Archive for the ‘furniture’ Category

Torggler doors

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Klemens Torggler door evolution

Two brilliant, beautiful door designs by Klemens Torggler. Above is the Evolution; below is the Stahltür. They work on a similar principle.

I find the doors so beautiful that to some extent questions about practicality seem a bit irrelevant, but let’s deal with those first. One architect asked what design problem the doors solve. The answer is perhaps that they avoid the space-inefficient arc of a swing door on the one hand, and the functional and maintenance problems posed by sliding door tracks on the other. While they are perhaps not as space efficient as sliding doors embedded in a wall, it’s a fact that good sliding doors are costly and time-consuming to install after the fact. I’ve done it and it’s a pain; you have to remove a lot of drywall, turn the studs on edge, install (which can be finicky) and re-drywall. Whilte it’s true that you can install sliding doors on the face of a wall (ie. a “barn door”), that too requires tracks and/or hangers. The Torggler doors avoid all of that hardware and setup. I’m unclear how difficult these would be to install, not to mention fix once the hinges or articulating folds break down, they look as if they have few parts.

The doors are probably not particularly soundproof without the addition of a door frame. Also, with the Stahltür’s almost medieval clang you could hardly creep in or out of the bedroom quietly. It’s as if there might be a knight on the other side when you open it. Or a dragon, or a dungeon.

Another reaction was “hopeless for children,” but then before a certain age children can’t reach door handles either. And if we’d had this in the house when I was a kid I’d have been profoundly impressed.

Quite apart from the basic function question, I would say that aesthetic pleasure and wonder are an important function too.  The beauty of this object at rest and in motion never gets boring. And how often is it that we see a familiar object like a door reconsidered in an entirely new way? This was a bit like seeing a Delorean open for the first time, but far more magical and arguably more practical.

The Evolution alternately reminds me of the slow wing flap of manta rays, Japanese origami, or actual magic.

I’d love to have both of these doors. My first thought was a wish my mathematician father were still alive to see them.

Friend and architectural photographer Krista Jahnke first told me about these.


Protected: Interpretation of Enzo Mari’s Sedia Chair by Russell Baker, Bombast Furniture

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

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Protected: Enzo Mari’s classic 1970s chair modified by artists and designers – Presentation House Gallery auction

Friday, November 15th, 2013

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Eileen Gray – Transat Chair

Sunday, April 7th, 2013

Transat Chair, by Eileen Gray. Paris, France, 1926


Superb modern chair by Eileen Gray, featured in a Guardian list this this week. It’s the Transat Chair (1925-30).

“The Transat chair is from the late 1920s, when Marcel Breuer, Le Corbusier and Charlotte Perriand were forging in tubular steel assertive icons of the machine age. Transat, with its spare timber frame and graceful curve of fabric, had more subtle ambitions. Gray, as her collaborator Jean Badovici said, was concerned with the “new ways of feeling” that came with their times, rather than with mass production. Transat – which is short for “transatlantique” – translates a deckchair from an ocean liner into a piece of indoor furniture. It is poised but relaxing, and came in pony skin and patent leather versions, among others.”


The Bridge – TV show set on both sides of bridge between Copenhagen, Denmark & Malmö, Sweden

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

Oresund Bridge

I guess it’s becoming evident that I watch a lot of Scandinavian television. The Bridge (or Bron/Broen as it’s know in Scandinavia, meaning “bridge” in Swedish and Danish) follows a long murder investigation launched when a body—or, as it turns out, parts of two bodies assembled as one—is found in the middle of the Øresund Bridge that links Sweden and Denmark. In fact, the bisected body parts are carefully placed either side of the exact boundary between the two countries. Two detectives, one Swedish and one Danish, take the lead in the investigation. What follows is, among other things, an extended tour of Copenhagen and Malmö.

If you can ignore the increasingly common trope of the sexually attractive, socially and psychologically impaired, and intellectually brilliant female sleuth teamed up with a crusty male sidekick (Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, The Killing, Homeland), you might find the show’s setting and narrative arc interesting.

I’m only concentrating on exteriors and interiors because this is after all a design blog and for any designer it’s hard to ignore the architecture, urban planning and interiors in Bron/Broen. It’s also enjoyable to see the sheer amount of IKEA involved; I have those water glasses. Do Danish detectives have better design sense than North American detectives do? Well, obviously.

It’s notable that there are only eight high-rise towers in all of Scandinavia, and most of them not very tall. There are only two in Sweden—one in Stockholm and the one in Malmö. Featured repeatedly in The Bridge, it’s Santiago Calatrava’s white Turning Torso. It’s Scandinavia, so it’s quality without quantity; the opposite of what we do in Vancouver.

The Bridge (Bron/Broen) Kim Bodnia as Det. Martin Rohde

Kim Bodnia as Danish detective Martin Rohde in his house, with son.

The Bridge (Bron/Broen) Sofia Helin as Det. Saga Noren

Sofia Helin as Saga Norén, Swedish detective from Malmö, Sweden, in Martin Rohde’s house in Copenhagen

The Bridge (Bron/Broen) Sofia Helin as Saga Norén - screenshot

The Bridge (Bron/Broen) driveway, Danish house

The Bridge (Bron/Broen) exterior of house, Copenhagen

The Bridge (Bron/Broen) Danish house exterior, with Kim Bodnia

The Bridge (Bron/Broen) Danish wooden house

The Bridge (Bron/Broen) Danish living room kitchen

The Bridge (Bron/Broen) Turning Torson by Santiago Calatrava

The Bridge (Bron/Broen) Turning Torso by Santiago Calatrava, night

Calatrava's Turning Torso, Malmo Sweden

The Bridge (Bron/Broen) ocean and city

The Bridge (Bron/Broen) titles - Copenhagen's Little Mermaid

Statue of The Little Mermaid in Copenhagen harbour. Vancouver’s Girl in a Wetsuit, located in Stanley Park, is an homage to the Danish original.

Borgen, popular political drama set in Copenhagen

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013


Borgen is a Danish political drama sent in Copenhagen. Despite being a subtitled Danish show loosely based on complicated domestic Danish political events, it grew to unexpected popularity throughout Europe. Its protagonist is a prime minister attempting to hold together a fragile ruling coalition and trying to mitigate the ruination of her personal life. A central difficulty in the narrative is, not surprisingly, that the corporate media controls & often cripples political life. Journalists, who figure prominently, move seamlessly back and forth between paid political spin doctor and newscaster. What’s different about this show is that in both fields, politics and journalism, the main character is female.

Borgen also provides a window into Danish interior and urban design.

It was nice to see Danish modern in the formal political offices amidst the classical architecture. There are two Poul Henningsen Artichoke lamps in the prime minister’s office, extremely striking if it you’re not used to seeing them in a TV sequence. Or over a head of state.

Copenhagen proper with a population of 1.2 million is about twice the size of Vancouver but its metro area, at 1.9 million, makes it ultimately smaller. The city  contains no highrises and a dense concentration of low rises, old and new. Not unlike Vancouver it is land-limited, cut by water and criss-crossed by bridges. The largest of these bridges links the city to Malmo, Sweden. (See following post on The Bridge.)

Borgen -Poul Henningson artichoke lamp

Danish TV show Borgen

Borgen - kitchen at Marienborg

By the way, “Borgen is produced by DR, the Danish public broadcaster that has also produced another international Danish hit series, The Killing.” The Killing has been remade for the American market, set in Seattle but shot in Vancouver (on my block and in my immediate neighbourhood).

Borgen - view of Copenhagen over bridges