Mingardo

SCALTRA ladder light_design by Barbara Schweizer.jpg

Italian metalwork brand Mingardo brings the magic back with a covetable collection of homewares

BY SOPHIE DAVIES

A storage ladder that doubles as a light. A bike stand that wouldn't be out of place in a church. A fruit bowl that looks like a cool car part... There's an element of surprise about Italian brand Mingardo, which has curated a collection of covetable metal homewares with a dash of magic. 

Based in the small, historic town of Monselice, near Padua and Venice, Mingardo's back story is intriguing too, with this metalwork company revived by Italian welder Daniele Mingardo in 2013. Once the 40-year-old family firm focussed on traditional metal pieces, but son Daniele saw an opportunity to combine time-honed skills with more contemporary forms, inspired by his time in the workshop where he started aged 18. 'My father always told me, "If you need something, do it with iron!" The passion for iron and the concreteness of things drives me.'

ABOVE: Barbara Schweizer's iron 'Scaltra' portable clothes or towel rack for Mingardo, backlit with atmospheric LEDs
RIGHT: Italian welder Daniele Mingardo founded the new brand in 2013, building on his family firm's metalworks legacy, with collections drawing on traditional methods
BELOW: The elegant brass 'Bi-track' bike stand by Masanori Mori, a simple line with a soft light at the end designed to weather with time

ABOVE: The arcing iron and brass 'Centro' table, and brass 'Separè' multi-use rack, anchored at the base, both by design duo Omri Revesz and Damian Tatangelo

The result is a compact collection of luxe, hand-wrought furniture, lighting and accessories in which metals – from iron to copper and brass – shine, with an emphasis on craftsmanship, details and surface finishes. Produced in Mingardo's own workshop, they're proof that even the most old-school industries can find new direction, even if it's at a considerably higher price tag.

Hand-crafted homewares include small tables and stools, dividing screens and towel racks, and accessories from mirrors to trays, fruit bowls to trivets, and candleholders to charming indoor 'candle lamps'. Sure, the softly illuminated bike rack errs on the side of glamour, but it's functional too. And while pieces may have an industrial look, it's a clean, chic, minimal one, teamed with wood and glass, that's a far cry from the hefty candelabra of yore.

ABOVE: Accessories include the brass 'Elementa' fruit bowl and copper, brass or inox 'Folio' candleholders, both by Antigone Acconci and Riccardo Bastiani; Small furniture spans the 'Fabrica' stool in varnished or burnished iron by Revesz & Tatangelo, and 'Satin' side table by Chiara Andreatti in matt or varnished iron, covered with a brass or copper sheet

Production is local, with a healthy dose of Italian designers on board, from Barbara Schweizer to Chiara Andreatti, Antigone Acconci and Riccardo Bastiani. New-generation global names contributing to the design pool include Japanese-born Masanori Mori, US/Greece-based Objects of Common Interest, Israeli Omri Revesz and Australian Damian Tatangelo (the label has recently been launched in Sydney and Melbourne at Hub's showrooms). So if you thought metalwork was all dodgy old Gothic cast-iron beds, window bars and irons in the fire (literally), then think again. Mingardo is its gleaming modern face...
mingardo.com

ABOVE: Revesz & Tantangelo's dual-purpose 'Separè' design is a portable clothes or towel rack when open or becomes a seductive space divider when enclosed with a light, semi-transparent fabric frame; Made from dark matt iron with brass or copper details, indoor candle-lamp 'Sera Clamp', by Aldo Parisotto and Massimo Formenton, clamps to a table

Mingardo is available in Australia from Hub or see website for international stockists

Studio Davidpompa

Mexican design is having a moment and somehow it feels sooo now...

BY DEE IVA

Studio Davidpompa is a young Mexican design company launched in 2008 by David Pompa Alarcón that uses traditional materials and techniques to create contemporary lighting and tiling collections.

The Fizz is particularly taken with its glossy black ‘Rajo’ tile, a raised 3D design that bounces light around its geometric surface. The shiny black clay tiles are handmade by Mexican artisans skilled in the ancestral craft of Barro Negro from Oaxaca, which specialises in the production of black polished pottery. 

This beautiful black clay is also present in sleek pendant lights. ’Can’ oozes dark glamour while ‘Minimal’ and ‘Vitrif’ add warm copper to raise the luxe factor. 

Finally, the decorative art of talavera has also been brought to the fore on the pretty ‘Hielo’ pendant with its intricate cobalt blue patterning. Talavera caught our attention earlier this year with the arrival of the first collection from Maison Numen, another South American design house (see our post here). To see it twice in one year is surprising. It marks the stirrings of a new era of modern South American design and from what we’ve seen so far it’s very welcome indeed…
davidpompa.com

ABOVE: Back to black with the geometric 'Rajo' tiles
ABOVE RIGHT: We love the glossy black 'Can' and blue and white 'Hielo' pendants
BELOW FROM LEFT: 'Minimal' and 'Vitrif' mix it up with copper

'Rajo' tiles, €539 per m2, 'Can' pendant light €169, 'Minimal' pendant light €229, 'Vitrif' pendant light €219, 'Hielo' pendant light €329

Astep

We're completely entranced by a new lamp by Astep that charges your phone via a single flickering flame. Sounds too far-fetched? Read on...

