Every so often a new piece of furniture is created, adhering to principles of classic space-defining, yet delivering something bold and unconfined. Norwegian designers at Snøhetta have achieved just that, introducing Summit — a multi-level, modular, seat—as a response to Danish design brand +Halle’s second Annual Briefing on the theme of sharing.
‘It’s the form in which we gather that makes the brief fascinating: inspired by the idea of furniture acting as a facilitator for exchange, we can see how Summit speaks to new ways of coming together. Traces of landscape architecture feed into the design—introducing a soft, mount-like, structure at play—which remains a reference point for the design to this day,’ says Martin Halle, Creative Director at +Halle.
‘Summit is an investigation into how a cushioned hillside, with its gentle elevation, can create intimate sharing spaces for people to work, learn and unwind. And while we found the idea of natural escalation thrilling, we saw the opportunity in combining the inherent behaviours of social amphitheatres, open Spanish steps, and playful slopes,’ says Marius Myking, Director of Product Design at Snøhetta and he continues. ‘We landed on the simple notion of a multitude of levels, an indoor mountain range, providing intimacy without having to create an enclosure.’
Summit is humble, prioritising a warm, soft surface, natural shapes and intuitive playfulness without embellishment. During the Annual Briefing, a behavioural-led design forum held in Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Oslo during 2019, Snøhetta curiously explored the concept of an architectural tool, for open, and less-prescribed sharing. The main purpose: providing a set of shapes that can serve the right dynamic based on the need of each situation, whether it be a lecture, a meeting or a momentary break. 'For us, it’s important, that people can make it their own,’ says Myking.
Famous for social space and porous buildings, this global design and architectural firm is the worlds best in creating places of connection. Some people have said that what Snøhetta creates is empowerment in the form of social monuments, instead of sculptural monuments, which would refer to the architecture of engagement as opposed to the architecture of formal description.EXPLORE
A mountainous landscape, Summit draws you in, with complete upholstery, beautiful stitching, and soft cushioning, it is a retreat from conventional furnishings. With five modules: curved, waved and straight, in three sizes: small, medium, and large, the modulations are endless. ‘When prototyping and testing Summit with our architect colleagues, the forms worked intuitively. We deliberately avoided any rules, emphasising creativity and the immediate play that occurred, proved a good dose of natural immersion.’
Simple in its form, Summit can become a small staircase, a curved rising or a wavy ridge, all depending on the preferred environment. Myking says that one of the strengths is the ability to continuously redefine a room using the same footprint: ‘We have two Summits in the Snøhetta office in Oslo, each consisting of five modules. Throughout the day the modules might be turned and suddenly you have a different setting using the same floor space’ he explains.
Martin Halle is fascinated by the many clever features the architects have come up with so far: he shows a couple of different configurations and smiles: 'It’s totally up to interpretation, whichever accommodation you need. Sometimes that is a small island or a large installation, but it’s when the hills come together that it defines the context,’ he says.
Summit is versatile enough to allow any entry point, creating an inviting seating set up for the gathering of people. Helped by the many modules, creating a perfect place to share is a comfortable experience, naturally playful and fun. ‘The system defines spaces without enclosing them: rather than having a private, secretive meet-up, Summit brings generosity and freedom of use, somewhat unexpectedly. It is good to be serious, but at times it is equally important to add a little bit of fun,’ Myking reflects. ‘You must interact with Summit, by lying, or leaning, exploring different ways of using it, sitting differently from one day to another. The purpose is to facilitate that diversity in use, highlighting the value of creating environments for individual needs coming together,’ Halle concludes.
Summit is versatile enough to allow any entry point, creating an inviting seating set up for the gathering of people. Helped by the many modules, creating a perfect place to share is a comfortable experience, naturally playful and fun.
Summit offers an integrated power plug solution available for all markets around the world.
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