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Savouring Design — Contemporary Articles of Furniture & Lighting Worth Investing In

From a birch wood armchair created for a sanatorium to a light that snagged a Compasso d’Oro award in Italy, we present a range of furniture and lighting designs that stand the test of time

Sep 20, 2023 | By Joe Lim

Good and timeless designs in the furniture and lighting world resonate with people and design junkies all over the world. These are iconic products that people will remember or would like to own and collect. From their evergreen aesthetics forms to their functionality, here is a pick of furniture and lighting pieces that stand the test of time.

Artek Paimio

Artek “Armchair 41” sits in the Paimio Sanatorium in Finland. Image: Artek.

Artek “Armchair 41”

Alvar Aalto’s “Armchair 41” dubbed the “Paimio” armchair designed for Artek is still recognised as a classic armchair among design heads. Originally created in 1932 for the Paimio Sanatorium — a medical treatment facility set among pine forests near the town of Paimio in southwest Finland — the armchair’s pale wood structure was geared as a healing experience for tuberculosis patients. Aalto chose bent birch wood and lamella for its warm, tactile qualities rather than tubular steel. More so, birch was much easier to clean and maintain. The armchair’s light organic structure was designed to make it easier for patients to breathe. For 2023, Artek has produced a limited and numbered edition of 90 pieces — part of the Paimio Sanatorium Anniversary Collection – where the brand will donate €500 to the Paimio Sanatorium Foundation.  Stocked by W. Atelier, these two iconic furniture pieces from Alvar Aalto certainly stand the test of time and continue to be relevant for our times.

Carl Hansen & Son “Shell” Chair

Carl Hansen & Son Shell chair

Dubbed the “Smile” chair in design circles because of its curved wooden seat structure. Image: Carl Hansen & Son.

The “Shell’ chair, a prominent design icon in the furniture industry, celebrates 60 years of timeless elegance and innovation. Created by renowned Danish designer Hans J. Wegner for Carl Hansen & Sons, this masterpiece exudes a perfect blend of form and function. Crafted with precision, it features a curvaceous moulded plywood shell that embraces the body for supreme comfort. Its minimalist design showcases the beauty of natural materials, with various wood finishes and upholstery options available.

The Shell chair’s enduring appeal lies in its ability to effortlessly complement any interior style, from mid-century modern to contemporary settings. Distributed by Xtra, the 2023 edition is a limited-edition rosewood and oak version. The chair retains the unique double framework which catches the eye from all angles. The striking armchair comes with a black leather cover for the seat. The special edition Shell chair fittingly marks six decades of influence and remains an emblem of Scandinavian design excellence and a coveted addition to any interior space.

Oluce “Atollo” Table Lamp

Oluce Atollo

The black glass finish of the Atollo lighting series. Image: Oluce.

The late Vico Magistretti was a renowned figure in the furniture and lighting scene. One of his most notable designs is the “Atollo” lamp designed in 1977. It snagged the Compasso d’Oro award in 1979, completely revolutionising the way we perceive the classic bedside lamp. The lamp is composed of simple geometric shapes — semi-circle, triangle and rectangle — resulting in a form that is decorative and purposeful all at once. The striking table lamp is now regarded as one of the icons of Italian design.

Oluce Atollo

The 2023 edition – Black Nickel Finish of Atollo lighting series. Image: Oluce.

The luminaire is now offered in metal and glass finishes, and you can opt for three different lamp sizes. In 2023, Oluce introduced the new version of the Atollo lamp in the Satin Black Nickel finish. Stocked at Made&Make, the Atollo clearly stands the test of time as its endearing design will suit many interior environments through the eras and more.

Flexform “Groundpiece” Sofa

Flexform Groundpiece sofa

Flexform’s best-selling sofa by Antonio Citterio – Groundpiece

Designed in 2001, the “Groundpiece” modular sofa designed by Antonio Citterio for Flexform has transformed the way we think about sofa design. It has been the brand’s best-seller since it was conceived. The minimal blocky form has an enduring aesthetic that is pleasing to the eye and caters to many types of interior styles. The sofa is low and deep and catered for a relaxed and casual approach to seating. The amply-sized goose-down cushions provide the utmost comfort and a feeling of being cocooned. Distributed by Flexform Singapore, the updated version is now offered with with new proportions and a padded armrest with upholstery or a cowhide-clad metal console where the flat surface can hold accessories, and provided with shelves to hold all types of objects.

Flos “Captain Flint” Floor lamp

Flos Captain Flint floor lamp

Flos “Captain Flint” floor lamp has an adjustable cone shade. Image: Flos.

Designed by Cypriot designer Michael Anastassiades in 2015 for Flos, the “Captain Flint” floor lamp has become a future classic because of its minimalist design. The floor lamp has an adjustable cone shade that can point up or down. The stem is made from painted steel or brushed brass. You can opt for a white Carrara or black Marquina marble base.

Flos Captain Flint floor lamp

The minimalist form of Captain Flint floor lamp blends into any interior setting. Image: Flos.

Distributed at Space Furniture, the chic and sophisticated design of the lamp serves as both a cosy general lighting and a purposeful reading light. The LED-based light has been used in many of the world’s leading hotels and luxury residences, and even used by renowned furniture brands for their showrooms.

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