It’s probably fair to say the biggest surprise at Salone Satellite 2012 was seeing Rui Alves aka My Own Super Studio.
Because we thought 2011 had been the last year he was allowed to exhibit.
Turns out we can’t count. And that the rules for Salone Satellite are a lot more complicated than even we were aware.
Fortunately. For in addition to the chance to catch up with Rui, he also had new projects with him.
While most industry attention of late has been focused on his Lapa chair, for us the highlight was the modular system Woodpecker.
Not least because it is wood, a material that Rui truly understands.
But principally because we love the idea.
In essence Woodpecker is a horizontal wooden bar with holes.
The end user can then buy legs in three different lengths and a range of features - hooks, shelves, lamps, bowls etc., which can be fitted and removed as required.
As such Woodpecker can not only be used throughout a house or office; but can be continually re-invented. For example you could initially use it with the short legs in the kitchen as an addition to you work surface, and then rebuild it for use in the entrance hall as clothes stand with the longest legs.
Easy. And genius.
Rui’s mastery in all things wood could also be seen in his height adjustable stool “Nose”. Created from cork and oak, Nose not only has the most wonderful haptic, but looks stunning. The cork really giving the whole composition a depth that the wood alone couldn’t achieve.
Then there is the aforementioned Lapa chair. Demonstrating, let’s say, Rui’s “trademark” hang to colour, Lapa comes as an armchair and a stool/ottoman, is formed from oak and steel wire, and as an object achieves that wonderful deceptiveness of appearing stable yet unobtrusive and solid yet elegant. It is also one of those delightful examples of the resourcefulness and inventiveness one needs as a designer. Unable to find anyone locally who could create one seat shell for the prototype at an affordable price, Rui phoned a metalworker friend and they spent a Saturday in his garage bending and welding. Which is very similar to the story Stefan Diez tells about creating the prototypes of Chasis ahead of their launch at Orgatec 2010.
As we’ve said before about Rui Alves we don’t believe he is a designer who is driven by any great desire to revolutionise the furniture design industry. Simply by a desire to produce high quality, practical furniture that brings joy to the user and makes their day just a little brighter
In Milan he once again demonstrated that perfectly.