Iconic, coherent, never ordinary. A starchitect but, more importantly, a “sculptor of materials” who’s able to cross over from architecture to design without ever losing his distinctive design identity.
Daniel Libeskind is a master of contemporary architecture who inspires, and will continue to inspire, architects around the world with his skyscrapers, museums, pavilions, and large city memorials, including the Memorial at Ground Zero in New York. The gift of this man, born in Poland and educated in the United States, doesn’t just lie in his ability to design architecture but also, and in particular, in his ability to envision entire projects, leaving his distinctive mark on even the smallest construction detail. This “subsidiarity” allows him to maintain a minimalist complexity and a contemporary vision that traverses the years without ever growing old or tired.
It was for all these reasons that the Colombini Group, based in San Marino, chose him to design a new furniture collection for its brand Febal Casa. The company combines its expertise with close cooperation with a team of architects and interior designers to create furniture that’s both tailored to customers and features the kind of class that never fails to excite.
This is the background to LIBESKIND022, the new capsule collection designed by the starchitect. A collection of sideboards, this is furniture borrowed from the rural tradition, when it was used to store yeast, flour, and various foods. It was also used as a surface for kneading dough for bread and pasta. In other words, the sideboard played a central role in the home and was a testament to everyday life.
Embracing this tradition and reinterpreting it through a contemporary lens, the architect has created a design with three-dimensional surfaces that create shifting shapes and colors. The pieces are constantly changing with light and shade, assuming infinite variations without ever interrupting their dialogue with their setting.
The collection includes three different and versatile sideboards, with the three- and four-door version 30 inches (75 cm) high and the two-door version 60 inches (154 cm) high. The interiors can be customized with glass or panel shelves, while the top can be matt lacquered or stone. A set of drawers with handles can also be integrated into the units. The doors are available in a variety of lacquered or opaque colors from Febal Casa’s GIORNO range.
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The Colombini Group chose the Salone del Mobile.Milano 2022 for the official launch of the LIBESKIND022 collection. With both Daniel Libeskind and Emanuel Colombini present, the launch was hosted in the Febal Casa booth, complete with a ribbon cutting ceremony. This event within the event transformed the 2150 square foot (200 m2) booth into a hub for interior design.
With Milan as good as his second home, Libeskind was keen to be present at the event. In 1985, he founded Architecture Intermundium in the city and, in 2013 designed the Libeskind Residences. He also designed a pavilion for EXPO 2015 as well as the soon-to-be inaugurated Libeskind Tower for CityLife.
THE PLAN interviewed Libeskind about the LIBESKIND022 collection.
How did the LIBESKIND022 collection for Febal Casa come about? What was the path that led to the final design?
It was a chance to work with a genuinely creative company interested in producing something beautiful for a ready market. A company prepared to do scrupulous research and development for product design. LIBESKIND022 was the result of that collaboration, but, naturally, it’s also a product of my own work, in particular in the areas of the domestic space and daily life, in which I aim to combine functionality and aesthetics in every room of the home.
Sideboards were once used in country homes as a surface for kneading dough and storing flour, yeast, and other food. How does the collection take this history into account and update it?
Sideboards by definition are functional furniture. They’re built for storage but must also be easy to access. They therefore need to be designed on a human scale. At the same time, this collection reflects a new interpretation of how they participate in everyday life as a celebration of the joy of everyday activities and not just special occasions.
So, can we talk about affordable luxury?
Yes. I think it’s important to create quality designs that aren’t aimed exclusively at the top end of the market. My goal is to create products that people can buy that are also works of art designed for the home.
LIBESKIND022 draws inspiration from historical uses of cabinetry for protecting precious objects. Why did you choose wood instead of some other material?
Wood is a material that’s pleasant to the touch, natural, sustainable, and, historically, widely used in the home. This gives it a built-in familiarity. The design of the collection is very important in this sense, since its simultaneously distinguished by traditional and modern geometries.
Sustainability is a key value of the Libeskind studio.
Absolutely. Beyond being aware of the production cycle of materials, sustainability involves creating quality products that will last through time, as opposed to second-rate ones that will end up being thrown away. This is the artistic and poetic principle that animates the collection.
The sideboards have a minimal yet complex design, changing their appearance depending on how the light strikes them. How important is the role of light in the design of furniture and architecture?
Light is the main material I work with. It’s the primary structure of a work of architecture as well as an object for the home. It’s something elusive and mystical, which you experience while interacting with and using the object. The sideboard itself is a static piece of furniture. However, we’ve given it an expressive luminosity so that it’s constantly changing, with shapes that shift from one moment to the next because of the light.
What’s it like to be back at Salone del Mobile after the pandemic?
It’s great to be back in Milan! Despite the crisis, we’re living in increasingly interesting times, with people demanding much more responsible and beautiful designs, in a world that desperately needs beauty.
Brand: Febal Casa (Colombini Group)
Designer: Daniel Libeskind
Images by Febal Casa, courtesy of Febal Casa