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Here's a notion that's set in concrete: the Willmann Vase combines a clear glass vessel with an open-mouthed polished concrete cover that narrows to support the arrangement of flowers. Says German designer Hanne Willmann, “My ambition was to play with contrasts and the fragility of glass.” Like many great pairings, the strength of one element plays off the clear refinement of the other. In this design for Danish house Menu, Hanne makes a compelling case that opposites do, indeed, attract.
"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."