In design and architecture each and every material has its beauty as it serves its own purpose, but probably the most traditional and loved by all for its soft finish and warmth is wood. It marvelously combines the functionality of furniture and the aesthetics of artwork – a quality, which was recently showcased at the Wallpaper Handmade exhibition during Milan’s Design Week. With the creative installation, called “Rotunda Serotina”, designers create a unique food delivery experience.
The Wallpaper Handmade show took place from 15th to 18th April during the famous Salone del Mobile 2015, also known as Milan Design Week, the largest international furniture fair in the world. Visitors at the exhibition could not only see the project “Rotunda Serotina”, but also interact with it and actually use it as it was much more than just an installation. The 3.7-meter high wooden structure included candy store-inspired columns of shelves with wooden snack trays arranged on them. As visitors arrived at the exhibition, they were welcomed by this massive, beautiful structure to enjoy the free savory biscuits, offered by the local bistro T’a Milano.
Forget about traditional catering on exhibitions and other public events. The “Rotunda” brought a feel of warmth within the gallery with its pretty and playful concept. The handmade columns of shelves were arranged in a cylindrical shape and anyone could use the single ladder to reach for their plates as it could slide around inside the structure itself. It was also 3.7-meter in diameter, but instead of being a substantial, heavy piece of furniture – or artwork, as it was both – the “Rotunda” was indeed a light-weight functional sculpture within the walls of a gallery. Visitors took home the wood food plates as limited-edition samples and one-of-a-kind gifts from the exhibition.
But the most unique thing about this project was that it was entirely handmade and it was arranged together without the help of a single nail, screw or glue. It was created as a collaboration between the American Hardwood Export Council, architects from Kolman Boye and furniture-makers Benchmark as a celebration of American cherry wood. The skeleton, the bones of the “Rotunda”, was comprised of 12 elements, set at an angle of 30 degrees to each other, forming a cylindrical shape. The “meat” of the structure, architects say, was inspired by the concept of the aedicule, while the “skin” comprised of 528 stacked wooden trays. Overall, there were 3,084 separate pieces, connected by 1,008 wooden joints.
Although it has been almost forgotten today, American black cherry possesses a natural beauty, it regenerates and ages to a magnificent and rich reddish-brown colour, in contrast to the red, lacquered cherry woods. It has a soft, warm colour and is now growing in popularity as the trend for raw, rugged timber grows bigger. This wood has also a strong environmental profile, compared to other more energy-intensive materials. Moreover, experts claim the “Rotunda” is carbon-neutral on a cradle-to-grave basis, because it takes less than a minute for new growth in American forests to replace the cherry material, used for producing this project.