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Unflinching hard steel meets wonderfully pliant padded aniline leather or satiny velvet in Handvärk's superlative lounge chair. Mantle by renowned designer duo Iskos/Berlin incorporates materials of the highest order in a minimalist fashion where less is truly more. The seating is completely handmade, from the steel-welding of the frame to the metal's powder-coating to the fabrication of the upholstery, yielding a collectable piece that will last beyond a lifetime.
“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.”
Aesthetic sustainability. This is the Handvärk way.
Designer and architect Emil Thorup founded the company in 2015 with an emphasis on handcrafted furnishings, stripped down to their functional and graphic essence, and made of luxe materials to stand the length of time.
The Nordic DNA notwithstanding, the brand’s hallmark are the brackets repeated at least 8-12 times per piece. So, too, are the materials: in contrast to the penchant for wood by his fellow Danes, Emil focuses on premium steel, brass, iron, marble and leather. From the Modular Sofa with Chaise to the spare Console or Studio Floor Lamp, these basics are anything but.