Designed by Italian studio Metrica and made by local manufacturers in Italy, 10 new additions to the SP01 Design collection include occasional chairs, a sofa, a bench seat, armchairs, and a selection of new tables.
What began in 2016 with a tightly edited collection of design basics, the SP01 Design story has developed a reputation for well-made and functional furniture pieces, and for precise detailing and honed, natural materials that perform as both structure and finish. It is the craftsmanship and precision that comes out of age-old manufacturing processes deep within the traditions of the Italian furniture industry that has shaped the identity of SP01.
Designed so that each piece would grow into a range of its own, the first SP01 collection, also designed by Metrica, was always seen as a range to build upon. “Every piece had a very distinct character,” remarks Matt Lorrain, SP01's head of design and product development. "It gave us a lot of detail and design language to work with, and in the end, certain pieces naturally stood out... we developed new families from the original Thomas chair, Holland table and Anita armchair pieces.”
Working with Italian suppliers who can produce both large and small quantities, the relationship has developed through problem-solving and prototyping. "They don’t say no when they see something difficult," remarks product manager Hanna Köng who worked with the Metrica design team on the first collection and has now joined SP01 in Australia. "A lot of the factories are family owned, they grew up in the business and they have it in their blood. They like to play and find solutions."
When developing the new additions, Metrica began by referencing the design of some of the most popular pieces. The idea was not to replicate but to expand upon them. The original design for Holland – a dining table – was developed by adding a desk, bench seat and console. SP01 and Metrica referenced the form of the table by using the same angle details and leg profiles and carefully re-articulated the form through a more complex material palette made up of Marquina and Carrara marble. "We tried to progress and improve while retaining the spirit of the original collection that has an international DNA", remarks Robin Rizzini. "We designed the pieces to “talk” to each and to integrate with pieces designed by other designers.”
In the new iterations of seating, the Anita and Thomas chairs have been preserved but adapted. Anita is now available in a high-back version, with a simple rod base that follows the contours of the chair and is reminiscent of the rich textures and style of the 1950s. While the Max sofa now includes a corner sofa and an armchair.
"I think in the extension collection you can see both Metrica and SP01 are becoming more comfortable with the collaboration and while the pieces certainly retain a sense of simplicity", remarks Matt Lorrain. "There is definitely a more unique character emerging."
While the latest additions nestle in comfortably with the original SP01 collection they also add character and depth, and Lorrain is continuing the process working with Metrica on SP01's first modular storage collection to further fill out the range. "Metrica intrinsically has a very minimal approach to design and “Yee” is a project underpinned by a rational framework," enthuses Lorrain. "It will have a somewhat softer appearance and the option to customise and combine finishes so the idea is to create a collection filled with personalised compositions."