Design stories
May 31, 2012

Element – collection of solid wood furniture

The collection "Element" was the first Croatian design brand of solid wood furniture entirely made of solid wood (Slavonian Oak and Nut), based on a small serial production in the tradition of manufacturing carpentry that evokes the original quality of Slavonian oak and restores its dignity lost in the production of surrogate forms of solid oak furniture.

Shelf FKY (Element by Intera, Zagreb). Design: Numen/ForUse.

The basic concept of Element lies in the fact that the Slavonian oak, (“Quercus robur slavonica”, a subspecies of common oak, named after Slavonia, a geographical and historical region in eastern Croatia), is one of the most notorious characteristics of Croatian furniture. Although known as a quality material even outside Croatia, Slavonian oak is usually connected to pseudo-traditional, heavily ornamented lockers and wardrobes. This stereotype resulted in a prejudice that massive wood furniture fits only hunters lodges and rich rural homes.

The brand Element was founded in 2005 by the Zagreb company Intera, owned by Vladimir Mikic and Natasa Trbovic in partnership with Numen/ForUse (Christoph Katzler, Sven Jonke, Nikola Radeljković) who design the products and are art directors of the brand. Element has been presented at H.O.M.E. – Depot in Vienna u 2007, at Neue Raume 07 in Switzerland and at IMM Pure, at IMM Koeln in January 2009, while a component part is the online base of the online community Architonic.

Expandable table XYZ (Element by Intera). Design: Numen/ForUse.

The furniture series Element was meant as a crossover between architecture and design, a range of objects of quality interior landscape, serving as extensions of wall and floor tectonics as well as free-standing objects, occupying, colonizing, and domesticating space. Compact natural materials and elementary formal language gives the user an active role in the articulation of a given space.

Lone low table and XL folding lounge chair designed for Hotel Lone (Element by Intera). Design: Numen/ForUse. Photo: Vanja Šolin.

Because of its neutrality as well as its domination, the Element series can be well adjusted and combined with other “design” objects. Therefore it can be understood as a special typology of “architectural supplement”, a group of objects whose connectedness forms the starting point of interior orchestration and choreography.

Making of XL folding chair (Element by Intera) in a small carpentry. Photo: Numen/ForUse.

Considerable effort was made to achieve a wide range of products covering numerous functions, with only the most elementary, logical and invisible joints – from the newspaper holder to the bed, shelf systems, etc. – manifesting firmness and expressive materiality.

Lamp series Lone (Element by Intera) was designed for Design Hotel Lone interiors. Design: Numen/ForUse.

Element’s affirmation

But Element has received affirmation only after the Design Hotel Lone project, joining the concept of a hotel based on the idea of drawing in the century old Mediterranean forest-park into its interior. Element’s DNA is therefore naturally incorporated into the architectural concept whose mission was to create the identity  of hotel also thanks to originally designed furniture.

XZ deck chair at Design Hotel Lone (Element by Intera). Design: Numen/ForUse.

Along with its former series of products, Element has created a couple of new products for the hotel – XZ deck chairs with sunshades, XL folding lounge chairs, Lone low tables and the lamp series Lone, which, along the shelf FKY and the expandable table XYZ, will be presented at the exhibition Common Sense & Sensibility.

You can read more about the hotel Lone project in an interview with 3LHD architects.

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