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With the Soft Edge series, the chair's seat and back beckon with a gently curved expression, the edges facing away from the body for maximum comfort. Denmark-based creative duo Iskos-Berlin in league with Danish brand Hay utilized advanced techniques for molding plywood for this 3-dimensional form that would not have been possible before. Solid-oak frame and oak veneer seat in either matte lacquer or black stain finish. Readily stackable, sturdy yet lightweight, Soft Edge works admirably in both residential and commercial settings.
“One of the most important things for our company is to make footprints of our own time,” says Rolf Hay, of his eponymous Copenhagen-based company launched in 2003 at the international furniture fair IMM Cologne. His idea was to bring Danish design to a new creative peak that rivaled the storied 1950s and 1960s—but with a modern update. As creative director, he’s committed to nurturing young upstarts and also “exploring the twisted minds of established designers” and giving both a platform.
In practice, that means seeking out imaginative products and evaluating them on their own merits rather than first commissioning a design for certain type of item. And he says his greatest thrill is seeing a prototype for the first time. “We work in a different way to the way our parents did, but we basically live in the same way,” Rolf says. “The news is that there is nothing new, except the possibilities. And that’s great fun.”
“One of the biggest challenges for a designer,” notes Boris Berlin of Iskos-Berlin, “is to create quiet objects that don’t intrude with their egocentricity, don’t compete with the surroundings or the architecture, but still carry a strong identity and are easy to recognize and remember.” With design partner Aleksej Iskos, the duo’s Copenhagen-based studio has gained international renown for its furniture, industrial and graphic design. Leningrad-born, Boris previously founded much-lauded Komplot Design, where Ukraine native Aleksej was employed as a longtime assistant. Collaborating with some of the world’s most prestigious manufacturers, Iskos-Berlin’s work has been featured in museums around the world and at both MoMA and the Danish Design Museum.
The partners say their aim is for a sharper and more precise take on design with an emphasis on delving into new technologies and materials. Likening their process to the art of storytelling, they admit that the narrative of a product may be complex but, in the end, the clearer the story is, the more likely people are to understand it. As to finding inspiration, Aleksej says it comes from everywhere. “From the beauty of nature in all its shapes, constructions and materials, to industrial processes,” he says. “In addition to art and literature and, not least of all, meeting with interesting people.”