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Sticks with it! Jan & Henry's modular Stick System for Danish design house Menu is much more than mere shelving. The Czech designers Jan Plechác and Henry Wielgus have devised a highly-adaptable setup that can take shape in myriad ways—as a work table, hanging clothing rack, and, of course, as a storage system. "Our goal was to create a collection of furniture for the younger generation, making it possible to assemble the basic elements of an interior," they say. But anyone who values multi-functional and unobtrusively minimalist design will find the Stick System to their liking. The organic combination of ash wood poles and powder-coated steel joints creates an airy and harmonious unit, with lightweight add-on steel shelves for placing books, lamps and other objects.
"It's about creating aesthetically pleasing designs that evoke true feelings,” Menu founder Bjarne Hansen told the online magazine Lonny, “as well as improving processes in people's daily lives.” Ranging from tabletop objects to bath fixtures to lighting and furniture, the Danish brand’s pursuit of "soft minimalism" involves collaborations with designers from all over the world. The company’s guiding spirit is a quest for functional originality—with each product having either a new purpose, incorporating a new material or utilizing a new production method.
Menu is just as dedicated to responsible manufacturing as it is innovation. Working to locate new partners in developing countries around the world, the company searches out local factories or small private co-operations to turn out high quality goods and also provide a better economic foundation for the people involved in that production. "We’re passionate about design, new materials and clever details," say the folks at Menu, "and we dream about making a difference."
JAN AND HENRY
"It is quite hard to say how we describe our work, our aesthetic, but generally we tell old stories in new contexts," says Jan Plecháč, one-half of the designer duo known informally as Jan & Henry. (Their Prague-based firm is Studio Jan Plecháč & Henry Wielgus.) "Our work is our life, so we want to enjoy it." First meeting as students at the Czech Academy of Art, Architecture and Design, upon graduation they were invited to design a chair for the legendary Italian manufacturing maestro Giulio Cappellini and quickly decided it was time to open their own design studio.
The studio doesn’t see a divide between art, architecture and design and has produced work for internationally renowned galleries and brands such as Rossana Orlandi Gallery, Bosch, Luminaire, Cappellini and Menu. Frequently featured in exhibits, the partners also were honored with an Elle Decor International Award for best lighting design. And the duo is continually pushing their limits. “We are always seeking the right material or form for the right product. Also, we like to work with methods that are new to us,” says Henry. “It’s important for us to get to know as much as possible.”