BY DEE IVA

We like to think there’s still magic to be found in the design industry every now and then. Things that shouldn’t work, products that shouldn’t be possible, installations that confound. Well, new Danish lighting company Astep has us under its spell with ‘Candela’, a clever table lamp by Argentinian designer Francisco Gomez Paz (right).

We spotted 'Candela' in April at the Palazzo Litta during this year's Milan Furniture Fair. At first it looked like an old-fashioned gas lamp with its soft flickering flame glowing hypnotically above an opaline glass lampshade. Closer inspection revealed it used bioethanol, a clean natural fuel derived from plants, to create the flame which generates its own electricity, powering LED lights within the shade and also handy for charging mobile devices via an inbuilt USB port.

ABOVE AND BELOW: 'Candela' table lamp by Francisco Gomez Paz, €530 + VAT. Available to pre-order now.

It’s the first product from Astep, whose founder Alessandro Sarfatti is descended from grandfather Gino Sarfatti, founder of iconic Italian lighting company Arteluce, and father Riccardo Sarfatti, founder of Luceplan.

From what we’ve seen it’s a bold and creative design that carries on the legacy of those two stellar brands. Innovative yet approachable, ‘Candela’ melds old world aesthetics with hi-tech 21st century technology, continuing in the tradition of elegant Scandinavian flame luminaries. This is what we want, right here, right now…
astep.design

Foscarini

An old Scottish pattern has been transformed into a modern lighting fixture for Italian lighting brand Foscarini

BY DEE IVA

Ah tartan… The very thought of it makes us think of blankets, biscuit tins, scarves and, of course, kilts. But this traditional Scottish pattern has been given a new, more up-to-date lease of life by award-winning Milanese designers Ludovica+Roberto Palomba  (right) with the ‘Tartan’ suspension lamp for Italian lighting company Foscarini.

The Palombas captured the abstract patterns of sound waves and transferred them to mouth-blown glass lampshades echoing the weave of traditional tartan. An acid-etched surface also brings an illusion of softness to the matt-finish lampshade.

ABOVE AND BELOW: 'Tartan' suspension lamp, from £366

Available in pale grey or pristine white and with an LED option, ‘Tartan’ diffuses light through the shade while providing a direct downward beam from its centre. If you’re looking for a smart update of the ubiquitous paper lantern, look no further…
foscarini.com

Poltrona Frau

There's one piece of furniture that's making us go weak at the knees right now – the credenza – and Poltrona Frau's seductive 'Fidelio' range features the most stylish one we've seen so far...

BY DEE IVA

Whisper the word 'credenza' in our ear and we're all yours. Indeed, at this year's Milan Furniture Fair it seemed the credenza was having a moment.

There's something about this piece of low slung storage that's hugely appealing. It can conceal a multitude of sins, offer a generous surface for displaying your favourite objects, and its sleek lines give it instant supermodel status. Better known as the sideboard, it has been kicking around for decades but in recent years has quietly taken centre stage again.

When it comes to cabinets, we've loved Ferruccio Laviani's faceted 'Crash' for Emmemobili, Cristian Zuzunaga's pixelated 'Dreams' for BD Barcelona Design, and Pinch Design's geometric 'Alba'. Patricia Urquiola's stained glass 'Credenza' collection also had our hearts racing when we happened upon it at Spazio Pontaccio at April's Milan Fair, but Roberto Lazzeroni's luxe 'Fidelio' cabinet is the one we had to queue up for. Having battled through velvet ropes and bouncers on Poltrona Frau's stand at 2016's Salone del Mobile, we were rewarded with the sight of Lazzeroni's lush leather-clad range of storage units. 

ABOVE: The sleek lines of Roberto Lazzeroni's 'Fidelio' credenza, from £11000
ABOVE RIGHT: Minimal slots for handles and elegant stitching are key features of the 'Fidelio' collection
BELOW: 'Fidelio Cassettiera', from £7392, a low cabinet from the 'Fidelio Notte' range of storage units

Intended for the living room, the 'Fidelio' cabinet is accompanied by 'Fidelio Notte', which consists of a low narrower cabinet, chest of drawers, tall boy and bedside cabinet handy for any room in the home, all featuring minimal styling and graphic details offset with deeply luxurious materials. Made of solid walnut, ash, maple and birch ply, each piece is finished in Cuoio saddle leather and features cutaway recessed handles and elegant stitching. There's a choice of surfaces too in this handsome and strikingly modern collection, ranging from polished Calacatta gold marble to rich Canaletto walnut. We just need to work out where to put the credenza. Tape measure please...
poltronafrau.com

BELOW FROM LEFT: 'Fidelio Comodino' chest of drawers, from £3168; 'Fidelio Settimino' tall boy storage, from £6912