Earlier in the decade, neo-baroque furniture design took the pulse of economic exuberance. But the oversize curlicue edges and historical patterns of that trend are no longer. At the 2008 Salone del Mobile, held mid-April in Milan, designers and manufacturers expressed luxury more discreetly, impressing fairgoers with complex construction, technology, or limited production runs. - David Sokol

Free falling
By replacing sliding mechanisms with hinges, Pivot’s two drawers appear to precariously cascade from a resting position against the wall. Israeli-born designer Shay Alkalay also made the replacement so that this solid-wood console table’s drawers may be opened and accessed simultaneously. Arco, Winterswijk, the Netherlands. www.arco.nl

[Reader Service: July 2008 #208]


Old meets new
An offshoot of Mallett, an international dealer of 18th-century antiques, Meta produces extremely limited editions of furniture by contemporary designers made by traditional artisans. The New York–based architecture studio Asymptote, for example, reduced the scale of its digitally conceived, organically rendered buildings to create the base of the table Ivo. The base is a custom material recreated from a piece of 228-year-old Imperial Tula steel, finished by craftsmen who helped restore the Kremlin Palace. The top is slumped glass. Meta, London. www.madebymeta.com

[Reader Service: July 2008 #209]


Leather bound
Using a patented cutting technique first developed for screens and partitions, Franco Poli created a leather tracery for the back of the Aretè armchair. The seamless incision process transforms the coach hide into a three-dimensional shape. Matteograssi, Mariano Comense, Italy. www.matteograssi.it

[Reader Service: July 2008 #210]


Illumination integration
Sphere Luminescence, created by Finnish designer Tuukka Halonen, is a combination light source, fixture, and shade in one dazzling form. This is accomplished with acrylic-tube-wrapped electroluminescent wire that is folded into a series of tessellations resulting in the luminaire’s spherical shape. Tuukka Halonen, Helsinki. www.tuukkahalonen.com

[Reader Service: July 2008 #211]


Plastic fantastic
After more than a year in research and development, Konstantin Grcic and manufacturer Plank launched Myto. This precisely engineered cantilevered stacking chair is made entirely of BASF’s advanced Ultradur High Speed PBT (polybutylene terephthalate) plastic, notable for its strength and flowability, which is injection molded as a monoblock with a comfortable supporting frame structure. Elliptical perforations emphasize its dynamic design and flexibility. Plank, Ora, Italy. www.plank.it

[Reader Service: July 2008 #212]

A fine line
To create Surface Table, product designer Terence Woodgate and renowned racecar engineer John Barnard revisited carbon fiber, which Barnard had previously used to build a monocoque (“single shell” construction) McLaren vehicle that won three consecutive Formula One world championships. Thanks to the material’s strength, the composite table measures 3 meters (10') in length and narrows to just 2 millimeters (0.08") at its edge—five times thinner than any other table on the market. Established & Sons, London. www.establishedandsons.com

[Reader Service: July 2008 #213]

Strangely familiar
By adapting three- and five-axis CNC mill technology to his furniture production, designer and craftsman Paul Loebach references multiple historical woodworking methods in a single piece. His basswood Shelf Space, for example, appears to combine sophisticated routing and steam-bending techniques in a wall-mounted bookshelf distinguished by a meandering form that is authentically contemporary. Paul Loebach, Brooklyn, N.Y. www.paulloebach.com

[Reader Service: July 2008 #214]

Pix cushions
Evoking a three-dimensional pixel, the curvilinear forms of Ron Arad’s Pixel Sofa actually comprise a series of rectilinear volumes in various heights. Each distinct module features a complex fabrication of two types of polyurethane foam and is fixed to a platform by steel pins. Moroso, Udine, Italy. www.moroso.it

[Reader Service: July 2008 #215]