-tech take on the standard desk lamp, which typifies their simple, pragmatic aesthetic, and their ability to rethink the norm. They’re…
Image Credits Nicho Södling
18 Feb

Rab Bennetts: True to form

Published in Profiles
  Written by James McLachlan
“There is a snobbery about offices in architecture. People in colleges tend to look down their noses at commercial property. They would rather do a museum or a gallery. That is nice to do, but offices are highly constrained so if you do a good one it means you have done something exceptional.” So says Rab Bennetts, co-director of Bennetts Associates, the practice he founded with his wife Denise in 1987. Bennetts has a soft…
Studiomama founder Nina Tolstrup is at a significant juncture in her life when onoffice turns up at her studio/home in Bethnal Green. After 13 years living in the UK, the family is upping sticks to Stockholm, due to Tolstrup’s husband Jack Mama (also a silent partner at the studio) landing the role of creative director at Electrolux. It’s clear that Tolstrup is more than a little hesitant to leave her home – “they’ll be dragging…
Image Credits Katherine Fawssett

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