Throughout the hundreds of showrooms and booths at the 2019 edition of IMM Cologne this past January, one thing was abundantly clear: Comfort and coziness continue to define furniture design. A reaction, perhaps, to global uncertainty, this need to create safe havens at home was a driving force for many exhibitors, with earthy tones and pastel hues dominating palettes and organic influences shaping many pieces. There was also an undercurrent of minimalism sweeping through the show, creating an air of tension between indulgence and cutting out the clutter.
Relative newcomers on the scene, Junpei and Iori Tamaki were among those who tapped into this intriguing middle ground. Junpei founded Taiwan- and Japan-based Tamaki Design Studio in 2013 (debuting at that year’s SaloneSatellite in Milan), with Iori joining the following year. The two are quickly gaining recognition for work that is characterized by strong graphic lines and sophisticated palettes, but which also manages to capture the imagination with understated playfulness. “We are always conscious of contrast, thinking at the same time about simplicity and complexity, individual and all,” says Junpei.
The duo’s measured approach is evident in the Yuragi series of tables they launched with Ligne Roset during the show. Sporting a base that seems to be swaying in place, the table has a sense of movement that the pair describes as “drifting slowly in the ocean,” lending it an amusing quality that belies its stability. At Living Divani, their steel-and-marble Tonbo coat stand – inspired by the image of a dragonfly perched on a finger – stood out with its graphic lines and careful blending of materials, as did the similarly minimalist Rivulet chair.
It speaks volumes that an up-and-coming studio boasts a portfolio full of such established brands (you can add Cappellini, for which the two designed the Flower shelf in 2017, to the list) and indicates that there is much more yet to come.