Bird-shaped spoons, Beehive lamps and a Barbecue in a suitcase. Mermelada Design Studio shows us how it is possible to balance wit with functional design, perfectly.
Once in a while comes along a design studio that conjures up everyday products so full of charming wit that you wonder why no one thought of those designs before. Mermelada is a design studio founded by designers Laura Blasco, Juanmi Juárez and Álex Estévez. The trio met in Barcelona and formed the studio with the common aim of “finding the extraordinary in the ordinary”.
The studio is still fairly young, but their body of work is receiving accolades and mentions worldwide. One of their first products ‘Maya’ (2009) is a beehive inspired modular lamp that can ‘grow’ to a user-specified size. The lamps can be slotted together to create a beehive-like design as big or as small as you like. There’s a lot of scope for customisation and for playing around, allowing users to create an ambience of their choice.
If you like to surprise your guests, try the ‘Campana’ (2011), a mini-bar disguised as a traditional cake-cover. Its conical shape allows it to hold 6-8 bottles. Your guests might expect cake, but might be pretty happy with drinks too.
One of my favourite Mermelada products is ‘Birds’ (2011), a set of six handmade bird-shaped knives with their own charming personalities. Represented in their quirky glory are the Colibri (Hummingbird), the Oca (Goose), Pelican, Toucan, Garza (Heron) and Jilguero (Goldfinch). Each knife has a bamboo handle, a tempered stainless-steel blade and a screw with a graphite finish.
Another elegant design I’d love to see in stores here is the ‘Welcome’ (Kvadrat, 2011). Call it an igloo, a tent or a playhouse. Inspired by the traditional Chinese paper lantern (and childhood memories of the designers), a skeletal structure of rings holds a skin composed of two colours of the Hallingdal 65 fabric. Inside, little geometric graphics embroidered onto the fabric add a special dimension to the playful interiors.
In 2012, the studio designed ‘Pipes’, a floor candelabra that gets its inspiration from “the pipes and pipelines we encounter every day”. Made from six tubes of different diameters joined together on a highly-polished disc of Carrara marble, the candelabra reminds one of a tree in winter, bare branches elegantly reaching out to the sky.
A new idea for displaying things is the ‘Senyoret’ (2012), with its five multi-level polished stainless steel tubes rising out of a painted steel base. These tubes are topped with plates of different shapes and sizes allowing endless variation for showcasing your choicest objects.
Moving away from their usual design is the ‘Nansa’, a swing with a wicker-basket design (albeit with gold-plated steel slats), that comes with or without a backrest. The Nansa is a pretty departure from the usual swings available and the minimalist look and upholstery might make it an ideal fit for a contemporary home.
Showcasing their wit and trademark charm is the ‘Mon oncle’ (2014), a barbecue hidden in a vintage suitcase. You can carry it everywhere with ease and your guests will be delighted with the illustration and design. Available in three beautiful colours, the ‘Mon oncle’ will get you invited out much more often, for sure.
The amateur gardener in me approves of the ‘Dom’ vase which is designed to contain just one beautiful thing inside of it – whether it is a fruit, flower, feather or cactus, say the designers.
The laborious and imperfect plastic dome is produced by 3d printing. The rule of thumb is “You can see but can’t touch.” The 3D printed plastic dome is futuristic already and combined with the metal, glass and wood forming the base, thus becoming a sculptural piece for your home.
The simplicity of Mermelada studio’s designs makes you smile. Their products are all very useful and practical, but that tiny bit of quirk present in each one of them makes you want to stock up and hope that the poetry will spill into other aspects of your space as well.
Text By Chryselle D’Silva Dias
Photographs (Various) Courtesy The Designer