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Design really is a continuum and this lounge chair by Afteroom Studio reflects the lingering influence of the breakthrough Bauhaus school. Taking a pair of icons—Michael Thonet’s bentwood chair and Børge Mogensen’s “Spanish” lounge—designers Hung-Ming Chen and Chen-Yen Wei realized a synthesis that is completely new, borrowing the lyricism of the former and the comfort of the latter. It cuts a graphic profile in any setting. Expressed in powder-coated steel “made mostly by steel bending, die casting and welding, which were commonly used in Bauhaus modernism,” they note, with a seat and back in full-grain leather. Taiwanese-born and now working and living in Stockholm, the thoughtful duo looks to the past as a route to the future, intending their products to grow more valued as they, too take, their place for the next generation of designers.
"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."
Time passes and, for Afteroom founders Hung-Ming Chen and Chen-Yen Wei, that's just the point. The designing duo began their Stockholm-based design company with the notion of creating modern objects that would only grow more beautiful over time—or as they put it, "design to grow old with." Beyond their own work, they see their studio as a launching point for designers around the world who share their philosophy.
"We always believed in a simple solution, bonded with good materials that show a human touch," they say. "Even though we know it is not a simple job to get to something really 'simple,' we still decided to try the idea out and our studio, Afteroom, was born." Continuing their quest across a diversity of cultures fuels their imagination, always guided by the founding tenets of simplicity and honesty.