Newsview: Ovo's new furniture range and Ikea’s wild venture into Saville Row tailoring

Rose Martin looks at the new Ovo range of furniture and Ikea’s wild venture into Saville Row tailoring

Newsview: Ovo's new furniture range and Ikea’s wild venture into Saville Row tailoring

Rose Martin looks at the new Ovo range of furniture and Ikea’s wild venture into Saville Row tailoring

FOSTER +PARTNERS, whose industrial design department created a range of furniture for a Maggie’s cancer centre in the UK, has now taken the concept to the mass market, with a new range in collaboration with Terence Conran-founded, Benchmark furniture.

It marks a bit of a shift too, for this internationally-renowned architecture firm, swerving away from the main business and the commerciality of the venture and could pave the way for similar moves from other practices.

Architects have always designed, Patricia Urquiola being a case in point, but this sideline does not usually involve practices of the scale of Foster + Partners. It will be interesting to see if it becomes a trend.

The new Ovo range, which includes tables, stools, a modular shelving unit, coffee table and benches, is turned out in smooth, silky oak and walnut at prices, that, while not cheap, are still affordable for furniture which, it says, will last the generations.

To be fair, there’s a simple, tactile and hand-made feel to the work, with the large pieces weighing in at around €5,500 for the tables and sideboards. The clean functionality of the designs received an overwhelmingly positive reception at the launch during Clerkenwell Design Week at the end of May.

And when you consider that some mass-produced, globalised furniture is found at similar price ranges, it’s no surprise there was a warm response — this line offers high-craft furniture at a level just above what could rightly be considered poor quality dross. Materially, Ovo is superb in touchy-feely oiled white oak and American walnut.

According to Mike Holland of Foster +Partners, the designs have material durability and design quality — this is not throwaway stuff, he’s signalling.

In terms of the oak shelving unit, it’s designed so that the 1.9m long shelves, pierced by four uprights, can be used singly or added to, over time, to create multiple shelves stacked one on the other. So the buyer can invest in a simple, low pair to a maximun of five shelves.

“The new OVO furniture range for Benchmark celebrates the age-old tradition of craftsmanship in everyday objects, combining durability and careful detailing with a strong materiality to create a range of furniture that is exceptionally tactile and generous.”



- Bloom broke the million visitor barrier at the Phoenix Park on Sunday for the fiesta of food and gardening and the weather couldn’t have been better for the bank holiday weekend event which had created a place for itself as one of the must-see events of the year.

Now in its twelfth year, the gardens are a huge draw and this year, Mark Mohan of Monaghan company, Silverstream Landscapes, was the winner of the first ever ‘Best Contractor’ award. The second-generation family firm constructed this year’s best large Show Garden — the ‘Sustainable Seafood Garden’ sponsored by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM).

Silverstream were also contractors on the best medium garden winner — the Enable Ireland Beyond Boundaries Garden in association with Solus Light Bulbs, as well as the Marie Keating Foundation Sunsmart Garden.

The Designers’ Choice Award — where garden designers vote for their favourite show garden — was made to Kevin Dennis, Cityscape Gardener, for his Fruit Juice Matters Garden.

His winning show garden was designed as a sanctuary and features multiple spaces for exercise, relaxation and entertainment. On Thursday, Kevin was also awarded a gold medal by a panel of Bloom judges.

- On on to more frivolous stuff now that the sun had deigned to stay for more than a day — oh joy.

Whacky and wonderful and a good way to showcase it’s great value, natural fabrics, Ikea has gone all out with suits made by Savile Row tailor, William Hunt and don’t they look great?

So, why not take the same approach at home is the flat pack giant’s approach — add bright cushions, crazy-coloured curtains to let the sunshine in and go for maximalism in pattern and textiles. All available at not too much money per metre at the Dublin Ikea store, (roll on the Cork roll-out).

On the back of this catwalk-themed promotion, Ikea is offering bespoke Ikea X William Hunt suits to win. Visit for more details.

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