Conversation with Simon Pengelly

Simon Pengelly© Studio Pengelly

In collaboration with Arper, London designer Simon Pengelly interprets and extends Arper philosophy and design concepts to create a table system and a barstool called Nuur and Babar, respectively.

Nuur (2009) has four corner legs, four rails and a top and is offered in as many sizes and suited for many different applications and environments.

Babar in progress by Simon Pengelly© Studio Pengelly

Babar (2006) is playful and sophisticated, technically complex, and flexible enough to allow for many different sitting positions in different environments. Both are rooted in Pengelly’s design philosophy.

Simon Pengelly© Studio Pengelly

The design philosophy of Simon Pengelly, in brief:
I think the English find it hard to express the depth of their thinking, almost out of embarrassment for such a self indulgent activity—and I’m no exception.
This reticence for personal expression also tends to affect the way thoughts are manifest into the physical, so one could also say it has a positive influence in shaping the articulation of the thought process into products.
Quietness, possibly above all else, is a quality the best products possess. They don’t follow trend but rather have a character born of thoughtful regard to function, materiality, environment, intuitiveness and familiarity, without the need to shout.
There are few things more exciting and interesting to me than being able to influence markets with quiet design, a statement which to some would seem a contradiction in terms, as ‘quiet’ often goes unnoticed. Paradoxically, the quiet products are often those that most people feel comfortable with. Along with this realisation comes the opportunity to influence society by appealing to the masses, rather than the few.
The common perception of mass production is often that which is bereft of personality and an element of craft. I believe in the potential for a mass produced product to communicate an aura of quality implicit in the sensitive balance of form, materiality and function, combined unpretentiously, and to provide accessible products at a price appropriate to the expectation of a mass produced article.
This balance is not easy to achieve, as no one element should overshadow another; the aim should be to create products that ‘touch the ground lightly,’ with personalities that enrich environments without eclipsing them.
Achieving balance, articulated aesthetically via proportion and metaphorically by the honest and appropriate use of materials and production technologies, is also realised by the reduction of the superfluous without stripping an article of its ‘soul.’ There lies the opportunity to create forms that by their reduction possess a lightness akin to those of nature, where the superfluous does not exist and the sensual and soft quietly endure.

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