Robert Bronwasser likes to make you smile – and this is precisely the philosophy and driving force behind his successful design studio.
Colourful, shapely and useful are three words that spring to mind when one looks at the prolific portfolio of Amsterdam-based designer Robert Bronwasser and his design studio SMOOL.
His motto is simple: to put a daily smile upon your face. That, in fact, is the philosophy behind his designs, all of which aim to be smart, modest, iconic, logical and enjoyable.
Do the designs pass the test? Let’s see. Bronwasser has been designing industrial and interior products for over twenty years now. It comes as no surprise then, that right from the beginning, his designs have been consistently innovative and honest. His lines are straight-forward and the products are clearly seen for what they are intended. There are no surplus flourishes or unnecessary design statements.
Take his collection for interior brand Cascando, for example. Who knew there could be so many fun designs for coat hangers? Flower is a coat stand that enlivens your space and also holds umbrellas, Tree is another free standing coat-stand that can hold up to 20 coats and jackets. Snow is inspired by a snow crystal, while the Pole is true to its name.
The variety of designs apart, the simplicity and usefulness of the design is important here. The Kangaroo wall hook is decorative on its own, but is also terrific for hanging a coat or shirt by the shoulders, like a traditional hanger, keeping the creases out.
Apart from coat hangers and wall hooks, Bronwasser’s Cascando range also includes the Leaf magazine rack, Round20 brochure holders and conference tables Blog Table.
Also for Cascando is the innovative Pillow Space series of room dividers. The foam-based Pillow Space has sound-absorbing properties. It can be fitted with a clothes rail, shelves, or lockers inside and coat-hooks or magazine racks on the outside, making it a truly functional item.
The Casual range of chairs is something we could all do with in our homes. Why? Because it has several storage options embedded within the elegant design. A detachable side pocket and a storage compartment at the back puts things literally at arm’s length.
Bronwasser has an extensive portfolio of interior products ranging from honeycomb shaped foam wine racks called Grape’ for Goods, colourful watering cans that minimise spillage – Spring for Goods, lightweight foam trays that double up as laptop trays – James and the SMOOL Bucket.
Got a nose for money? You might like this irreverent take on the traditional piggybank. The Moneypig is part of an earthenware series for Royal Goedewaagen. Traditional blue and white design meets contemporary fun in the form of a detachable gold nose on the pig. The series also has the Tulip Tile which is a tulip vase made from two tiles, Tableware, and Ceramic People – Holly, Bolly and Dolly.
The Ceramic Kitchen range of toasters, citrus presses and kettles brings modern pottery concepts to everyday objects. In beautiful neutral colours with grey lids, the range is instantly identifiable and gives appliances an integrated, cohesive appearance. The Kitchentools range of kitchen utensils has one innovative feature – a magnet in the handle allows you to hang the utensils without any hooks.
The Hommedia TV is another unusual concept which gives your television a centre-space while hiding its ugly or bulky design. A dress for the TV, if you will.
The award-winning Crave collection for PMI Aladdin is a series of leak-proof containers with built-in bowls and cups. No more spilled food or plastic bags.
The One cup is actually several cups that are part of a set for Simon Levelt. The porcelain cups are of different sizes yet all fit into a uniform saucer. The iconic handle is an integral part of the design.
Apart from industrial spaces and interiors, Bronwasser has also designed vehicles like the Qwic range of electric scooters and bicycle accessories like the chain guard for Multi by Axa.
The designer’s philosophy and sunny approach to life is also reflected in his stunning and brightly-lit studio. Decorated entirely with SMOOL products, the studio is a happy, cheerful place spotted with colourful furniture, wide-open rooms and a necessity for a proud Amsterdam resident – a space for bicycles. That’s more than enough to make anyone smile.
Text By Chryselle D’Silva Dias
Photographs Courtesy The Designer