A roster of design heavyweights from Pentagram’s London and New York Studios have come together with Italian graphic designer Astrid Stavro for a project centred on tangible, tactile design. Collaborating with Mallorcan hydraulic tile, cement and terrazzo producer Huguet, the seven Pentagram partners and Stavro deliver a collection of intriguing tiles and traditionally crafted objects. The resulting pieces – ranging from a coffee table with a swappable top from Matt Willey and tiles visualising Chopin’s famous 24 Preludes from Giorgia Lupi – are on show for the first time as part of this year’s London Design Festival (LDF) at Cromwell Place from 19-25 September.
Conceived by Astrid Stavro, the project concept is simple: seven partners are invited to create unexpected objects using Huguet’s traditional production methods and materials. The results are wide ranging. Giorgia Lupi, for example, has created a tiling-cum-data visualisation project, harnessing colours, shapes and stripe thickness to represent musical elements from 24 Preludes. The Huguet x Pentagram site explains: “Thick horizontal stripes represent tempo, with more bars signifying a greater number of beats per minute. Conversely, thick vertical stripes signify the number of octaves each piece covers.”
Sound designer and artist Yuri Suzuki, on the other hand, has utilised dimensionality. “We wanted to try and play with the 3D aspect of the tile material, as well as exploring colour, texture and pattern,” the site explains. Totem features a series of playful objects which can be assembled to create doll-like figures.
Matt Willey’s take on the brief is similarly interactive. The Brooklyn-based designer has cast a cement coffee table with a top featuring 16 handmade Huguet tiles. In an exciting twist, the table allows for an ever-changing series of design combinations, owing to a series of holes in the table base. Audiences can move and swap the titles to create a “nearly infinite number of compositions, making the table an ever-changing installation”, says the site. Three sets of 16 tiles have been designed, meaning audiences can swap out tiles and collect different sets to create more combinations.
Other designers to create work for the project include Sascha Lobe, who has developed a flexible 18-unit tile system based on Le Corbusier’s study of modules. Astrid Stavro has contributed a collection of cork tiles “celebrat[ing] the beauty and heritage of the Mediterranean”, while Jody Hudson-Powell reimagines tiles as a piece of technology that can be responsive to the environment – softly glowing as day turns to night. Jon Marshall has created a series of botanically inspired terrazzo tiles, whereas Luke Powell’s showcases a colourful take on the geological process of stratification. Read more about the project at the Huguet x Pentagram site here.
Matt Willey: Huguet x Pentagram (Copyright © Huguet / Pentagram, 2022)
About the Author
Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating from the University of Bristol, they worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, Indie magazine and design studio Evermade.