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The Castor Plus grows up—to bar and counter height—in this taller version of the stool from the signature Castor series by Swiss Studio Big-Game for Japanese maker Karimoku New Standard. Like its shorter counterparts, also made from Japanese Oak, a small diameter of wood is the starting point, a joint detail that is a nod to the traces left by beavers on wood. A reinforced joint between the legs and the cross supporting the seat makes the light and stool a sturdy and durable companion.
Big-Game is only among the latest to join KNS. Some 70 years into producing quality furniture with a Midcentury sensibility, Japanese brand Karimoku decided in 2009 to write a new chapter in design by engaging in collaboration with a young crop of international talent and rechristening itself as Karimoku New Standard. Solid Japanese hardwoods such as maple, chestnut and oak are the basis of a line informed by a cultural understanding of craftsmanship coupled with innovative technologies in terms of manufacturing and sustainability. To preserve and revitalize Japanese forests, the hardwood used is from low-diameter trees, long underused.
Based in Lausanne, Switzerland, Big-Game is a product, furniture and interior design studio helmed by native Grégoire Jeanmonod and French expat Augustin Scott de Martinville and Belgium expat Elric Petit. Besides KNS, they have designed for Praxis, Alessi, Materia and Globe Trotter.
KARIMOKU NEW STANDARD
A traditional Japanese maker of wood furniture for 70-odd years, Karimoku turned an exciting new page when it relaunched in 2009 with an international roster of contributing designers as Karimoku New Standard. The reboot was twofold—to create modern pieces using its heritage of Japanese craftsmanship techniques and to revitalize native forests by targeting significantly undervalued hardwoods. That precious resource, from low-diameter chestnut, maple and oak trees, had previously ended up mostly as wood chips for paper pulp.
Meanwhile, the design world was gobsmacked by the company’s splendidly functional, often joyously colored furnishings emanating from its collaborating partners. From European, Scandinavian and Japanese creative talents, they include Swedish studio TAF, the Swiss team Big-Game and cult Dutch design duo Scholten & Baijings. The revived Karimoku concept, termed “high-tech and high-touch” by brand creative director David Glaettli, melds the latest technology with unstinting hand-finishing for a truly collectable array of refreshingly unique standouts.
Since coming together in 2004, there's been big doings indeed for the youthful trio behind the Lausanne, Switzerland, design studio Big-Game. With offerings in product, furniture and interior design, it's helmed by Swiss native Grégoire Jeanmonod, French expat Augustin Scott de Martinville and Belgium expat Elric Petit. The founders met as students at the Swiss university of arts and design, ECAL, and, along with their design work, are all now professors there. The firm's varied client list includes Karimoku New Standard, Praxis, Alessi, Materia and Veuve Clicquot.
Following their acknowledged credo—"From confrontation comes progress"—the designers continually draw upon their diverse backgrounds to arrive at a creative synthesis of the experimental and the practical in their work. Represented in the collections of the Zürich Museum of Design, the Musée du Grand-Hornu, the Centre Georges Pompidou as well as the French National Fund of Contemporary Art, their projects have also been shown in various exhibitions and widely published in major magazines. The book Big-Game: Design Overview was published in 2008 on the occasion of their first monographic exhibition in a museum.