Interieur 2010 09.08.11

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A wood stove and a series of hybrid vase-lamps are the joint winners of the grand prize at Interieur, the 22nd Belgian Design Biennale.

German designer Miriam Aust's scientific vase-lamps make a standard flowerpot both more functional and more interesting. The glass vessels "present nature artificially": illuminating the plants' otherwise hidden root structures. The design experiments with "how much a plant can be influenced but still remain natural," says Aust. "I wanted to explore the idea of the living being as material."

Like the vase-lamps, Yanes Wühl's compact wood-burning stove combines more than one function. A door slides to reveal the flames if you just want the cosy atmosphere of an open fire. When closed the stove is 
a slower burning heater. By putting the smoke extraction at the back a flat cast-iron top becomes a place to warm tea 
or cook food. Wühl, a graduate of Swiss design school ECAL, wanted to re-tune a traditional object to suit contemporary homes. He says: "A wood stove is the oldest TV show in the world. It has the power to bring people together and bring a smile to their lips."

The winning projects were picked from a shortlist of 12, drawn from the 220 prototypes that arrived in Kortrijk hoping for a share of the €40,000 prize fund. Entrants had to address the theme of "the new world" and the winners were chosen for their readiness to face the market, "high-recognition factor" and ability to "excite and tease with surprising twists".

The jury included furniture magnate Giulio Cappellini, Nipa Doshi of design studio Doshi Levien, former ECAL director Pierre Keller and Lowie Vermeersch, director of automotive design firm Pininfarina.

Further prizes were awarded for the Red Cross Water Unit by Damien Ummel, a mobile water filter system, and Prostheses and Grafts by architects Marcio Kogan, Alvaro Wolmer and studio mk27: a collection of furniture made from building site materials by construction workers in Brazil. The commended designs overall formed a "collection 
of coherent objects" the jury reported.

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Image

Jan Köhler; Rudy Beyens

 

Words

Riya Patel

quotes story

The design experiments with "how much a plant can be influenced but still remain natural"

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