Design is a multi-faceted field and leads to a lot of interactions with experts in specific crafts: that’s precisely what makes it so interesting! From Research § Development to production, there are usually a lot of brainstorms and exchanges with specialists to create an item that solves real problems, increases comfort, tells a story, creates emotions and overall brings happiness.
The Mastro collection, composed of a table and benches, is a perfect illustration of this process and goals.
I sell these two items in my showroom in San Francisco. If I tell you that it comes from Italy, you’re going to think that because this collection was designed in this European Country and shipped to San Francisco, California, it is pretty special. You’re right, that’s part of the story. But the story is actually way longer. Let’s get to the bottom of it to see why this table and bench are really special.
This collection is branded De Castelli, master in shaping iron. De Castelli work closely with architects, designers, landscape designers to create items that use iron as the main component for a unique look and texture. For this collection, they asked the italian studio Gum Design, to conceive these two items.
When designer Laura Fiaschi, who runs Gum Studio speaks about her emotional approach to design, you definitely get the sense of the handmade, personal involvement. She says:
In all areas of creativity you can find excellent things and banal things which seem to dominate thinking in general when it is linked to the function, to the use of things; while we believe that there are other “features”. Let’s talk about emotions and feelings that can involve men and women in their everyday relationships. We think that the products can contain and reveal emotions, lead by their users by their hands towards new experiences, and create a significant relationship.
We can totally feel this approach with the mastro collection. Gum Design designed Mastro as a furniture piece whose formal structure is derived from that of old work table and benches found in a craftsman’s workshop. The roots of craftsmanship are then encapsulated in this furniture that is also a masterpiece of craftsmanship. This approach is very interesting. To be more detailed about the level of craftsmanship in “Mstro”, let’s describe the materials used here: the top surface of the table and bench is made from an acid-etched iron sheet which is folded over to create slotted rails. Two firewood trestles embed themselves vertically inside the metal rails and become the two sets of legs for the furniture. The visible slot of the trestle becomes the main feature of this table.
This furniture is a unique combination of craftsmanship and technology, a perfect blend of tradition and modernity. Three words can summarize the collection: sustainability, versatility and simplicity: if we talk about sustainability, the materials used are high-quality and the lines and shapes show a high level of design and precision. The finish is just perfect!
Whatever activities the table is going to be used for, it promises to be long lasting. This leads us to the second aspect of the collection: versatility. The table can be used as a dining table as well as a desk. It has all the space you needs to eat with guests or spread out your laptop, tablets, notebooks, pens, and other devices and tools. (The overall dimensions of the design, in my showroom are 90 x 180 x 75 cm.q. Other dimensions are available).
As for the bench, well what I really like with benches in general is that this item is by essence versatile. You can use it around the table to eat with your friends and family. You can have your colleagues seat on it to brainstorm with you, have a business meeting… You can put it next to your sofa to add extra seats when you organize a party; use it in your hallway, next to your cloackroom to sit when you put on your shoes; use it as a “shelf” on which you display decorative items such as lamps, plants; put it outside on your balcony, deck or garden; you can either sit on it or lay down on it… Options are endless and you can invent as many uses as you want with a bench. It offers room for creativity and flexibility.
And the sherry on the cake, that really make this collection a flagship example of “sustainabilty” and “versatility” is that the design involves taking off the trestles, spin them 90 degrees to scroll them inside the metal soul that contains them horizontally, in order to minimize the objet footprint if not in use, the storage, the packaging dimensions and the sustainability of the global logistics. This space-saving design makes it ideal for temporary projects or events that require a little extra space.
And for all the features mentioned above, we can also use the word “simplicity” to qualify this collection. Simplicity is often the key for a good design, for both aesthetics and functionality. But only few objects can achieve both simultaneously. « Mastro » is one of those objects. A wonderful piece of uncluttered, raw industrial design inspired by old craftsmen workshop tables, with a core work on the wooden trestles which can fit horizontally into the steel plate in order to facilitate transport. For all its amazing attributes, this collection received the ADI Compasso d’Oro Award, the oldest and most influential international design award.