Alva: photo courtesy of Alva.
Alva is reinventing the possibilities for traditional furniture, viewing it as a means of envisioning alternate realities. The brainchild of siblings Marcelo Alvarenga, an architect by trade, and Susana Bastos, an artist, Alva furniture is informed by these two worlds: the logical and the imaginative. Their Piscinas collection, named after the Portuguese word for “swimming pool”, plays with a mix of tile, steel, and wood to add unexpected dimensions to each design. The aim of the collection is to evoke other readings of human existence. The five tables of the Piscinas collections will transport the viewer to nostalgic memories of summer days spent by the pool. The Gray Ramp and Pink Shallow tables bring to mind lounge chairs, while the aptly named Blue Swimming Pool takes on the appearance of a small kiddie pool. The attention to details and materials showcases the brand’s dedication to craftsmanship while staying true to its playful, artistic nature.
Max Lamb for Tajimi
Max Lamb for Tajimi: photographed by Kenta Hasegawa.
Max Lamb’s designs for Tajimi are found at the intersection between art and functionality. The U.K. designer first began his collaboration with Tajimi in 2018, setting out to design experimental objects (made using local production methods) that would inspire architects and designers to create their own original tiles. Lamb created a set of three-dimensional modular tiles that, through the use of pressure moulding, allow each design to take on double-curved shapes with rounded edges. Lamb had never worked with tiles prior to this project, and approached the collection without preconceived notions of what tile design should look like. With an extensive background as a furniture designer, Lamb infused utility into each artistic piece. This approach resulted in incredibly unique vases, benches, tables, and partition walls with fluid forms—even asymmetrical shapes are grounded by the precise symmetry of the tiles.
De Castelli: photographed by Alberto Parise.
Much like Pandora’s infamous box, the Pandora collection from De Castelli has many hidden secrets. With multiple oak drawers tucked into their cylindrical metal frames, what might at first glance appear to be a simple monolith can actually store a vast amount within. The unassuming appearance, conceived by Milanese designers Martinelli Venezia Studio in collaboration with De Castelli, allows for more space and a clean exterior. Each object functions more as an art piece than simply a nightstand or chest of drawers. To avoid the need for handles and knobs that might obscure the precise tile lines, De Castelli opted for drawers with a push-to-open mechanism. The collection features cool metal exteriors, available in nine shades. Metal is De Castelli’s chosen material, responsible for a signature style of “hard couture” that reinvigorates the material’s use in design and experimentation. This sleek effect brings these overlooked design components to the forefront.
Ktown Corner Store: photo courtesy of Ktown Corner Store.
If simplicity is what you crave in a tiled piece, look no further than Ktown Corner Store. The L.A. brand, designed by Tawny Tran and Dash Anderson, offers a minimalistic take on custom tiled furniture. Their retro designs—including side tables and benches, shelving units and vanities—create a reliable symmetry. Tile colours range from dreamy pastels that bring to mind an ’80s aesthetic to bold primaries and neutrals that create a compelling contrast. The grout is also available in customizable hues, allowing the gaps between tiles to become the starring feature of the piece. The precise geometric shapes bring a sense of calm to any environment—even the behind-the-scenes videos on their Instagram are surprisingly soothing. Each piece is made to order and can be yours within a matter of weeks. With multiple options for customization, this brand allows for a choose-your-own-adventure approach to home decor.