Gotta Serve Somebody
Artek x Forbo Linoleum challenge a new generation of design talent
For over 80 years Artek and Forbo Flooring Systems have worked together to produce many of Artek's best-loved designs. To celebrate a relationship typified by a shared commitment to the highest standards of quality, the brands invited young design students to experiment with the two materials with which Artek and Forbo are most intimately associated: wood and linoleum.
The students, all participants of the Aalto University Master's programme in Furniture Design, were challenged to create furniture that expresses the essence of hosting: trust, generosity and goodwill. The brief was titled "Gotta Serve Somebody" inspired by the Bob Dylan song, and asked the students to design products made of wood and linoleum that remain in keeping with Artek values. The work has been showcased during the Helsinki Design week in 2018 in the Artek Helsinki Store.
Investigate and re-examining
This page shows the results of material investigation driven design course by 14 MA students from Aalto University School of Art, Design and Architecture in Finland.
The project aimed at re-examining the culture of hospitality, how do we serve, entertain, host, amuse and enjoy the company of others. Students studied the functional properties of linoleum through hands-on experimentation and by building 1:1 scale furniture prototypes.
Parasite is a side table. The table tray is handy when carrying food or drinks and then it could be attached to any table using the wooden clamp for extra space as needed.
Pedro García Alcázar
"Leize" means cavern in Basque, this tubular coffee table is the result of a material-structural form-finding process using plywood and linoleum. The flat and rigid surface of the table is created by folding materials in perpendicular directions. The gentle wave keeps the light and warm feeling of the wood inside while the colourful linoleum is used on the outside giving the durable and characteristic finishing.
Bump works as a sidetable and stool. My aim in this project was to explore the possibilities of linoleum not only as surface material but also as part of the structure. Linoleum as a flexible shell has been set to hold its soft three-dimensional shape by using urethane spray foam and that has made it to be the structure itself.
Notko is a side table for lounge and lobby spaces. The idea behind the table was to demonstrate the flexible properties of linoleum with a loosely hanging linoleum loop. The hanging loop, which acts as a magazine pocket, provides an interesting contrast between a free formed organic shape and the strict geometrical frame construction. The two different table top shapes are the outcome of an investigation of numerous different shapes and constructions to find a form that supports and demonstrates the linoleum loop in the most favorable way.
Keela is a table for the public and private home and office. Designed with the "serve and hospitality" concept, this end table features cantilever platforms with smokey blue linoleum surface qualities; the upper platform functions as a removable serving tray supported by a tapered rod structure. Keela reflects modern focal aesthetics while being lightweight, simplistic and held together by gravity-having convenient assemblage and flat-packaging design.
The name of the low shelf phi comes from the symbol ɸ, which is resemble to the section of the design. And its rigid wooden frame features with flexible linoleum surface makes it friendly and invites people to use.
Frame is a multifunctional foldable table and a shelf for small living spaces. It consists of a birchwood frame and four different sized shelves, which can be set on three different levels to suit varying purposes. While not in use, it functions as a composition on a wall, and playing with different colours of linoleum surfaces, it can be arranged in several ways, and so it offers various visual options.
Viisto is designed for a smaller living space. This foldable table is perfect for entertaining when there otherwise would not be enough table space. The table top doubles as a serving tray for added convenience. The linoleum makes the table durable and ensures that the table retains its form throughout its use.
Rako stool features gaps between each element for highlighting the minimal structure with lightness. The rounded 9mm legs give a sense of lightness to its sophisticated design. All the outer surfaces are covered by linoleum, designed to bring aesthetic impression as well as functionality.
A side table for lighter joyful moments: material and soft shapes of the side table rehearse the theme of the nostalgic time that the new generation is living for their first time so far only.
Vakka means a container and it is traditionally made out of wood. The Vakka table utilizes the flexibility of linoleum by making the round container under the table itself and that way making more storage space. Designer Roosa Väyliö was inspired by Mad men and the drinking culture from that TV-series.
Plum side table has a spacious container component that works as a storage unit for tableware and its lid functions as a protective cover as well as a table top. By removing the container, Plum transforms into an agile small table for serving and intimate moments. Sandblast treatment of the linoleum offers a surface quality with increased friction preventing sliding and a smooth and soft feel inviting for interaction by touching.
Tea-rolley is a mobile tea table for the tea time. The ritual of preparing and serving tea has even held a casual place in the hearts and minds of the common people. Every step taken during the ceremony is meant to be a sensory exploration and appreciation. In this tea ceremony, washing bowls are needed and pour the hot tea that has been brewing for five minutes and fill the washing bowl with hot tea. Throughout this process, I have come to see the benefit of linoleum for the waterproof ability. The water used in the tea table is as important as the tea culture itself. The ideal compact modernized tea table should be this tea-rolley.
It is interesting to explore how to combine linoleum and veneer in different ways and to find the tube structure light but strong. Inspired by the Japanese Torii, I designed and made a coat stand and matched coat hangers with this fantastic material structure and texture contrast.