Utilitarian Solutions

Recently, Sight Unseen’s annual OFFSITE—an exhibition which for the third time included the pairing of Norwegian and American designers to make unique designs—went down at over a dozen venues in New York. Out of the seven different Norwegian x American collaborations, object, interior, lighting and furniture designs emerged—all of which carries design influences from both sides of the pond.

Paaul Loebach and Jonas Ravlo Stokke’s Tambour Cabinet really caught our eye this year. We talked to Jonas to get some more insight. 

«When I was asked to participate I was a little skeptical, to be honest. I had no idea who I would be paired with, but I said yes, and when I was paired with Paul I was very relieved. He is a truly great designer and we share the same values and have the same view of what great design is and should be.»

What was the process like?
«The whole project was done online; through Skype and different file sharing services. Projects like these are hard because they have no boundaries. Creativity thrives when practiced within a certain framework, so we defined some for ourselves. One of those was bodega shutters [the ones you see securing closed storefronts]. Paul had been fascinated by them for a long time, and as I have plundered with hyper utilitarian solutions like garage doors and shipping containers myself, it really resonated with me. I really like the connection between the extremely technical and the domestic object.»

Why is that?
«There is something very satisfying with the robustness of those doors, and we wanted to explore that. We also found it exciting to transform something as rigid as metal into something in motion, almost like a curtain.»

The final cabinet is made out of wood. How did you end up there?
«We explored many shapes and typologies in search for how we could use the doors. Naturally, our research led us to the classic tambour door. The cabinet is a mix of bodega shutters, a garage door and the tambour door—with a nod towards mid-century furniture design. The doors are mounted with bearings, giving them a mechanical feel. Furniture and machine—we really like that combo.»