How natural stone is transforming traditional views of modular furniture
Modular furniture: the perfect fusion of function and form
When it comes to design, we are the first to say an object should be pleasing to the eye, but we strongly believe that this shouldn’t come at the price of practicality, especially if it has to withstand the demands of everyday usage. All too often it happens that design is focused only on the visual impact and forgets the “function” part of that Holy Grail of “function and form”.
That said, however, in general, there is a particular category that knows how to fuse these two essential elements, providing clever design that stands up to the dual scrutiny of aesthetics and everyday use. We are talking about modular furniture and in this article, we look at how and why this winning solution is revolutionising design and how we at Salvatori take it to the next level by interpreting it in gorgeous natural stone.
How do you define modular furniture? It is a solution that significantly increases the freedom designers have to create bespoke projects, starting from a basic item, then simply adding components to create a design that is tailormade in terms of location, needs and taste.
What makes it such a popular option is the incredible versatility it offers because you can design items for any environment no matter how large and small. You are essentially working with a series of building blocks that allow you to create almost anything you want.
It also has other benefits, particularly in terms of cost and timing. Although you construct a bespoke solution, as a client, you are ordering standard components which means lower production costs and these, in turn, are passed on to the end user.
Supply lead times are reduced as items tend to be kept in stock, while another advantage is that although your finished piece of furniture may be large, because it is made up of smaller components, it is easier, and therefore cheaper, to ship. When it arrives, you also have fewer logistic issues such as manoeuvring large, unwieldy items up stairs and through narrow doorways.
If a piece is damaged, either in transit, during installation or even when you have owned it for some time, it is far easier to repair because you simply need to substitute a single part, rather than the entire finished item.
Of all the benefits, however, perhaps the most important one is the customisable aspect. You, as the client, are in control, able to pick and choose and create a unique piece without breaking the bank.
Often, however, it is associated with slick, bland design in fabricated materials that are destined to be thrown away after a few years. The good news is that the concept can also be applied to high-end products in timeless materials such as gorgeous natural stone, allowing you to create luxurious and elegant environments. That’s where we come into the picture.
We are enormous fans of the modular approach as it chimes perfectly with our philosophy that design must be both beautiful and practical. That does not just mean that a piece is hardwearing, but that it should be simple to install, clean and maintain.
One such example is our Anima collection, designed by Glenn Pushelberg and George Yabu who were inspired by the idea of stripping stone back to its very essence, or soul, to translate the Italian word Anima. At the heart of the entire project is the modular drawer, designed so as to allow you to create your perfect composition. Available in Bianco Carrara, Crema d’Orcia, Gris du Marais®, Pietra d’Avola and Silk Georgette®, this highly versatile and system can incorporate both a countertop and inbuilt basin, depending on your personal preference.
The Balnea collection is based on a similar premise, but here the possibilities are magnified with a myriad of configurations, based on the same five stones and again with the option of a countertop or inbuilt basin, but amplified with a choice of five of our favourite textures for the front facing. An interior designer’s dream, you can personalise your vanity unit no matter the size or layout of the space you have to work with or your personal taste.
Moving on to the Adda collection, we add an extra element to our classic natural stone, in the form of a wooden facing, available in a smooth or ribbed variant. The pairing of these two gorgeous natural materials is a match made in heaven with the warmth of the wood providing the perfect counterpoint to the stone’s inherent coolness. In addition to the usual palette of colours, we also have the dramatic grey of Grigio Versilia marble.
Last, but not least, we have our Fontane Bianche collection. The Ciane drawers and floating shelves can be installed side by side or even above each other if horizontal space is at a premium. Alternatively, they can be combined with the delightfully simple but elegant Alfeo basin which, at a compact 45 x 45 cm, is also a great solution on its own in a small bathroom.
While not strictly belonging to the furniture category, but on topic for their modularity, we might also mention the Fontane Bianche modular trays, a set of four interlocking pieces which also work beautifully scattered around the home. Whether used in the bathroom, bedroom, living room or even on your desk, the combination of a delicate stone slab encased in a metal frame is an example of how the modular concept works even in the smallest accessories.
In designing all our modular collections, we keep in mind that they should ideally be able to be used in many rooms of the home. The drawers of each of the above four families can be installed with or without a basin, making them extremely elegant and practical solutions not only for the bathroom, but also the living room, bedroom, hallway and kitchen.
It is difficult to argue that modular furniture is a smart solution, with a host of advantages such as versatility, cost savings and reduced timelines. We also believe it should be elegant and timeless, which is why we have developed collections that are designed to stand the test of time, both in terms of durability and aesthetics.
If you would like to more about, please get in touch and we will be happy to arrange a complimentary consultation with one of our in-house design experts.