With the Upside Downby Yuval Saar | 12.08.15
Morning traffic, two and a half year old toddler, a children’s book, YouTube tutorials and whimsical street sculptures – this is the inspiration list of Bakery Studio designers for their new and charming table series – “Upside Down”.
“The beginning of the project stemmed from our on-going interest in tin sheets,” say designers Gili Kuchik and Ran Amitai. “We wanted to use them in a way we have never tried before – A visible, external construction caught our interest,” they elaborate.
“At first we thought of making chairs, but as we played around with crafting different chair models, we realized that the interesting things happen under the seat or behind the backrest, and would have gone unseen since a chair has to be sat on, which meant that the seat itself and backrest have to be smooth surfaces.”
So how did you finally realize that what you really wanted to create were tables?
“When we started developing the project we would drive to the studio together, and every morning we would get stuck in the same traffic jam on a street that had funny street sculptures of all sorts of creatures. We were immensely inspired by these sculptures, and would say to each other- ‘Wow, we have got to incorporate this detailed tail in our project…’ Finally, on one such morning, we started to sketch, and suddenly realized that we had to make tables. Tables will enable us to bring the beauty of the construction into the visible, upper surface and it could be utilized for functional things such as the edges of the table or the inner space division”.
That day Kuchik and Amitai got to the studio and within three hours, they put together the first model. It was a table made of iron and the weldings were very coarse. “It was so ugly, but we knew that we were on the right path… From there we started the formative development process through models and sketches, but we already had the concept for the project cracked. Even though it required a lot of design work, that stage was pretty smooth and flowed easily.
“In addition, our daughter Maya’s favorite book at the time was a children’s book named ‘Big Cat, Small Cat.’ In one of the book’s sequences, the cat is described as lying splayed upside down, and Maya kept on saying that. We really got to love this term and started using it amongst ourselves, and at the moment we created the first table, it was clear that ‘Upside Down’ would be the project’s name.”
How did the design process happen- from the initial sketches to the actual manufacturing of the tables?
“Since working with craftsmen in Israel is difficult and the two of us are such control freaks, it was clear that we would do the manufacturing ourselves. Our metal expert gave us guidance throughout the planning of the templates, we watched tutorials on YouTube about welding and that was it, off we went. We like being close to the manufacturing process and to have an understanding of a project’s weaker or problematic spots. It was very important to us that the end product would have two facets to it- the construction itself and the smooth, untouched part. Even though the smooth part is at the table’s bottom and can’t be seen from a straightforward view, we made an efforts to preserve its smoothness and keep it natural and undecorated.”
So where do you draw the line between creating a cool object and crafting something functional that can actually be used overtime?
“This project started out very clearly out of our own fascination and interest in designing something like this, without putting too much stress at all on functionality or the manufacturing process. We consciously took the liberty of losing ourselves in the maze of creation, even at a price of getting somewhere that has little to do with actual design. Eventually this liberty brought us to finding a new configuration of tables that has functional values.”
// Translation from hebrew by Joy Bernard