Six collectible design highlights from RAD Design in Bucharest

The inaugural edition of RAD Design, held in Bucharest, Romania, marks the first contemporary collectible design fair in Eastern Europe.

RAD Design showcased furniture, lighting and decorative objects, bringing together the work of 17 different designers, independent makers and galleries from Romania and around the world.

Titled With or Without Poetry, With or Without Function, the event was held as part of the RAD Art Fair and aimed to explore ideas of utility and aesthetics surrounding everyday objects.

“It’s time to radically reconsider the conventional roles we assign to the things that surround us,” said RAD Design director and curator Adela Maria Marius.

Pieces on display were selected to celebrate Romania’s cultural heritage while also incorporating international collectible design.

Read on to find out more about six notable products made by architects and designers that were showcased in Bucharest:

Photo is by Amber Vanbossel

Raw Bench by Atelier V&F

Chinese design studio Atelier V&F used soft white goat fleece and goat skin offcuts for this curved bench that was on display in the atelier space at Hotel Caro in Bucharest.

Intended to evoke images of a shifting glacier or a resting animal, the Raw Bench was designed to demonstrate the studio’s perspective on “non-utilitarian beauty”.

Atelier V&F was shortlisted in the furniture design category of Dezeen Awards China 2023.

Steel chair by Pauline Leprince RAD Design
Photo is by Vlad Patru

Love seat Fauteuil by Pauline Leprince

French interior designer Pauline Leprince designed this chair made from brushed stainless steel. Named Love Seat Fauteuil DD, the chair is one of the multifunctional objects that make up the designer’s 05-FP-23 collection.

Created with a focus on sustainable practices, each object in the collection is intended to represent a balance between the individual and the collective.

Two people can sit back-to-back in the steel chair, creating a contrast between the cool hard texture of the chair and the soft warm contact with the other sitter’s body.

Swing with concrete seat RAD Design
Photo is by Amber Vanbossel

Carte Blanche swing by Crina Arghirescu Rogard

Romanian Architect Crina Arghirescu Rogard, who resides in New York, showcased two collaborative pieces at RAD Design 2024 – the Carte Blanche swing and armchair.

Made from wood, marine fibreglass, paint, jute, led, cotton and poly-blended rope, the swing also features a hand-sculpted concrete seat by artist Mr Liz Hopkins.

Designed for an industrial warehouse space, the swing was intended to combine playful artistry with functional elegance.

Painted armchair RAD Design Bucharest
Photo is by Amber Vanbossel

Carte Blanche armchair by Crina Arghirescu Rogard

Arghirescu Rogard’s second piece on display, the Carte Blanche armchair, combines a colour palette of brown, blue, red and cream.

The angular, hand-painted piece was made in collaboration with artists Claudia Doring Baez and Ekaterini Konidari.

Turquoise glass light Romania RAD Design
Photo is by Vlad Patru

Light Object by Radu Abraham

Romanian designer Radu Abraham collaborated with Epretext Gallery to create this light out of glass using repurposed waste materials from a glass factory.

It was made by the stratification of glass sheets – a technique usually used in wood. Abraham’s work focuses on integrating the edges of objects and the visual result given by their stratification. The Light Object has an intense turquoise colour and is fully transparent, while also refracting light.

More broadly, Abraham’s work aims to create a dialogue between Romanian heritage, upcycling and modern design principles.

Carved wooden stool on show in Bucharest
Photo is by Amber Vanbossel

Surfaced stool by Sho Ota

Netherlands-based Japanese designer Sho Ota presented a pair of wooden stools as part of his project titled ‘Surfaced’ at this year’s edition of RAD Design.

Sho sets out to push the boundaries of traditional furniture design through his work. His approach begins by taking a single form and carving out intricate details from it, ensuring that each piece is individual and distinct.

RAD Design is part of RAD Art Fair, which is now in its second year. As part of the exhibition, digital design store and gallery Adorno co-created a design shop presenting pieces ranging from glass and ceramic tableware to intricate metalwork.

Other recent design fairs that have taken place include Lisbon by Design, which “focussed on contemporary interpretations of Portuguese heritage”, and NYCxDesign, which included an exhibition of metal furniture by three female designers.

RAD Design took place from 16 to 19 May 2024. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.

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