Art and design are natural allies when it comes to creating spaces that are vibrant and full of character. It’s not uncommon to see iconic design pieces exhibited at art galleries as these pieces alone can usher in creative vibes with or without additional artworks. But are these to be found at the galleries only? Not really. Nodus, Altreforme and Umzikim are three contemporary design brands that have captured my attention for their sheer originality and willingness to take risks. If you’re ready to depart from the pared-down Scandinavian aesthetic already present on countless interior blogs, these names are definitely worth checking out. Let’s have a closer look at some of their products.
Who said that creative expression should be limited to the walls of your apartment? For Nodus, an Italian manufacturer of high-end rugs, the floor is an equally important (and often overlooked) space to showcase your artistic side. The brand goal is to design hand-knotted, custom-made carpets, each of them unique, combining the artisanal traditions of Nepal, Pakistan, India, Turkmenistan, Turkey and China with a contemporary feel and a touch of extravagance. I remember the first time that I saw Nodus rugs during the 2017 edition of Brera Design Week, displayed in the courtyard of the 16th century cloister of San Simpliciano. They immediately caught my eye with their bold patterns and irregular shapes, very much in contrast with a quiet atmosphere of the historical location.
Some of the most eye-catching Nodus designs are the fruits of collaborations with leading architects and design studios such as Luca Nichetto, Studio Job, Nendo, Sebastian Herkner and Pietro Derossi to name only a few. The Oltre collection by Marco Carini artfully references paintings by Mark Rothko, while the round Carnival rug by Kiki van Eijk is inspired by watercolours and Venetian masks.
If you’re searching for a brand that is funky, creative and a little bit irreverent look no further than Altreforme. The experimental Italian project was born as a diffusion of Fontana Group that produces aluminium bodies for luxury cars, which means that they borrow innovative solutions from the automotive industry and apply them to design. Last year Altreforme celebrated its 10th anniversary with ‘Raw&Rainbow’, a limited-edition series of ten objects created by five young Italian designers: Antonio Aricò, Serena Confalonieri, Marcantonio, Alessandro Zambelli and the design duo Zanellato/Bortotto. Each of them came up with two designs: one ‘raw’ inspired by aluminium (Altreforme’s principal material), the other more pop with rainbow colours. These playful objects can imbue your home with joy, while making a powerful visual statement.
A Seoul and Milan based Korean brand will satisfy your penchant for dreamy, unicorn-style objects in iridescent hues. Vases from the Mellow Collection offer a contemporary spin on the late 19th century Impressionism – the colour technique applied to the acrylic surface is a modern, minimalist interpretation of the Colour Split method used by painters of that era. You can see a similar effect in the Neon H table that reflects the colours of the sunrise and the sunset. These vibrant designs can make your space brim with kaleidoscopic, translucent vibes. The collection was on display at the Rossana Orlandi gallery, famous for promoting unconventional and artistic approach to design.
The designs that I’ve featured above can enhance both minimalist and eclectic interiors. Hopefully, they will inspire your creativity and invite you to experiment with colour and forms to add some more personality to your own space.