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In mirror-polished stainless steel, Menu’s Well Watering Can almost resembles a piece of sculpture. Yet Anderssen & Voll’s gleaming contours reveal a well-thought-out, functional design work. The generously shaped vessel has a slightly concave top surface that guides the water inward, inspired by the natural pooling action of ponds and springs. In turn, the large rounded handle allows the position of the hand to be changed from carrying to pouring as the weight of the watering can shifts when being filled.
"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."
ANDERSSEN & VOLL
"A good product builds and expands on tradition but at the same time, it breaks with tradition," say Anderssen & Voll, the Oslo-based design team that is consistently breaking new ground in the international design world. After 10 years of collaboration at the Norway Says design company which they cofounded, Torbjørn Andersen (born 1976) and Espen Voll (born 1965) began their eponymous firm in 2009 and have received repeated recognition for the wide range of their work in furniture, textiles, electronics, lighting and home accessories. Accolades include Norwegian and Scandinavian designers of the year, Wallpaper Award, IF Award and the Torsten and Wanja Söderberg Prize.
The studio's client list includes leading European names Muuto, Wrong for Hay, Foscarini, Kvadrat, Erik Jørgensen and Filip Technologies. However they also value collaborations closer to home, in the finest Norwegian tradition with Jøtul, Gudbrandsdalens Uldvarefabrik, Fjord Fiesta, Røros Tweed and LK Hjelle. "Change and elements of surprise stimulates thought and reflection–even for people who are not very interested in design and even if the change is not radical," they say. "That tiny second of reflection is the window of opportunity where we can communicate with the users and that is what we are looking for."