PaulSmith_Chair_StockholmMixing old pieces with new technology here are a few examples of the way designers have updated traditional pieces in a non traditional way.

Shown at Stockholm Furniture Fair 2010 Paul Smith has taken a series of wood frame chairs and recovered them with stunning floral digital prints. We’re used to seeing this kind of “brown” furniture upholstered in floral damasks of different eras. The fabric not necessarily matching the era of the furniture. They’re the inherited pieces passed down or sold on for the next owner to recover in their own way. Smith has just done exactly this, but in an exaggerated form. Detailed, close shot, naturalistic images with saturated colour as opposed to the stylised rather more dainty fabrics of old. 



Reglo by Sophie Hedderwick. Having majored in both weave and experimental textiles Hedderwick’s work  reinvents traditional pieces by combining ancient techniques of weaving with sophisticated new material.  “it is an ancient art that can be endlessly re-invented and interpreted to produce new and exciting forms, although a 2D craft it can be rendered as almost sculptural in form depending on the materials used.  My work is now a fusion of the 2 disciplines. In the last 5 years I developed this experimentation further using wire with lights which adds another dimension to the weave. Also in this project I am weaving off-loom which is a challenge for any weaver. The idea was to produce a new weave structure that was strong enough to sit on without using a traditional woven seat style” .Using reclaimed vintage chairs Hedderwick has  re-woven the seat base with bright electo-luminescent wires that light up for 5,000 hours. New work currently in development will be shown in Milan this year at Designersblock at Zona Isola  


Richard Hutten -Playing with tradition for I+I Milanshown at Object Rotterdam 2010. Richard has taken a complex Persian rug design and stretched the pattern out. Prior to computers we’d find this quite a shocking treatment of the design.  Now we’re all used to whizzing down a web page and dragging the pixels along with us, it doesn’t seem peculiar at all.  

“For already many years I had the idea to do something with traditional oriental carpets. I have an antique Persian carpet at my home, which I still find the best carpets to have. The idea behind the carpet was to build a bridge between the old and the new, east meets west. From this starting point I looked at various ways to give a reinterpretation.

In my previous work I also used existing forms which I than reinterpret. For the carpet I did research in the various patterns available. Than I came up with the idea to stretch the carpet a certain point. I found out it’s very important where to start the stretching. On the traditional side I kept the fringes, on the contemporary side I made a clear cut.”


Lehanneur_Portemanteau_2Portmanteau After Thonet by  Mathieu Lehanneur. Mathieu has taken a familiar coat stand and gone a little wild with the hangers. I’m  guessing but the advantage over the original may be that it can hold a little more. I seem to remember my parents old fashioned version was always so completely covered,you wouldn’t know what was under the mass of coats. Its certainly a witty remake of a familiar piece and I hope it will go into production. Apologies for the photo, I think I was a little phased out by Maison Objet at this point and as it is a proto-type I can’t find better images at the moment.

One thought on “Reinvention

  1. trendoffice

    Reinventing is just a part of a good designers work:)
    The problem is that not always the reinvented objects are better than the originals. The positive of most reinventions is that they often give ideas for thought.


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