Cultured Magazine

Summer 2013

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Site Specific This year, W Hotels asked its Designers of the Future to visit its properties and offer design solutions. Get to know these innovators before they make their Basel debut. BY JANELLE ZARA Bethan Laura Wood Bethan Laura Wood in Mexico Jon Stam viewing Imaginary Museum, one of his recent works. Jon Stam Jon Stam's focus since founding Commonplace, his three-year-old Amsterdam-based design firm, has been connecting the familiar and tactile with ever-advancing new technologies. His Imaginary Museum, for example, an invention for a 2011 Milan exhibition by Belgian gallery z33, infused a favorite childhood toy with a digital twist. Stam hacked the much-loved Viewmaster to play gifs, films and other digital sundries hand-picked by various artists and designers, rather than its regular inanimate slides. However, "I'm not necessarily only working with new technologies," Stam says. "I see myself as a craftsman who is working with traditional materials, but I'm very interested in how this combines with technology." The Canadian designer arrived in the Netherlands in 2006, having left his native Toronto to attend the prestigious Design Academy Eindhoven. Stam's design for Design Miami/Basel will later be installed at W's forthcoming ski lodge in Verbier, Switzerland. Seung-Yong Song Seung-Yong Song; at right, his Dami furniture collection. 70 CULTURED Seung-Yong Song, a graduate of École Supérieure d'Art et de Design de Reims and the founder of Seoul-based practice Sy Design, is likely best known for his forward-thinking ability to see beyond an object's day-to-day use. An ordinary chair, for example, has a greater potential than just offering a place to sit; with a little design ingenuity, a seatback can double as a ladder, a light fixture, a shelf or an overhead storage unit, as Song's 2011 Objet series demonstrates. And the grid-like aesthetic of Song's CNC-cut Dami furniture was borrowed from the traditional Korean grill. Song's stylish reinventions have been shown throughout the world, from London to Busan; the next stop after Basel is the newly opened W Bangkok. PHOTOS COURTESY W HOTELS ©; ANTONY LYCETT (WOOD) It's quite easy to spot Bethan Laura Wood in a crowd; the Londonbased designer is typically swathed in fabrics of various patterns with the brightly painted cheeks of a harlequin. This identifiable, collage-driven aesthetic is as apparent in her work as it is in her wardrobe, as her 2012 Spaghetti Junction collection demonstrates. Through color and pattern, the series of tables presents the traditional art of marquetry through a fresh lens. The wooden surfaces combine Elizabethan collars, Aztec peacocks, Pierrot clowns and sugar-coated Deco architecture. Further, the tables stack and interlock to create a modular domestic sculpture. Wood founded her own design firm the year she graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2009. As a specialist in furniture, jewelry and ceramics, she cites Ettore Sottsass as a source of inspiration. Today she's part of Milan gallery Nilufar's roster of designers, which includes one-time RCA mentor Martino Gamper. After Design Miami/Basel, Wood's W-commissioned design heads to the brand's newly renovated Mexico City location.

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