At last, a design appropriate to the material: the weight of the objects guarantees the desired function, the appearance underlines the great age and naturalness of the stone
Many companies worldwide are now trying their hand at product design with natural stone, and many associations are holding competitions for it. Unfortunately, most of the results are no good – the objects do not fulfil the function they should have as objects for everyday use, even if they are sometimes beautiful to look at. Theoretically formulated: the designers do not fulfil the principle of product design, namely that function comes first, and the appearance of the object is secondary.
This is summed up in the sentence “Form Follows Function”.
An example of how to do everything right comes from the Norwegian company Lundhs. They only extract raw blocks from local stone types; a while ago, they also turned to product design. Initially, Lundhs wanted to use them to create objects that would draw attention to their kitchen worktops at trade fairs for architecture and design, but in the meantime the brand has become “Lundhs Real Stone”.
The most recent object are bookends. They are so commonplace that they do not need their own name.
Their design, however, is remarkable – it is minimalist to the extreme: 5 cuts are made with a saw through the initial block. “Ferdig” (finished)!
There is not even any emphasis on the exactness of the measurements, and so the product description on the webpage states that they vary around the average values of 8.2 x 7.4 x 7 cm. This is because they are waste pieces from production, and the ratio of height to width is more important than exact size.
However, readers may wonder with 5 cuts you cannot cut a cuboid – 6 times the saw must do its job…
This is exactly the great idea of the Lundhs bookends: the top is left raw – you can compare it to the bark on the wood. It tells the user again and again that the stone comes from nature, that it is ancient and can therefore safely give a reliable hold to the literature on the bookshelf. Even the sides are not polished.
The stone type is the Norwegian Larvikite from the Lundhs quarries.
Again theory: design appropriate to the material is realized here as follows: First the bookends convey what makes the material special (high age, coming from nature), second they use the function of the high weight, which is typical for stone. Each support weighs 2 kg.
Quite soberly, the product description reflects this: “The stones are harvested in Norway and were crafted by nature millions of years ago.”
It is nice to call the work at the quarry a harvest.
And more: “Every piece of stone is unique, variations in color and size may appear.”
Line Møller Mærsk has developed the bookends. She runs the Real Stone shop.