In an occasional series of blog posts to mark our 50th Anniversary, we are highlighting some of the iconic masterpieces of 20th Century design that were first introduced to the UK market by Aram Designs.

Toio Lamp

 

Toio Lamp

Designed by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni in 1962

Introduced to the UK market by Aram Designs in 1965

The Toio Lamp’s shape and aesthetic was born from assembling ready-made, industrial materials but then modifying their functions and giving them new applications.  The curved steel structure that rises up from the base functions as a handle and also holds the height-adjustable, hexagonal chromed steel stem equipped with fishing rod loops which channel the electrical leads up to the light source. The universal transformer is kept in plain view at the base but this also serves as a counterweight for stability.

Two curved steel rods hold the light source; a special 300 watt car headlamp which, in the 60’s, was originally imported from the United States.

Toio Lamp

Manufactured since its inception by Flos in Italy, Toio is a sculptural object of industrial robustness. The frame is available in red, black or white.

Myles Brown

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Aram 50 - since 1964

Today is the very day it all started 50 years ago back in 1964.  Zeev Aram opened his first showroom on the Kings Road, Chelsea on 9th April of that year.

Aram Designs 57 Kings Road

He took a lease on the property at number 57, a former greasy spoon café called the Cosy Dining Room (three-course lunch for 3s 6d in those days…), and transformed it into a modernist sanctuary for all those design mavens yearning to bring a little chromed steel and glass furniture into their homes.

With its stark and minimalist interior, his showroom certainly cut a swathe through all the ‘swinging’ that was going on in London at that time and quizzical passers-by who would stop and press their noses up against the window were mostly left confused by what they saw inside. Zeev Aram would, discreetly, stand outside the showroom listening to the dissenters as they drifted by but still have a wry smile on his face as, for him, it was much more important for there to be a reaction (good or bad) rather than indifference.

What these cynical voyeurs didn’t realise was that they were actually peering into the birth of a bold attempt to inject an appreciation of modern taste into the furniture buying populace. The ‘rubbish’ and ‘uncomfortable’ furniture, as they referred to it, was actually designed by Bauhaus icon, Marcel Breuer, the Italian maverick, Achille Castiglioni and, over the next couple of years, the works of Le Corbusier would be displayed in the window (the famous LC4 chaise longue took pride of place, above) and become available to the UK market for the first time, all thanks to the tenacity and uncompromising vision of Mr. Zeev Aram.

Aram Store 110 Drury Lane Covent Garden

What’s fascinating is that this same scenario still plays out today at the Aram Store here on Drury Lane whereby people will curiously leer in through the vast shop front windows and wonder what lies within…  a scenario, I imagine, that will still be playing out in another 50 years time.

MYLES BROWN

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Salone del Mobile

The Milan Furniture Fair – or ‘Salone’ for short – is the largest trade fair of its kind in the world, showcasing the latest trends and designs from over 2,500 companies across 230,000 square metres of the Fiera Milano showground. Milan itself becomes and extended exhibition space for the week as flagship showrooms and areas such as Zona Tortona host events and installations for the many global visitors.

The 'Salone' at the Fiera Milano showground

Many manufacturers present prototypes of new concepts to gauge reaction that then informs the full production version of a design later in the year. New stuff is usually seen in Milan first!

This year we will be tweeting and posting live from the fair throughout the week (8th to 13th April), so follow us on twitter and facebook to see our pick of the most interesting stuff on show.

Home is at the heart of the Salone – watch an introductory video from iSaloni.

ARAM STORE

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Hans Wegner's 100th Birthday

Wednesday 2nd April 2014 would have been Danish designer Hans J Wegner’s 100th birthday. To celebrate this centenary, manufacturer Carl Hansen & Søn are offering a very special edition of Wegner’s most well-known design – the CH24 ‘Wishbone’ chair. Order your Wishbone chair in the OILED OAK and NATURAL PAPERCORD finish and it will be specially engraved with Wegner’s signature. The engraving is done by laser on the side stretcher of the chair and includes the date 2/4/2014.

Designer Hans J Wegner

Order your oiled oak Wishbone chair now as these special ‘signed’ versions are sure to become highly sought-after collectors’ pieces.

ARAM STORE

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In an occasional series of blog posts to mark our 50th Anniversary, we are highlighting some of the iconic masterpieces of 20th Century design that were first introduced to the UK market by Aram Designs.

Sanluca by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni

Sanluca Armchair

Designed by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni in 1961

Introduced to the UK market by Aram Designs in 1965

Sanluca Armchair

The Sanluca represents a very interesting study into the possibilities of providing a comfortable armchair comprised of a very rigid structure.  The design process was developed using models made of clay, plaster and wood along with meticulous ergonomic research, resulting in a certain autonomy that suggests an idea of elasticity rather than a disciplined form.

