Surfaces with depth
What role do surfaces play in architecture and design? How do special effects come about in the look and feel? And how can they be employed to realize inspiring spaces for living and working? Italian manufacturer Cleaf which has specialized in faced panels, laminates and edges for furniture since 1975, concerns itself precisely with these and similar questions. The outbreak of the Corona pandemic last year brought at least one additional task, namely how can tactile qualities be communicated in times of restricted contact?
Following a survey among its dealers the producer from Lissone has spent the last few months advancing its communication channels both in the analog and digital realms. And it has gone even further and come up with something that engages customers and creative professionals alike. "With our 'Shaping Surfaces' competition Cleaf aims to spur the creativity of architects and interior designers through the use of our surfaces and kindle a debate about interior spaces," says Managing Director Roberto Caspani, who emphasizes a multi-disciplinary and international corporate strategy.
Ingenious and inviting
The competition invites creative professionals to submit their interior designs featuring Cleaf surfaces, and every month a winner is chosen from the entrants. A jury of experts including representatives from the Salone del Mobile and Triennale di Milano, but also art directors or photographers selects the final winners. They base their decision on the innovation potential of the projects and a successful use of Cleaf products. In the maiden edition, Portuguese studio Campos Costa Arquitetos won with its design for Banema Studio in Lisbon: The design of the concept store is "as ingenious as it is inviting," comments Cleaf on the decision.
And indeed, architect Pedro Campos Costa created a spatial structure that always looks different depending on where you stand in the 300-square-meter space so that guests feel highly motivated to find out more. The special touch is the shelfing system in whose geometrical framework the goods are attractively arranged and which also serves to divide the space into different zones. While the fitted elements extend up as far as the ceiling, varying heights and rounded projections still allow for the articles to be easily visible in their attractive presentation.
Not at all superficial
The selected books, fragrances, lighting and furniture in the store are set against purist architecture with flowing curtain material and the petrol-colored shelves acting as backdrops. Both visually and in tactile terms the shelf surfaces come across like Scotch pine but actually the grainy material is "Yosemite", faced and refined panels made by Cleaf from a wood-based material. Their organic texture serves as a highly effective stage for the design objects and lends the room a distinct statement character.
It remains exciting as to what surprise Campos Costa Arquitetos will come up with next because as the winner of the "Shaping Surfaces" competition the studio will be commissioned by Cleaf to develop a special installation or a research project to the tune of EUR 10,000. The second round of the competition is just starting. (ncm)