Sometimes you want to enjoy the pleasures that come with sky and sun, but you don't want to have to actually go outside to do it. This week's group of designers turned our expectations outside in by inviting structures and materials usually slated for the outdoors into the indoors. The results range from droll to downright strange. But perhaps that just means we need to adjust our established outlook.
When the French designer Grégoire de Lafforest took on an 1,100-square-foot Paris loft renovation, he looked to nature for inspiration, placing a dried maritime pine tree adorned with plastic needles in the center of the space. Then he took the idea even further. Around the kitchen, de Lafforest erected a greenhouse constructed from a do-it-yourself kit. This house-within-a-house nicely divides up the space while leaving food preparation both enclosed and exposed.
Residing somewhere between gardening and composting, the installation Final Bloom by the Australian architect and designer Eugene Soler enlists the lopped-off tops of root vegetables as stars in an installation for the British Institute of Interior Design's 2013 conference. Saved from restaurants and friends' kitchens, the veggie caps are placed in shallow pools of water filled by a series of bathroom fixtures (manufactured by the conference's sponsors), where they sprout new growth. The series of containers and the vegetable off-cuts emerging from them look much more like indoor art than kitchen waste.
Because the gondola is always riding high, it's strange to see it so down home. To raise money for the Make a Wish foundation, a group of Swiss artists and designers repurposed vintage ski gondolas for the Verbier Mountain Climbers exhibition at Design Miami/Basil last June. One industrial designer put a four-seater on rockers, and a team of product and fashion designers made a three-way folding mirror from a vehicle's panels. The artist Baker Wardlaw saw a more playful utility. His take on the gondola turns it into a giant gumball vending machine that dispenses colorful bouncy balls.
The industrial designer Adrien Rovero transformed a gondola into a four-seat rocking chair. Verbier Mountain Climbers photos by Annik Wetter. Baker Wardlaw's gondola vending machine Atelier Oï's installation features "rope wings" that rise when the user turns a crank inside the gondola.