Live@ICFF: Yes, It’s Also Made of Wood

Moments after filing her roundup of interesting wood furniture at this year’s fair, our senior editor spotted one last wooden collection that merits special mention.

Peter Mabeo is back at ICFF with more furnishings beautifully made by craftswomen in Gaborone, Botswana—but this year’s pieces were designed by global powerhouses Claesson Koivisto Rune and Patricia Urquiola. Mabeo met Urquiola while attending a conference in Cape Town, South Africa. They quickly decided to work together, and Urquiola accelerated the pace in order to have the pieces ready to show at a Salone del Mobile offsite event, last month, devoted to Africa. She designed a traditional-looking stool and variations on a side table, some of which feature a decorative detail embroidered in the same salvaged telephone wire that she saw local basket makers using during her trip.

Mabeo’s pairing with Mårten Claesson, Eero Koivisto, and Ola Rune came about in an even more unlikely way, at least geographically speaking. The London design store Skandium, which specializes in Scandinavian designs and is run by a Swede, a Finn, and a Dane who now live in England, carries the Maun Windsor Chair because the simple lines of Patty Johnson’s design fit well with their collection. But when Skandium creative director Chrystina Schmidt asked Mabeo for a complementary table, he told her he’d need the name of a Scandinavian designer. CKR delivered the sketches for the Kalahari table just last month, yet Mabeo’s artisans were able to produce the prototype in time for ICFF. With three legs, no frame underneath, and tonal dots on the surface, the design is deceptively complex. Made entirely of iroko, it had to be collapsible so it could be shipped from Botswana to anywhere in the world. Accordingly, the chubby legs screw directly into the tabletop, but don’t come all the way through to the surface: the three dots are simply a pleasing illusion. “It looks almost like a kid could have made it,” Koivisto said happily.

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