Simple and elegant. Two words that you would often relate to Danish design. And with simple often comes elementary. But what if the shelves in a shelving system could be put exactly where you would like them to be, or if a table could come in exactly the size you want, and on that table you could create exactly the pattern you want out of trivets? In this article, we look at modular designs that were each developed to fit the specific user needs.
SHELVING SYSTEM: a design by MOEBE
At the Copenhagen-based design brand MOEBE, they always strive for simplicity. As they say: the world is complex enough already. When designing the SHELVING SYSTEM, it was important for the design team at MOEBE to create something modular, to cover the user’s functional needs.
“One of the primary reasons behind building for modularity is to give the user the possibility to form their own design, from simple design principles. In that way, the user can ultimately decide how the product is going to look within the framework of their system”, says architect and director at MOEBE Martin D. Christensen
To do that, the team at MOEBE came up with an idea to use the function of a wedge as the main constructional element in the system. This gives a new dimension to the functional element, the construction and also to the aesthetics of the design.
“We wanted to exploit the function of the wedge as a stabilizing element horizontally, but also to try and let it have a carrying function vertically. In that way, the shelves don’t have to be placed in predetermined steps, and instead the user can choose exactly where to put the shelves. This also adds to the aesthetics of the design, which becomes very honest. We always base our design on the construction of the product and let it become a part of the expression”, says Martin D. Christensen.
The SHELVING SYSTEM is designed so that the user can choose the size and width of the furniture.
“We made some clear choices when designing for modularity, whereby the shelves come in one length and the legs come in two different heights. With these very simple elements, it is possible to build as tall as you wish and as wide as you want just by adding extra legs and shelves and fixing them with the wedges”, Martin D. Christensen states.
ATTACH: a design by GRUMDESIGN produced by LAMMHULTS
Troels Grum-Schwensen likes to work with a simple but modular design. With a background in architecture, his vision with the ATTACH table was to make a table design that could fit each specific room and space, right down to the centimetre, and without needing lots of different parts or stabilizing elements. This ambition has now been turned into an award-winning table.
“The idea behind the table system ATTACH was to actually repeal the use of modules. That is achieved by employing a very simple but sophisticated construction where a cast aluminium leg is put on the two long aprons that hold up the table, but without using a single tool. When the table is turned over and the table top rests on the legs, natural downforce is the only thing needed to stabilize the table”, tells Troels Grum, Designer at GRUMDESIGN.
This system creates the airy and light aesthetic that the table has, while at the same time creating a table system that can come in any size.
“In this way, the size of the table can be customized exactly to the needs of the user, right down to the centimetre. The user is brought into the design from the very first step in the design process. People feel better in a room where furniture is carefully made to fit the room, and the user does with ATTACH by having a variety of options to tailor the table, in terms of the size, format and surfaces”, says Troels Grum.
However, the process of designing the table was not just done in a single period, from one day to the next.
“It was developed through an ongoing process over many years as an evolution to unite functionality and aesthetics in the final table”, says Troels Grum.
A lot of effort has gone in to the table design. For instance, creating a table that doesn’t need transverse stabilizers is just one of the design solutions that needed careful attention over a long period. But in this case, the patience and perseverance have paid off as the table has taken home a number of awards for its innovative design since it was launched in 2016.
Origami, Hexagon, and Triangle Trivets: a design by VE2, produced by Zone Denmark
The design trio in VE2 also strive to create simple, aesthetic and long-lasting design solutions. Working close together with Zone Denmark to create a series of trivets, they have done exactly that while adding a modular aspect to something that you would not normally think of as modular.
“It was essential for us to leave the opportunity to the user to add both aesthetic and functional value by creating larger patterns with the dining table, which is often the centre of the family home. This is not just where the family eats, but also where they talk, play, do homework and in general where a lot of the family activities are centred around. We hope that the trivets can become a permanent decorative element instead of a practical necessity”, says Morten Lauritzen, Designer and Partner at VE2.
As for the Hexagon and Triangle design, they went for a 2D design, that, in the hands of the user, can turn into the most colourful and exciting combinations.
“We decided to work with three elements: repetition, optic illusion and colour. Elements that could add aesthetic value to the product without impacting the cost of production”, says Morten Lauritzen.
By working with silicon, they found a production method that could modulate the material into 3D shapes. That’s when they began to develop the design for Origami.
“It was important for us to reduce the amount of material used to produce the trivets. This pointed us in the direction of the ancient folding techniques of origami. Apart from that, it was important for us in the design process that the patterns of the trivets were repeatable, so that there was an opportunity to create a larger, dynamic and decorative composition of the dining table”, says Morten Lauritzen.
The silicon is certified to handle temperatures from -20 °C to 250 °C.