Certain cities possess a magical, breathing aura that has captured the imagination of creative mavericks across ages and realms—think of Frank Sinatra’s song, New York, New York, encapsulating the spirit of the city that never sleeps, or Sofia Coppola’s film Lost in Translation, where the neon-lit streets of Tokyo play a causal protagonist—from the silver screen to architectural marvels, cities and urban landscapes have remained moving stimuli for creative pursuits throughout history. The influence does not seem to end there—perhaps, the bustling culture and well-traversed roundabouts of metropolises and urban towns, which demand cadence, efficiency, and beauty, have the potential to influence the discipline of product design as well.
Furniture, lighting, and accessories brand Man of Parts presented its joint collection of novelties, its biggest release yet since its inception in 2019, debuting at the now-concluded design event, 3daysofdesign that took place from June 7- 9, 2023. The Canadian design brand’s joint exhibition called Framing took place with aplomb at The Odd Fellow Palazz in Copenhagen, Denmark, with exhibited pieces named after and inspired by global cities, towns, streets, and famous spaces. For the showcase, Man of Parts reached out to their long-time brand collaborators to present their works, apart from tapping into internationally renowned design studio Yabu Pushelberg to curate and design the exhibition space. Established in 2018, Framing presented 36 international and Danish brands and their new and bespoke designs during the three-day design festival this year, in celebration of the global contemporary design landscape.
The Canadian brand’s exhibit amalgamated cross-cultural design with elements from their current roster of international designers, with the addition of self-taught French designer Christophe Delcourt, Brazilian multidisciplinary artist, jewellery and furniture designer Simone Coste, and US-based multidisciplinary architecture and design collective Workshop/APD, showcasing their succinct designs drawing inspiration from the world over. Presented works also included those from design partners and life-long friends including Studio Sebastian Herkner, who from their first designs have focused on merging cultural contexts, and Yabu Pushelburg, a globally admired multidisciplinary design practice founded by George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg in 1980.
The founder of Man Of Parts, Stephan Weishaupt, who also created the Weishaupt Design Group Company, commented at the opening of the collaborative exhibition— “We are very happy to show so many new designs in furniture, lighting, and accessories from our close designer friends as well as new collaborators, we hope to also call our friends soon. The exhibition in Copenhagen mark(ed) the biggest launch to date for us!”
Born and raised in Munich, Germany, Weishaupt comes from a long line of craftsmen, entrepreneurs, architects, and artists in his family, who demonstrably informed his curiosity and creativity in the design discipline, in tandem with cultivating ‘an openness to exploring many points of view.’ "What Makes a Man of Parts? A person of many talents and endeavours, they seek inspiration from the world over. Born of a cross-cultural, post-national design sensibility, Man Of Parts was created for global nomads who appreciate craft but prefer a modern experience," the brand relays.
Embodying the brand’s moniker himself, Weishaupt travels the world often, in steady search of ‘unique perspectives’ reflecting the lives of globally minded people. “Stemming from a desire to nurture and guide design innovation, and to collaborate more closely with makers, Man of Parts was launched in 2019, a post-national design brand with inspiration from the world over. Furniture, lighting, accessories, fabrics, and leathers reflect the varied inspirations and lives, also aiming to match the desire for beautiful craft with a modern service experience to reflect a new definition of luxury,” the brand relays. This seeking of diverse inspiration and manifesting them within common aesthetic elements also drove their latest endeavour in the Danish capital.
The design exhibition comprised fresh novelties including Delcourt’s ‘Rue de Babylone’ armchair and sofa which cited 19th-century Parisian architecture as its key inspiration. According to Man of Parts, ‘Rue de Babylone’ guides both locals and tourists alike “through the most celebrated and unassumed segments of Paris. Referencing the angles and silhouettes of the rue, Christophe Delcourt’s design subtly emulates the stature of the French capital.”
Yabu Pushelberg’s ‘El Raval’ bench references Barcelona’s neighbourhood of the same name, a hot pot for multitudes. The area is situated close to the old port and was informally and locally referred to as Barri Xinès or ‘Chinatown,’ while today, an immigrant community from all parts of the world call it home. “Yabu Pushelberg’s diverse inspiration references from as many places as the people who meet in its namesake neighbourhood, as ‘El Raval’ blends diverse perspectives together cohesively,” shares the brand. Another set of furniture designs by the design practice called ‘Lombard Street’ references the namesake street in San Francisco’s Russian Hill, famous for a steep, one-block section with eight hairpin turns designed to help residents descend the hill gracefully. Their ‘Lombard Street’ club chair and sofa design adduces “the beautifully structured curves and formality of the street, providing both comfort and poise for those who sit,” the brand explains.
