Search

Crafting Brilliance

Why we work with designer Stephen Burks

Stephen Burks for ParachilnaIf Stephen Burks could have any super power imaginable, it would be the ability to control time – simply because “there never seems to be enough of it.” For a designer in perpetual demand due to his innovative knack for bridging the worlds of craft traditions, contemporary design and industrial manufacturing, it makes perfect sense.

Step into his New York studio, Burks Man Made, and you’ll see his hands-on approach in motion. You might also catch a glimpse of some of the products he’s made for international clients like Parachilna, B&B Italia, Boffi, Cappellini, Dedar, Harry Winston, Missoni, Roche Bobois and Swarovski. In fact, it was his collaborations with Dedon and Moroso that first caught our attention. While there aren’t many U.S. designers working with European firms, Burks is a shining example of how a new wave of American talent is transcending borders. We were immediately intrigued by his aptitude for blending modernity with ancestral influences.

Self-described as both a traveller and a designer, Burks is often found connecting with artisans in communities around the world. His passion for keeping culture-specific techniques alive has been a centrepiece in his work for over a decade, leading him to consult with non-profits including Aid to Artisans, the Clinton Global Initiative and Design Network Africa.

Take his Babel lighting collection for Parachilna, in which African totems and Brutalist architecture are cited as two key influences. Beyond simply being inspired by ethnic traditions, Burks is also helping to ensure they continue to thrive. It’s not everyday you find a designer who works with Senegalese basket weavers based in New York and Dakar, or collaborates with artisans in South Africa, Peru and India. It’s his forward-thinking approach that has earned him numerous accolades including the Brooklyn Museum Young Modernist Award and the Architektur & Wohnen Audi Mentor Prize. Most recently, he’s taken up an artist-in-residence post at A/D/O’s Design Academy in Brooklyn, where he’s exploring the pillars and challenges of luxury design and mass manufacturing.

Having studied at Chicago’s New Bahaus [also known as the Illinois Institute of Technology Institute of Design] Burks began his career with a distinctly Modernist approach. Over the last decade, he’s carved out his own niche by combining innovation with craft sensibilities gleaned from the days when everything was made by hand. Burks himself likes to touch, feel and immerse himself in all his creations, too. Whether producing products, lighting, furniture or exhibitions, he thoughtfully conceptualizes every aspect, often mixing high art principles and functionality. Cultural sustainability is a cornerstone of his work and in recent years, he’s focused on giving international communities a chance to engage in conversations around design.

“Lighting is a kind of gateway product into the world of design for most people, so in many ways it has to be very functional yet magical somehow,” says Burks. “I approach lighting design from the magical first, while trying to create a form with details that accentuate the function of illumination.”

Perhaps this is what Burks has in mind when he created the whimsical and geometric forms for Parachilna’s Anwar collection. Always one to take interest in materials, Burks was keen to work with wire – and not afraid to challenge Parachilna’s skilled craftsmen in the process.

“The project began thinking about an illuminated object. A volume filled with light that was both physically present, yet light and transparent somehow—like a hollow spool of thread or the curls on my son’s head. In fact, his name Anwar, means luminous in Arabic,” he says.

Since the dawn of time, the idea of harnessing and creating light has been a universal obsession. Burks may not have the power to control time, but in his own way, he’s breathing new life into to the past and shaping the future. Illumination, in every sense of the word, is the eternal muse.

Spotlight: Babel & Anwar Collections

A closer look at two collections designed by Stephen Burks

Parachilna-Anwar-T45-suspension-light

Walk into any exquisitely designed hotel, bar or restaurant and one of the first elements you’ll likely notice is the lighting. The best luminaires serve as functional conversation pieces, with just enough whimsy to spark emotion in viewers. For discerning design enthusiasts, having a myriad of options is essential. Naturally, we had today’s busy industry professionals in mind when we released Parachilna’s Anwar and Babel collections by award-winning American designer Stephen Burks. Featuring several shapes and colours that can be combined in a seemingly infinite amount of ways, both collections are versatile enough to adapt to a range of spaces. Always one to embrace old-world traditions, Burks collaborated with us on two distinct collections that fuse artisanal craftsmanship with the modern potential for customization.

Anwar

 

Parachilna Anwar collection

New York-based designer Stephen Burks has long been fascinated by wire. Suffice it to say, it was a match made in heaven for us, as we’re passionate about exploring the manufacturing capabilities of metal. In the process, Burks put our craftsmen to the test. To execute his geometrically simple, yet intricate concept, master metalsmith Carlos welded 96 steel rods, each 4mm in diameter in a 20cm ring – not an easy task, even for the most skilled of craftsmen.

