Athanasios Babalis and Christina Skouloudi, independent industrial designers based in Thessaloniki, Greece, recently collaborated on a collection of six objects that were inspired by the myth of the Argonauts.
This year, they decided to work together in order to create objects with clean but intense sculptural forms, with respect to the material's qualities and an unconventional approach in the objects, utility. The objective was also to collaborate with local but highly skilled crafts people and companies and together redefine the limits of design and craft.
The six pieces share a distinctly minimal design philosophy, and while there is no uniform aesthetic, all of them reject traditional tropes in favor of a more experimental formal approach. Thus, the underlying theme—again, taking a cue from Jason and his intrepid shipmates—is simply exploration:
The Argonauts, went on a long journey to seek the "Golden Fleece." Metaphorically, the modern Argonauts: the team of designers, makers and their work, are on a long journey in search for design excellence.
The "Actor" notebook case is a slimmed-down wooden suitcase, designed to house a laptop, its power supply and mouse in the felt-lined interior. It comes in one size that accommodates notebooks up to 17”, with an innovative hinged opening: "The stainless steel door can be secured with a lock or a thumb screw."
The "Atalanta" fruit bowl—available in a variety of solid woods and three sizes—is an "interactive" take on an otherwise mundane article of tableware, designed to shift depending on the distribution of its contents.
Similarly, the "Atalanta" salt and pepper shaker (below) also resemble spinning tops, plumb bobs or even little creatures that "are lying there waiting to serve you."
At first glance, I thought the "Lolas" serving tray started as a flattened cylinder with a hole cut in it, yet Babalis characterizes it as "a light wooden tray with handles that are an extension of the tray surface." Either way, it is available in two sizes (47 and 60 cm) and two veneers (Oak and Walnut).
The "Staphylos" fruit bowl is arguably even less conventional than the "Atalanta": its form is based on "the variety in size of the fruits themselves and especially the shape of the grapes." The solid wood piece comes in an off-white or black finish.
The last, most abstract piece (and only one that isn't made of wood or veneer) is, fittingly, a lighting element: "Asterion" draws inspiration from nature and manufacture alike: "Inspired by the fish gills and the magnificent three dimensional form that the metal sheet acquires when it is cut. The light in the center plays with the metal gills and casts amazing shadows on its surface and the surrounding walls."
View the full "Argonaut" collection in person at 100% Design at Earl's Court from September 22 – 25 during London Design Week.