Yabu Pushelberg’s ‘Rua Leblon’ and ‘Rua Ipanema’ lounge chairs allude to two neighbouring Brazilian landmarks, expressing in their forms and design language, the “gesturing away from the city centre and towards Rio de Janeiro’s Ipanema Beach, (where) Rua Leblon’s landscape evolves from cityscape to rolling waves,” according to the designers. The cosy seaters invite instant relaxation, symbolising an escape from a busy metropolis.
An unembellished series of lamp designs by the Toronto and New York-based design agency called ‘Takayama’ recalled the eponymous Edo-era Mountain town in Japan’s mountainous Gifu Prefecture, famed for Ukai fishing, where fishermen employ a 1,300-year-old technique using trained Cormorant birds. “The birds swoop in and catch fish using the light of the burning baskets hung on rods over the edge of boats to see their prey. The arc of the ‘Takayama’ lamps bear an uncanny resemblance to the fisherman’s friend,” Man of Parts elaborate.
The cantilevered Granville Street Bridge towers above Granville Island, one of Vancouver’s beloved artistic and cultural hubs, stretching through the heart of the city into its busy core of the downtown entertainment district. The soft upholstery employed in Herkner’s ‘Granville Bridge’ armchair and chair design reflects the tranquil grey skies rolling above the Canadian city, while the hardwood structure mimics the suspension bridge itself with its supportive bent plywood back.
The German product designer also presented the ‘Sandy Cove,’ sofa, retracing the offshore of Newfoundland Fogo Island set against a striking coastline, and composed of jutting sea-cliff footpaths and clapboard houses. According to the brand, Sandy Cove is cherished by the remote coastal community and its visitors as a serene, picturesque gathering place. “Sebastian Herkner’s use of buttresses echo both, the natural formations propping up the rugged coastline and their prominence along some of Fogo’s most humble and beautiful structures,” the brand elaborates.
The Wynwood neighbourhood in Miami, Florida boasts of building exteriors that serve as a canvas for leading fine artists, graffiti artists, and muralists, also serving as the inspiration for the contemporary designer's next roster of product designs displayed at Framing. “Synonymous with the neighbourhood’s vibrant murals, Herker disguises abstraction in the 'Wynwood' console. The visual language of the carved shapes, forms, and lines balance spontaneity and structure,” the brand says. Adding on to his contributions is a series of soft, chunky vases named ‘Bowie Boulevard,’ where Herkner references architect Louis I. Kahn’s infamous structural cycloid vaults at the Kimbell Art Museum in the United States. The arranged ‘Bowie’ vases, like the structure of the museum architecture, skillfully amalgamate modern and natural materials within a timeless form.
The ‘Mainkai’ set of lighting designs comprising the ‘3 Table Lamp,’ ‘2 Pendant Lamp,’ ‘5 Floor Lamp,’ and ‘5 Pendant Lamp,’ beautifully culminates Herkner’s contribution to the exhibited roster of functional objects. Mainkai (or Main River Quay in English), is the riverside boulevard in Frankfurt, quite close to the designer’s home in Offenbach. “The spherical fishing floats and mooring buoys that bob along the river with an ethereal glow at night inspired the Mainkai’s adaptation to the pendant design,” shares the Man of Parts.
Known for grit, humour, and contextually relevant modern designs focusing on extraordinary craftsmanship, Workshop/APD displayed their ‘Surfside Drive’ furniture set, indicating the place situated between the town and coast, curving to follow the natural contours of Nantucket’s harbour and the primary building material of its coastal architecture. “Reflecting the bends and curves of the street, Workshop/APD’s rounded design nest or stand-alone,” says the brand, describing the essence behind the ‘Surfside Drive’ coffee table and side table.
Comprising an inspirational portfolio of design-centric businesses, the Weishaupt Design Group, founded in partnership with Yabu and Pushelberg, approaches harmonious design in a way that reflects the personal vision of its founder. The flagship brand is driven by a pure passion for bringing the best of the design world to North America. “Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, Weishaupt Design Group is committed to providing a sustainable future for the Group, our colleagues, collaborators, and clients. Through socially responsible business practices, relationships, and giving back to our global community, we are contributing to a better future for our planet,” informs Weishaupt.