Parachilna ANWAR light in PRODUCTION

The complex structures were then finished with the perfect mix of nickel, brass, copper or graphite dispersed across nearly a hundred steel rods on each of the metal parts. Using this technique, master finisher Andreu was able to achieve a seamless natural lustre on the electroplated surfaces of the steel rods, creating an impeccable finish that even exceeded Burks’ expectations.

 

“I think this collection is so surprising and arresting because it’s the perfect combination of technical sophistication (flat disc LEDs without bulky transformers) and elegant hand-crafted fabrication using the delicate yet strong spiralling brass, copper & graphite plated forms,” says Burks.

Parachilna-Anwar-floor-light

The resulting Anwar collection is expressive yet functional. The lighting family is composed of several key pieces, including three suspension lamps that can be assembled in couples to create various shapes, and three floor lamps. The rod finishes come in a range of options including black, golden or copper electroplated steel.

Parachilna-Anwar-suspension-light

While the floor lamps offer a softer glow with one LED module placed at the base, the suspension lights provide both ambient and direct lighting with two LED modules placed at the bottom edge of the structure (one facing up and the other facing down).

Parachilna Anwar suspension lights

Depending on the space, lighting options can range from dramatic to subdued, allowing for complete customization in terms of shape, finish and atmospheric illumination.

See the entire Anwar collection on our website, where you can also download the latest Parachilna catalogue.

Babel

Parachilna Babel chandelier

When Stephen Burks set out to design the Babel collection, he incorporated aspects from two seemingly very different structures: African totems and industrial brutalist architecture. The result is a family of suspension lamps that gracefully merge strength and flexibility.

Parachilna Babel chandeliers

The system consists of four uniquely shaped cylinders (with radiuses of 60cm, 80cm, 80cm and 120cm respectively) that can be configured in several different ways to create various preferred shapes.

Parachilna Babel chandelier

Quality craftsmanship is at the core of Burks’ pendant design, with each module being composed of 18 sheets of anodized aluminium. Anodizing is an electrochemical process that converts the metal surface into a decorative, durable and corrosion-resistant finish. Rather than applying aluminium oxide to the surface like paint, it is fully integrated into the material so it cannot chip or peel.

Parachila Babel chandelier black gold finishes

Babel’s adaptability extends to colour, with the modules being available in yellow, orange, and red, as well as two newly launched hues: black and gold. The beauty of the design is that it enables two-tone combinations, allowing interior designers the flexibility to define their space with lighting fixtures that double as complementary works of art.

Parachilna Babel chandelier black gold finishes

Babel offers two illumination options: a warm, ambient glow created by LED strips located within each cylinder, or additional direct-down lighting (made possible with an optional LED module in the lower part of the lamp) to accompany the ambient light.

Parachilna Babel chandelier

No matter which colour combination or shape you choose, Babel luminaires have a way of adding elegance and a touch of modernity to a room – be it a hospitality or residential project. Once again, Burks has succeeded in exploring the versatility of metal through fine craftsmanship, resulting in a multifaceted system suited to the most glamorous of spaces.

See the entire Babel collection on our website, where you can also download the latest Parachilna lighting catalogue.

Hotel Torre de Madrid de Jaime Hayón

395-room-6-hotel-barcelo-torre-de-madrid_tcm24-91131_w768_h509_n

The head of Barceló Torre de madrid Hotel chose Jaime Hayón to redesign their hotel for his signature brand of playfulness, creativity, and bold use of color, with result is a space that is both welcoming and dynamic.

hotel-barcelo-torre-de-madrid-by-jaime-hayon_articuloApaisada

Therefore did they use lamps 2 of Parachilna’s collections: the Chinoz and  the Aballs designed for Parachilna in 2014.

s3_barcelo_torre_de_madrid_hotel_jaime_hayon_yatzer_

“I was fully dedicated to the creation of a very special and unique space that would represent a new vision of Spain, a vision far from the traditional aesthetic,” the words of Jaime Hayón to Yatzer.

Los Chichos – Gitanitos y Morenos

Designer of the Year Award By Elle Decoration edition 2017

After Jamie Hayón , neri&hu won the designer of the year award 2017.

The event took place on October 28 at the Italian Embassy in Tokyo, honouring the close relations between the two countries.

just a little reminder, neri&hu designed the Bai collection for Parachilna in 2015.

BAImama

Bai T ma ma grey

BAIchandelierIII

Bai T chandelier III grey

PACHILNA

Bai A ba ba transparente

Congratulations neri&hu !!

