Beautiful Meets Functional

By Lauren Tighe

The world is getting smaller and smaller not physically but digitally. We can more or less explore a whole universe from our computer window. As we explore we see different ideas and multiple creative endeavors. This all begins to meld. We are no longer driven by a Euro/USA/Western aesthetic, but far more a global coming together. We have been celebrating this idea this month at .Cent with our theme hybrid. It’s wonderful to share in ‘Beautiful Meets Functional’ how the new visual exchange is being seen in furniture design, where customs and cultures meld with designs for the home.

Throughout Indian Culture, furniture is deeply ingrained in the ornate craftsmanship and detail that goes into it. The design, so detailed that the furniture becomes a work of art, whilst remaining functional.The design curation company, Scarlet Splendour, has brought together craftsmanship and functionality. The company was launched by siblings, Ashish Bajoria and Suman Kanodia, at Spazio Rossana Orlandi, during Milan Design Week 2015. The siblings grew up in Kolkata, India and over the last six years they have worked with renowned designers that are inspired by Indian aesthetics.

Scarlet Splendour Teatro Showrooms

Scarlet Splendour takes their love of bygone eras, bold colour pallets, and Indian culture to create this dramatic, eccentric collection of furniture. The furniture both being functional and beautiful, are works of art in themselves. Each setting in their Teatro Scarlett Kolkata showroom is like a performance, starring bold furniture in vibrant colours and opulent craftsmanship.

Scarlet Splendour Teatro Showrooms

The extravagant designs are reminiscent of Art Nouveau or the Italian Radical Design movement, using exquisite detail and artistry with vibrant colours and unusual design, evoking decadence. The detail and quirky design, brings to mind, the likes of Phillip Stark. Their range boasts collaborations with seven renowned talented designers; each of whom interprets the signature of the brand with uniqueness and consistency.

Scarlet Splendour Teatro Showrooms

Experience the adventurous moods of natural surroundings with their ‘Forest’ collection, co-created with Marcantonio. Hues of lush blues and greens are contrasted with deep black lacquered cabinets, open them to reveal a dazzling golden interior.

Scarlet Splendour Teatro Showrooms

Add some ‘Animagic’ to your lounge with one of Matteo Cibic’s cabinet characters. These surreal, humanistic animals, exude elegance, appropriately dressed in suits. Each character has exquisite detailing, from pinstriped shirts and decorative shoulder pads, down to the last button; providing an odd mix of humour, luxury, and utility.

Scarlet Splendour Teatro Showrooms

Elena Salmistraro’s collection ‘I Danzatori’ embodies the movements of ethnic dance. Salmistraro takes inspiration from classical dances of India and the grandeur of the dancer’s costumes. The contemporary design style leaves viewers mesmerized, as expressive details are captured with geometric nuances. Pops of green complement the sculptural shapes, creating a play of shadow and light, perfecting a sculptural, yet functional collection.

Scarlet Splendour Teatro Showrooms

Nika Zupanc invites you into a constellation of luxe plush and glimmering furniture, using gold and copper tones and luxurious rose, blue, and violet. The name ’88 Secrets’ is inspired by the 88 star constellations in the universe. The luxurious textures and dusky hues will make you feel like you’re a character in ‘The Great Gatsby’.

Scarlet Splendour Teatro Showrooms

Zupanc’s poetic collection ‘Strings’, reinforces the glamour and luxe of ’88 Secrets’. She uses dark plum hues and beautiful gilded metal ‘strings’ to create cabinets and tables that on appearance, seem delicate and intricate (like strings), but are in fact tough and beautiful. The light dapples and shimmers differently across these pieces with every glance, bringing grandeur and opulence to anyone’s lounge.  

Scarlet Splendour Teatro Showrooms

Chinese furniture design is also beginning to look back towards its roots. Since the mid-1990s there has been the progression of the movement ‘New Chinese Design’, which is a revival of craftsmanship, drawing inspiration from traditional Chinese furniture.

‘Flat Space N01’ 2014 Song Tao from China Design Centre.

Song Tao is one of these designers. Tao believes that the purpose of design is its combination of traditional form with contemporary culture. In 2002 he founded ‘Self-made Company’ which advocates and aims to restore the essence of classic Chinese aesthetics.

‘Bamboo Accent Table’ 2014 Song Tao from China Design Centre.

Song Tao’s ‘Modern Fossils’ series questions the very concept of time. He combines bronze shaped like bamboo with old wood and amber fossils encased in plastic. The bamboo represents the vitality and strength of youth, the old wood and amber fossils encased in plastic represent the solidification of time.

Studio MVW ‘Blooming’ Limited edition lighting

There are even advancements in interiors drawing inspiration from two historical styles of craftsmanship, coming together. For example, Studio MVW, the dynamic duo of the French architect Virginie Moriette and Chinese designer Xu Ming. These diverse talented pair bring the two cultures’ influences in art and craftsmanship together with perfect harmony, whilst showcasing their love of precious materials.

Studio MVW ‘Blooming’ Limited edition lighting

Their ‘Blooming’ series elegantly reimagines the historic Ming vase with a contrast of straight lines and curves that open up or ‘bloom’. Presenting these historical elements in a Neo-Postmodern context.

TOTO are a Japanese hygiene specialist company, which are embarking on a ‘Cleanovation’ (Clean Innovation). In fact, Japanese culture places a very high value on being clean and tidy, similar to the phrase in Western Culture “Cleanliness is close to Godliness”, the same spiritual connection is made in Japan, however with more frequent cleaning routines. For example, students have to help clean schools every day after study.

TOTO Asymmetrical delicate washbasin

Furthermore, Japan is known around the world for its advancement in technology, scientific research, and medical research. Japan may well be leading the way when it comes to technology and hygiene. At this year’s ISH 2021 trade event TOTO will unveil its latest innovations.

TOTO Washlet and Basin

Perhaps you need some further inspiration? Or maybe the final touches of décor? We recommend exploring what ‘The Future Perfect’ has to offer. Their range of lighting is truly exquisite, among other things. They work with a range of designers, similarly to Scarlet Splendour, and they also embrace the idea of maximalism over minimalism. You can find out more on their website Here.  

‘Totem II’ by Lindsey Adelman, The Future Perfect site.

The Totem collection is a set of three pieces, made using glass, wood, brass, and porcelain. Lindsey Adelman is a multidiciplinery lighting artist, whos work has grown to include jewelery, tiles, furniture and wallpaper. Her Totem series embody this element of futuristic vertical sculpture and are remeniscent of Native American art like totem poles and dreamcatchers.

To find out more about Scarlette Splendor you visit their website Here. If you want to learn more about TOTO’s innovative designs and the Tokyo Toilet Project click Here. For information about ISH (the event hosting TOTO) click Here. To find out more about ‘New Chinese Design’ click Here. To explore more of Song Tao’s designs you can visit the China Design Centre website Here. Images of Studio MVW’s ‘Blooming’ series have been sourced Here. To discover more of their works click Here. If you have enjoyed reading ‘Beautiful Meets Functional’ you might also enjoy reading ‘Floored’ Here.