The Little-Known Furniture Brand Replacing My IKEA Obsession
Updated Sep 29, 2021 6:47 AM
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Silvia Ceñal’s Macaron floor lamp, created for Lithuanian furniture company EMKO, is as sweet as the French confection after which it was named. Its long metal base and neck feature a surprise treat at the tippy top: two wood rings wrapped with a colored cord. This was the first of the San Sebastián, Spain–born designer’s pieces to catch my eye, but I quickly discovered her work encompasses more than dessert-inspired lighting.
Ceñal, who founded her eponymous studio in 2015, has long been inspired by Scandinavian and Japanese design. “I always try to design functional and simple pieces that prioritize people’s needs,” she shares. Her minimalist yet playful staples—most of which are meant for teeny-tiny spaces—remind me of the blond wood dressers and Pop-bright accessories at IKEA. In this case, though, the end result is much more personal. The Swedish retailer is a go-to for first apartments, and these function-focused items are no different. They blend with just about any aesthetic and put storage first. My Scandinavian obsession has reached new heights thanks to these Spanish designs.
Often sticking with plain, unadorned wood structures, Ceñal’s durable, storage-friendly items include Beka, a children’s clothing rack made out of the same planks used for fruit crates, and Cimas, a wall hanger with five pegs that can hold anything from garage gear to bath towels.
For Dark Corners
Ceñal’s Cowbell lamp—an ideal kitchen island pendant—skews a lot more minimalist than her popular Macaron fixtures (which come in Yves Klein Blue, fire-engine red, white, black, and canary yellow). To soften the ceramic dome, the designer added leather straps to the top and the sides.
Almost everything has a story behind it. The stackable Lau stools—the name translates to “four” in the Basque language—come in handy when guests drop by, while a plain wood tray meant to look like a traditional sushi platter can be used for serving cheese.
For each of the three seating options in the Abric collection, Ceñal added a horizontal seam along the oakwood legs (her clever spin on the standard gray couch). Bi Silla, one of her favorite pieces, is a two-toned, L-shaped chair designed to make you feel sheltered. While originally created with a hotel lobby in mind, the nook-like items are so fun and functional that you’d want to see them in a 100-something-square-foot apartment.
This story was originally published on December 28, 2018. It has been updated.
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