Most materials in design and architecture have a certain breaking point. But what happens when you experiment on the verge of just that? Here’s how three designs ended up testing the limits of what a material can do.
Björk by VE2 for Dan Dryer | ALUMINIUM
The Björk series has been called a ‘true breakthrough’ in sanitary products as these designs are both elegant and customisable – made for public bathrooms that correspond to the new demand trends. The Björk changing tables especially stand out as each is extruded as a single piece of grade-A aluminium by the extrusion firm Hydro in Tønder, DK.
‘This changing table has been a real challenge to conceive. Our purveyor told us that the front part of the changing table is the biggest piece of aluminium that they have ever been able to extrude. During the extrusion process it’s really hard to make such a big piece of aluminium look smooth, clean and straight when it’s cooled off – but we are very impressed with the outcome. We find it interesting to challenge production procedures like that to accomplish something that has never been made before,’ says VE2 designer Morten Lauritzen.
Lauritzen adds that this minimalistic and clean-cut design was made with public institutions like hospitals in mind; it had to be super easy to clean without compromising the curved pipe-like look that aligns with the rest of the Björk series.
‘In the earlier days, Dan Dryer “swept” their products tightly in casings so they would use as little space as possible. Now, instead of this, we have designed the entire series with a sleek tube-like look to achieve a much cleaner, more elegant appearance. It was a big challenge with the boxy hand dryers and the oblong changing tables and it turned out that we pushed this material as far as it could go. Every time we do this kind of thing we hope that it will end up being worth the effort that was put into it. It’s exciting when the technology sets new limits for what’s possible, as it has done in this instance,’ says Lauritzen.
The remainder of the Björk series offers products made of painted steel and high-pressure laminate and comes in six standard colours along with the option to order custom paint coatings. The simple overall expression in the series is carried by a deliberate processing of the details – i.e. the cabinets are laser cut and the joints are connected with hidden welding.
‘This is the first time ever that Dan Dryer has used external designers and it has ended up with them winning design awards in 2015 and 2017, so we’re very proud to be a part of revitalising this well-versed sanitary solutions company,’ Lauritzen concludes.
The Björk changing table won the reddot ‘Best of the Best’ award in 2017. Check out the entire Björk product line here.
Stingray by T. Pedersen for Fredericia Furniture | PLASTIC & VENEER
Designer of the Stingray chair Thomas Pedersen is best known for his unconventional yet organic designs that truly show through in the audacious lines of the Stingray made for Fredericia Furniture. This rocking chair was created in 2002 as Pedersen’s final exam at the Aarhus School of Design.
In 2008, Fredericia Furniture presented a wooden version of the Stingray, made using the world’s largest 3D-veneer press. This extraordinary technological achievement earned Pedersen and Fredericia the highly acclaimed 2008/2009 Danish Design Prize and a reddot Award in 2008.
For Thomas Pedersen, furniture should be designed, first and foremost, in relation to the human body. Through this belief he has become drawn by the ergonomic freedom of water, which he often implements in a visual expression that resembles his hometown, the harbour city of Aarhus, DK. And the Stingray rocker is no exception, as it offers a 360° choice of seating position to embrace its user with comfort from every angle.
The Stingray sports a bold design, equally daring and unorthodox with a notable reference to the fibreglass chairs of the 1950s. It is constructed using a vacuum mould, rather than heat injection which results in a rock-hard wearing, and it has a sophisticated matt or glossy finish covering the outside of the chair. The frame is constructed without any transverse lines or seams, so as to accentuate the chair’s floating appearance.
Bølgen by Henning Larsen Architects for Bertel Nielsen | STEEL
The significant Henning Larsen-drawn ‘Bølgen’ – ‘The Wave’ in English – is a modern landmark located just outside Skyttehusbugten along Vejle Fjord. It has a beautiful promenade set in front of the building and the marina as its closest neighbour.
This distinctive housing development consists of five waving façades covered in glazed tiles. Each wave stores nine floors with 20 individual residences in sizes varying from 97 to 198 m² and a penthouse apartment covering two floors with a total of 255 m².
Danish aluminium and steel company Sjølund is delivering the rolled beams for Bølgen’s construction. This company has more than 80 years’ experience in the Danish metal industry and it is no coincidence that they were chosen to carry out this task.
‘We are known for making the unimaginable happen. That’s why we are the only ones to call when a job seems impossible to solve. From our perspective, there’s nothing we can’t handle and Bølgen in Vejle is no exception. The steel beams for the bearing structure are made using machines that only exist in a very limited number worldwide – and these are operated only by the most talented personnel,’ says Sjølund CEO Søren Ravn Jensen.
At the time of writing the construction of four out of five waves is complete. The last wave is estimated to be ready for occupation sometime in 2018. Bølgen received the prestigious LEAF Award in 2010 for Best Multiple Occupancy and the Civic Trust Award in 2011.