“The greatest mistake a designer can make, is to create something with the intention of making an icon,” says Knud Erik Hansen, CEO of Danish furniture brand Carl Hansen & Son. The man knows a thing or two about the matter, as he happens to be the third-generation owner of a company renowned for producing iconic furniture from mid-century legends, such as Hans Wegner, Kaare Klint and Arne Jacobsen, among others.
Much like the oft-heard saying in the movie industry, it seems iconic designs in the furniture business seem to possess that unique X-factor, the ‘je ne sais quois’ which helps them stand out from others. Yet, ask any veteran designer and he will tell you there is no set strategy involved in turning a piece of furniture into something truly unforgettable. Furthermore, what is the definition of an iconic design? Aside from being aesthetically pleasing, practical and purposeful, iconic designs also buck trends and exude such a unique factor that a legacy can be built around them.
For the most part, icons stand the test of time and appreciate like fine wine. With our arrival into the 21st century, it’s time to look beyond old staples to the present for the new generation of icons that will go down in the design annals of tomorrow. Here are five home icons worth investing in and deserving of prime real estate on your living room floor.
Break stool by Nathan Yong
What better way to start looking ahead than with a creation by veteran Singaporean designer Nathan Yong in 2006. This stool may have a slit in each side, but worry not, the Break stool, unlike its name, will not break. Through that simple slice in the plywood, Yong discovered a way to get the material to bend in two directions at once, creating an ergonomically curved seat to hug bottoms better.
Axor Starck V
The act of handwashing will never be the same again, thanks to renown designer Philippe Starck. The Axor Starck V (designed in 2015) is a completely transparent glass faucet that reveals a swirling vortex of water as it is drawn to its mouth. Not only does the motion of water create a captivating sight to behold, the spout’s crystal glass is moulded in an exquisite scuptural form that makes this an incredibly excessive, but undeniably innovative product.
B&O Beoplay A9
Ever since Danish brand Bang & Olufsen roped in industrial designer Oivind Alexander Slaatto in 2012, their speakers have started resembling furniture. Launched in 2014, the BeoPlay A9 is a case in point. The wireless multi-room speaker commands attention with its avant-garde look: an ultra-sleek disc propped by a wooden tripod. Under its premium Kvadrat fabric covers, the speaker’s surface features small craters arranged in a neat Fibonacci sequence.
Husk armchair by B&B Italia
Let’s be honest: Part of the Husk collection launched by B&B Italia in 2011, this Patricia Urquiola chair is an odd-looking thing. Yet, it manages to sophisticated and comfortable at the same time. In leather, it fits right in in an office, and in red, it is a unique armchair that will pair well with a more understated sofa. Husk by B&B Italia features a hard shell, and a series of soft cushions that embraces you like a hug.
Smeg’s Kitchen Mixer
Consider it a combination of the best from the past and present, this all-purpose retro-looking kitchen mixer from the lauded Italian kitchen brand in 2012 makes a statement with its unique design and vibrant colours. With various add-on attachments such as a whisk and pasta maker, it’s a great tool for budding home cooks and professional chefs alike. It retains the old-world charm of the rolling Sixties, while still incorporating state-of-art mixing technology of the present day.