Parachilna in Toronto

A design-focused travelogue

parachilna-in-toronto

Though we’ve travelled around the world, our brief trips often leave just enough time for a few meetings and a couple glasses of scotch, but Toronto was an exception, and not without reason. We are passionate about Toronto, a city that before meeting LightForm’s Richard (Assaly) was plain and cold to us. Then he uncovered the “hidden city” to us: all those small shops, bars, and restaurants. New concepts beautifully designed, high quality retail and food. We are amazed by the amount of creativity and good vibe that we always find in Toronto, and it has naturally become one of our favourite cities in the world. Just remember, you need a local guide or you will miss the whole scene.

Timing our visit with a few key events, including the Interior Design Show, we had a chance to immerse ourselves in the energetic metropolis and connect with a few major players in the Canadian design industry. We’ve always said that Parachilna lights are suited to the cultivated ones, those who appreciate the world’s diverse traditions and cultures. Often, our appreciation happens organically: on a morning jog along the waterfront or during conversations over beer and tacos. After a whirlwind week, we reflect on a few of Parachilna’s favourite moments in Toronto.

Visiting the LightForm Lighting Showroom

Parachilna lighting collection in LightForm Toronto
Parachilna’s lighting collection is on display in LightForm Toronto

For an interior designer, a visit to LightForm in Toronto is like stepping into a high-end candy store. We’ve long enjoyed working with their passionate and educated team, but it’s always refreshing to reconnect at the showroom, which has the entire Parachilna collection on display. We also had a chance to see the plans for LightForm’s showroom expansion and add some creative input to the project.

Interior Design Show Toronto – Opening Night Party

We don’t like shows. In fact, we hate shows. They seem to us a really old fashioned way of introducing products and brand. But you can’t deny reality and the reality is that today they are still and optimal meeting point for the industry. At this year’s opening party for IDS in Toronto, we spent time chatting with architect Alex Josephson, founder of the Toronto design studio Partisans. We also had a chance to view Jaime Hayón’s Stone Age Folk installation, a collaboration with Caesarstone.

jaime-hayon-stone-age-folk-at-ids-caesarstone-image-by-liah-chesnokov
Jaime Hayon with one of his Stone Age Folk at IDS Toronto

Dinner at Lee on King Street

Parachilna at Lee Restaurant in Toronto with LightForm and Hayon
Left to right: Alfredo Valero, Richard Assaly, Jaime Hayon, Roman Riera at Lee

Experiencing the culinary scene in any city is a must, and Toronto’s restaurants are as vibrant as it gets. We joined Jaime Hayón and Richard Assaly for dinner at Lee on King West, where conversation about design and cooking flowed over chef Susur Lee’s delectable creations.

Lee Restaurant in Toronto

Lunch at Cumbrae’s

Parachilna has lunch at Cumbraes in Toronto
A selection of aging prosciutto at Cumbrae’s

Just around the corner from LightForm’s showroom on Niagara Street, we stumbled upon Cumbrae’s, an artisanal butcher shop carrying local meats and grab-and-go sandwiches – perfect for a lunch break on a busy day.

Tacos at Grand Electric

Parachilna at Grand Electric in Toronto
Neon sign marking entrance to Toronto’s famed taqueria

Grand Electric seems to always have a packed house. But we assure you, the tacos are well worth the wait. Located in Toronto’s up-and-coming Parkdale neighbourhood, this unpretentious Mexican hotspot includes dim lighting, loud music and punchy flavours.

Drinks at Bar Raval

Bar Raval in Toronto

It was only a matter of time before we found a piece of Spain in the heart of Toronto. One night after dinner, we went to Bar Raval in Little Italy for drinks (scotch straight up, of course). Named after Barcelona’s El Raval district, the stylish interior features Antoni Gaudí-inspired woodwork by Partisans. We have to say we would never have curated this mahogany alcove, it is not our style. But we must also say that when you get to know how it was thought up and the techniques that PARTISANS used to build it… well, chapeau! The result is as cozy, warm, and lively as a Spanish bar can be.

Parachilna at Bar Raval in Toronto
Mahogany curves in Bar Raval

Jaime Hayon with Richard Assaly Parachilna in Toronto
Hayon and Assaly share a laugh

City sights

City sights in Toronto
Sculpture or piece of urban furniture? Sculpture.

Warehouse window views
Moody views through a LightForm warehouse window.

Until next time, Toronto!