Sketches for Sanluca by the Castiglioni brothers

The armchair is composed of three separate points (seat, backrest and headrest) of support with a pressed steel frame padded with polyurethane foam in varying degrees of thickness and then upholstered in leather.  Separately manufactured and finished, the three elements are then bolted together before the lathe-turned, solid wood legs are inserted into the structure of the lateral armrests

Sanluca - made by Poltrona Frau

Made in Italy by world-renowned manufacturer Poltrona Frau, Sanluca is available in leather upholstery in a wide range of colours.

Myles Brown

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Outdoor Furniture Offer for Spring

It’s officially Spring! The days are now longer than the nights and, after such a wet winter, we’re hoping for a fabulous Summer to make up for it. So thoughts turn to enjoying our outdoor spaces – dining and relaxing under sunny or starry skies – and we are offering a 15% discount off all of our outdoor furniture range this week.

Cane-Line Outdoor Furniture

Cane-Line is a Danish company and has been producing specialist, weather proof furniture, worldwide, for 25 years. Their use of the phrase ‘life made comfortable’ encapsulates the philosophy behind a mission to add value to the environments where you unwind and relax by putting aesthetics and functionality hand in hand.

Cane-Line Outdoor Furniture

The range consists of sofas, lounge chairs, dining chairs and tables and a selection of side and coffee tables… even rugs; all finished in weather-proof and virtually maintenance-free materials such as polyethylene and coated polyesters that are UV resistant, colourfast and resistant to water or frost damage.

Outdoor sofas and chairs

Sofa and chair cushions are upholstered in Cane-line Tex® (a coated polyester fabric) and filled with QuickDryFoam® providing maximum drainage and air circulation which allows the cushions to dry faster – within 20 mins – after exposure to rain, dew or splashes from your pool! The QuickDryFoam® also has antibacterial protection which prevents any risk of fungus or mould growth within the cushion. We should also add that the Cane-Line range of furniture is available on a very short order lead time from stock in Denmark and can be delivered into our London warehouse within two weeks from the point of order.

The Schultz Collection

Knoll International has recently brought the Schultz Collection to the European market. Commissioned in the 1960s by Florence Knoll, she specifically requested a range of outdoor furniture that would withstand the corrosive salt air of her Florida ocean-front home. The result was the 1966 Collection, made from cast and extruded aluminium and weather resistant polyester powder coating and comprising dining tables, dining chairs and loungers.

Knoll Outdoor Furniture

Magis Design is an Italian company that specialises in the design opportunities afforded by moulded plastics. Utilising the skills of well-known designers such as Konstantin Grcic, Javier Mariscal, el Ultimo Grito, Jasper Morrison, Tom Heatherwick, Ron Arad and Jaime Hayon, many of their designs have become instant modern classics. Plastics such as polypropylene and polyethylene are well suited to use outdoors and the bright colours that can be employed add a touch of playfulness and joy to any space, whether it’s an urban balcony or patio or an English country garden.

Magis Design

This offer is available for one week only – Friday 21 March to Sunday 30 March – and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer or discount.

ARAM STORE

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Martino Gamper – whose designs have been exhibited in The Aram Gallery, including the prototype of his ‘Sit Together’ bench – has curated a new exhibition at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery: ‘Design is a State of Mind’. The exhibition draws together collections of found items belonging to Gamper’s own friends, who are also designers and artists, and the shelves on which to display these objects.

USM Haller modular storage

USM Haller modular storage (right) with Jason Evans’ wooden spoons

The shelving units represent some of the 20th century’s definitive designs, by Alvar Aalto, Dieter Rams, Charlotte Perriand and Franco Albini et al, including the USM Haller modular storage system and Vico Magistretti’s Nuvola Rossa bookcase made by Cassina.

Nuvola Rossa Vico Magistretti

Nuvola Rossa bookcase by Vico Magistretti

The collections themselves are a mixture of the mundane and the curious, found objects that throw light on the things that inspire us and which suggest that design does not exist in a bubble but in the context of a broad spectrum of cultural and personal references. The USM units for example, display photographer Jason Evans’ collection of wooden spoons, picked up on his travels and displayed like archeological artefacts. Alvar Aalto’s 112B shelves hold designer Fabien Cappello’s unintentional collection of bowls.

Aalto 112B Shelf Fabien Cappello

Alvar Aalto’s 112B shelves (centre) with Fabien Cappello’s bowls

As Gamper says: “There is no perfect design and there is no über-design. Objects talk to us personally. Some might be more functional than others, and the emotional attachment is very individual. This exhibition will showcase a very personal way of collecting and gathering objects – these are pieces that tell a tale.”

