You might not expect to see London product design group Hollington Associates turning its hand to decorative design, given its track record in projects such as desks for Herman Miller and pens for Parker. But the set of heavy glass vases and candlesticks created with US company Design Ideas fulfils a long-term ambition for consultancy founder Geoff Hollington.
‘I wanted to do some decorative tableware,’ he says. So much so that he’d completed the sketches before targeting suppliers around the world, only to find there were a number of potential takers. He chose Illinois-based Design Ideas ‘because they seemed like nice people’, and it in turn has brought in German company Authentics to handle the imminent European distribution.
Made in Taiwan, the Trumpet vases and Palette candlesticks are largely of glass – frosted white for the candlesticks and with a choice of frosted white or green, or clear glass for the vase. They are simple, elegant products, the hollow candlesticks being almost like inverted vases. The main difference between them and other similar products is the dark grey rubber removable base of the vase and the flexible ‘sculpted’ rubber holder set into the top of the candlestick. A phrase or ‘aphorism’ is screen-printed in dark grey around the base of each product using 10pt Gill Sans type.
The aphorism was ‘part of the idea’ following the traditions of Japan, says Hollington. ‘The Japanese put writing on everything. It’s a delightful way of bringing product and text together. It was fun casting around for the right words,’ he says, adding that the Japanese make phrases up, while his team trawled through the work of other writers.
The result speaks volumes in favour of taking a proactive stance on design. If clients won’t talk to you, let your designs start the conversation.