Trentino Collaborations launches with Max Lamb chair showcasing 14 stone-carving techniques
London Design Festival 2016: British designer Max Lamb worked with experts from Italy's mountainous Trentino region to produce the monolithic Campione chair (+ slideshow).
The chair is part of Trentino Collaborations, a new initiative pairing British designers with Trentino-based manufacturers to create cutting-edge works. It will launch at this month's London Design Fair.
The initiative also sees Sebastian Cox working with softwood for the first time, Giles Miller making his first foray into natural stone tiles, and Lucy Kurrein designing a leather sofa inspired by punching bags.
Crafted together with granite specialists Pedretti Graniti, Lamb's chair is made from a slab of tonalite rock.
Lamb – whose recent work includes black basalt tableware – named the chair Campione for its double meaning in Italian: champion and sample.
The chair serves as a "sample" for the range of techniques practiced by collaborator Pedretti Graniti. It contains examples of four-axis wire saw cutting, lettering, circular saw cutting, polishing, CNC milling, honing, core drilling, sand blasting, edge profiling, flaming, feather and wedge splitting, bush hammering, chiselling and cleaving.
The other three designers also worked with a Trentino-based manufacturer to develop their pieces after they were brought together by the London Design Fair.
"This is a significant project to launch in our tenth year because its core – connecting designers with manufacturers – is something we've always done," said London Design Fair founder and director Jimmy MacDonald. "Relationships are fundamental to us."
Cox worked with custom furniture makers Arte Del Legno on his piece, a cabinet called Trentino Storage.
Although he is known for his crafted wood products, the collaboration marked Cox's first use of softwood.
The cabinet is made from hazel and larch wood with woven basket details based on an intertwining technique typical to the Trentino valleys.
"I wanted to capture the materials and craft of the region in a functional piece that was easy and low-impact to transport," said Cox. "Trentino Storage is a modular and adaptable unit that features simple shelves and wall baskets for playful and functional storage."
Miller – who often uses tiles in his designs – developed two pieces with Euro Perfidy, a 39-year-old company working with natural stone.
The Stipple Screen is made up of a number of stone tiles stacked on wires, like a vertical abacus. The tiles can be individually rotated to create varying patterns and effects.
Miller also created a marquetry system using porphyry rock tiles in contemporary patterns. The specific colour and composition can be tailored by the user.
Punching bags that "radiate durability and craftsmanship" inspired Kurrein's leather sofa designs, created together with Molinari. The bulging Rondo armchair and sofa feature the company's leatherworking techniques.
"The legs compress into the upholstery to emphasise the soft structure, inviting the user to wrap their arms around it as boxers do," she said. "We have chosen the best quality, thick leather to echo the heavy-duty nature of the punch bag."
Trentino Collaborations is part of the London Design Fair, which runs from 22 to 25 September 2016 at East London's Old Truman Brewery, during the London Design Festival. This year's fair will feature 15 country pavilions, 250 independent designers and 200 global brands.