The exhibition runs until 21 April 2014.

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In an occasional series of blog posts to mark our 50th Anniversary, we are highlighting some of the iconic masterpieces of 20th Century design that were first introduced to the UK market by Aram Designs.

Arco Floor Lamp Achille Pier Giacomo Castiglioni

Arco Floor Lamp

Designed by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni in 1962

Introduced to the UK market by Aram Designs in 1965

In 1962, Achille (1918–2002) and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni (1913–1968) produced what has probably come to be their best known design: the Arco Floor Lamp.  The idea came to them through the challenge of a practical problem – how to provide a ceiling lamp that would not require the drilling of a hole in the ceiling?  Achille’s motto, “design demands observation” proved accurate, for it was a street lamp that gave the brothers their inspiration.

Arco Floor Lamp 1962 Flos

In adapting their design for domestic use, the Castiglioni brothers were able to illuminate objects eight feet away from the lamp’s base – far enough to light the centre of a dining table – by inserting a steel arch into the solid marble base.  The overall span of the arch is formed to provide enough space for one person carrying a tray to pass behind someone sitting at the table.  They also ensured that the heavy (64kg) base could be more easily moved by placing a hole in the marble through which a broom handle could be inserted and carried by two people.

Arco Floor Lamp - LED light source Flos

Since its inception, the genuine Arco has been made in Italy by Flos. The only change to its original design has been the introduction of an LED light source to bring the lamp in line with new energy use norms. This version and the original are both available from Aram.

Myles Brown

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In an occasional series of blog posts to mark our 50th Anniversary, we are highlighting some of the iconic masterpieces of 20th Century design that were first introduced to the UK market by Aram Designs.

The Wassily or B3 Chair

Wassily Chair

Designed by Marcel Breuer in 1925

Introduced to the UK market by Aram Designs in 1964

Marcel Breuer (1902-1981) is best known as one of the early 20th century’s most influential furniture designers.  In 1925, when Walter Gropius invited him to run the furniture workshop at the new Bauhaus in Weimar, one of his first projects was the B3 ‘Steel Club Chair’ (later re-named the ‘Wassily’ after his colleague at the Bauhaus, Wassily Kandinsky) made from extruded, nickel -plated tubular steel.  Unusually light and easy to assemble from ready-made steel tubes; the chair was the result of Breuer’s years of experiments with bending steel and was immediately hailed as an important breakthrough in furniture design. “I thought that this out of all my work would earn me the most criticism,” he noted, “but the opposite of what I expected came true.”

The Wassily Chair made by Knoll International

Today, the genuine authorised Wassily Chair is made by Knoll International. The steel frame of each chair is stamped with Breuer’s signature and the KnollStudio logo. The slings are available in natural canvas, haired hide or belting leather in a variety of colours.

Myles Brown

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Conseta is 50

Aram Designs Ltd is 50 years old this year and so is the Conseta sofa from COR Sitzmöbel of Germany. To celebrate, we are offering any configuration of the versatile, modular sofa at special prices: leather upholstery for the price of fabric, and fabric upholstery at a reduced price. This offer applies to a number of leather types from COR’s ‘Semi’ or ‘Dura’ ranges and to COR’s standard range of fabrics and lasts throughout 2014.

Conseta at IMM Cologne

When Conseta was presented at IMM Cologne in 1964, it was ahead of its time

Designed by Friedrich-Wilhelm Möller, Conseta has become a symbol of the manufacturer’s pioneering spirit and its creator’s foresight. When launched at IMM Cologne in 1964 only two orders were placed. Possibly the multi-combinable elements of the sofa were ahead of their time. Stools, easy chairs or corner elements can be combined to create two, three or multi-seaters. The result is always an entire system which is both aesthetic and functional.

The Conseta in Leather

Over the decades, COR has developed this principle into a best-seller. New elements have now been added to the design classic – flat armrests and storage tables which are reminiscent of the initial design. The building block principle has remained unchanged, but further blocks have been added in the form of a low element that can be used as a solo or corner stool and a comfortable sofa bed. Elegant metal skid bases are available in a chrome-plated or lacquered finish.

Conseta Corner and Chaise Configuration

Conseta units including a corner and a chaise with an open base and cylinder legs

Conseta Divan Base

Conseta units with a ‘divan’ style base incorporating an ottoman as the corner unit

Conseta Wide Angled Corner

Conseta units including a wide angled corner

Visit the store to see all of the module variations, leathers and fabrics and to design your perfect Conseta sofa configuration.

ARAM STORE

 

 

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