The innovations list

22 December 2018

A comprehensive list of our favourite products from the past few months.

Individual BRIT Awards are appreciated for their stylistic verve, and next year’s trophies are no exception. Winners at February’s ceremony will be receiving a statuette designed by architect Sir David Adjaye, who describes his dark, minimalist creation as “the manifestation of a great material forged in fire and shaped into the body of a woman”.

One would think the basic design of a guitar – two wooden boards sanded to a figure of eight, with a hollow centre and strings – is not capable of improvement. Maxwell Custom politely disagrees. Built from New Zealand kahikatea and black maire wood, the company’s sleeker guitar is built using CNC machining and forgoes the traditional circular opening in favour of a side pocket to create a richer, more responsive sound.

The common-variety kayak is rugged, dependable and typically hard to carry. That is about to change. California-based Oru Kayak – which specialises in making folding boats – has extended its talents to the humble ocean-going canoe. Weighing only 18kg, the vessel is good for 20,000 fold cycles, each time into a shape roughly the size of a large suitcase.

Furniture is an integral part of Frank Lloyd Wright’s design legacy, and now, for the first time in almost three decades, Wright’s Taliesin 1 armchair is being put back into production by the Italian company Cassina. Designed by the architect for the living room of his Arizona residence, the chair was originally made throughout the 1980s, before being discontinued for being ‘too avant-garde’. Buyers can obtain their own version with either its cheery wood veneer stained in black oak, or kept in its natural state.

Swedish lighting company Wästberg has partnered with architect John Pawson in the design of a minimalist oil lantern, christened Holocene no.4. The lamp stands at over 40cm and can be used both in and out of doors. The finger-friendly indent on the top of its thin handle also makes it ideal for hanging from wall fixtures. “It’s basically a crucible-like container for fire, designed so that it can be comfortably carried and suspended,” Pawson explained to Dezeen. “I wanted to keep the function, form and palette as simple as possible.”

Italian architect Matteo Thun has always been fascinated by glassmaking, and it shows in his new series of delicate, translucent vases for glassmaking company Venini. Coming in four different styles, the vessels were mouth-blown before being sanded to a satiny finish. The result is fine glassware in a range of cloudy palettes, from purple and taupe to grey and orange. “I would like for the complexity of the blowing to produce an archaic feeling, just like the painting of the early Novecento,” said Thun.

House plants do wonders to spruce up one’s home, but also have an unfortunate habit of dying when deprived of natural light. Enter Bjarke Ingels Group and Artemide, who have collaborated in the design of ‘Gople’, a blown-glass lamp that emits blue, red or white light to aid plants in their performance of photosynthesis.

The modern open-plan office is a noisy place. Luckily, Panasonic is here to help. Its prototype ‘Wear Space’ blinkers are expressly designed to shutter out unwelcome sounds and sights by forcing the user to employ only 60% of their field of vision which, one would hope, contains their work and nothing else. “As open offices and digital nomads are on the rise, workers are finding it ever more important to have personal space where they can focus,” said a spokesperson. “Wear Space instantly creates this kind of personal space – it’s as simple as putting on an article of clothing.”

Brutalist buildings still dominate the skylines of many of Europe’s inner cities; now, they are moving into the living room. Murals Wallpaper has debuted a new collection of designs celebrating architecture’s most controversial genre, with close-ups of hits including the vaulted ceiling of Washington DC’s metro system and the exterior of the Pinnacle Building in Leeds. Rolls are priced at £36/m2.



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