Jaime Hayón talks at IDS Toronto

Jaime Hayón explains the art of storytelling through design

In Jaime Hayón’s world, finding a place to sit is a fine balance between comfort and experimentation. It’s no surprise that before tucking into his breakfast at the Drake Hotel in Toronto, he had to go around the room, sitting in every chair, until he found the most comfortable one. Chalk it up to being a world-renowned designer who has created furniture and lighting collections for several brands – including Parachilna – all while blurring the lines between art, decoration and functionality.

The Madrid-born, Valencia-based designer aptly describes himself as “someone you can jump from the plane with.” As a teenager, he immersed himself in skateboard culture (see below) and graffiti art, and to this day, he still puts his fearless attitude to the test. Case in point: he walked for one hour (on a frosty January day) to Toronto’s Interior Design Show, wearing nothing but a light jacket.

Hayon in his skateboarding heydays

As Hayón steps onto the stage for his Azure Trade Talk, he jokes that he is still cold. Known for his sense of humour, Hayón brings a cheeky element to his work, which often embraces symbolism, storytelling and a touch of whimsy. These qualities have earned him several accolades, including multiple ELLE Deco International Design Awards and being named one of the most influential creators of the last decade by Wallpaper Magazine.

Speaking to a full house on International Trade Day, Hayón touches on his artistic background. Installation projects have always been a platform for him to experiment. His recent collaboration with Caesarstone, a manufacturer of quartz surfaces, is a perfect example. The expansive Stone Age Folk installation features furniture and decorative items topped with graphic mask-inspired faces. Clearly, Hayón has never lost the creative fire that he first kindled as a ceramics artist, long before he collaborated with Swarovski, Cassina or designed the well-known ABALLS lamps for Parachilna (below).

Hayon's Aballs pendants for Parachilna

His first project, 12 years ago, was a bathroom, but for Hayón, it meant so much more. It was an opportunity to experiment.

“For me, it was like a sculpture. It wasn’t a normal project. I wanted to create something joyful, feminine and playful,” says Hayón. “I never put boundaries on or classified what I was doing… I’ve always believed that by doing things, I was learning and developing my style; a dynamic aesthetic that, today, is really easy to recognize. I’ve never tried to be someone else.”

Hayon FAVN sofa for Fritz Hansen
Behind Hayón, images of some of his key works appear on a screen: the FAVN sofa for Fritz Hansen (above), the Monkey Side Table for BD Barcelona and the Catch Chair for &tradition. All of them are reflective of his imaginative approach to industrial design. He likens being a designer to being a magician – someone who does not just beautify spaces, but also transforms them.

Behind every project is a story, Hayón explains. After seeing a group of men with walking sticks exit a car, he created a collection of lamps based on the scene. Upon admiring the shape of musical instruments like the harp, he made the Arpa Chair. He even designed a Smartphone with a separate analog clock in one corner, a throwback to the days of the pocket watch.

Hayon Arpa chair

“I’ve always felt that a product could talk to you,” he says. “Sometimes, I start a project with just one image. It’s usually an image that tells me something and brings about a solution in line with the identity of a product.”

Hayón often carries his sketchbook with him, conceptualizing as he travels. History is one of his most prominent influences. He has a special interest in how old-world materials like rattan and porcelain are connected to certain regions, and how they can be modernized.

Hayon sketching

His collections for Parachilna illustrate his penchant for combining traditional techniques, like hand-blown glass, with contemporary innovation. When he can, he prefers to work with local artisans and materials. Oftentimes, these resources are found close to his home on the Mediterranean coast of Spain.

Hayon's Chinoz table lamp for Parachilna
Chinoz table lamp by Jaime Hayon for Parachilna

“I live in a village where I’m the only artist,” says Hayón. “I love it that way because I have a contrasting life. I go around the world, working on projects – to Tokyo or Africa – and then I come back to my city and enjoy the tomatoes!”

With a love of agriculture, Hayón has already pinpointed his next project: crafting his own olive oil, tomatoes and wine, the latter which he’s already started to make.

“I think it’s very special to be able to eat what you make. It’s a whole other level of creativity,” he says. “The power of imagination is always behind my work. That’s what drives the emotion of making things.”

Hayon Green Chicken
Before stepping offstage, Hayón leaves the audience with one last image: a photo of himself sitting on his Green Chicken rocking chair. For a designer with no limits, it’s quite possibly the most comfortable seat of all – emblematic of his ability to propel tradition into the future, and never stop moving.

Connect with us to learn more about Jaime Hayon’s lighting collections for Parachilna. In Canada, you can see Hayon’s lighting collections at LightForm lighting showrooms.

Caruso : Luciano Pavarotti & Lucio Dalla

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