Somewhere between furniture and interior, Raw Edges' series of "islands" makes imaginative use of kitchen worktop material Caesarstone. Shay Alkalay, one half of the design duo, explains
What was your starting point?
Kitchens are the main business for Caesarstone, so we wanted to stay within that environment. After doing a bit of research, we saw a very clear trend. Modern kitchens look quite similar: all very clean and minimalist, with everything hidden away. Magazines and catalogues make kitchens look like you're not supposed to use them, but the
reality is much more lively. Why can't kitchens be more playful, like tables and chairs?
So your idea was to rethink the kitchen from scratch?
We thought, why not start with the worktop? Use it as the core of the installation and create this A-shape monolith with it. Then we made slots in the surface for interlocking with all the kitchen units. We wanted to show off the different functions of a kitchen and not hide them. And of course, to play with colours and materials. Our work is all quite playful – tactile and colourful. That's something we wanted to keep.
Ping pong table
And the other islands?
Then we thought OK, let's just expand it to all the different areas in the domestic environment. The next one was a bathtub. And then a ping pong table. And a table with building blocks for a kids' area, and one with fishbowls just for pleasure. We thought about the mixture of ways we use a living environment. All are the same A-shaped monolith with two angled legs and a top surface.
Islands was first shown at IDS in Toronto. What will be different in Milan?
In Toronto, the islands were just for display – apart from the ping pong table, which people were playing on constantly. Now we want to make all the monoliths work.
Will we see Islands go into production?
The tricky bit about this really is that it's not going to be a commercial product. It's not like designing a chair for Moroso. Constraints can really guide you in a process and here we're playing, almost pretending that we have a real user. But at the same time, if someone really wanted to have it, they would be able to.
What else will you show in Milan this year?
A rug collection for the Italian company Golran. It will be shown in the Fiera and also in the same space as Islands. We've been asked to design rugs before but it's been a bit of an issue for us – it's basically graphic design whereas we are always thinking in terms of volume. This project is exciting as we've come up with a kind of three-dimensional rug that looks different from different angles. It's quite experimental. We're also presenting projects with Moroso, Dedon and for French company Moustache. And a blue version of Stack for Established and Sons.
Do you get any time to enjoy Milan while you are there? Do you enjoy it?
No, we don't get time to see anything! But I love Milan. I think it's great. It's exhausting, and every year people are complaining. But they all still go so that must say something.
Palazzo Clerici, Via Clerici 5