We jumped at the chance to visit Spain for this year's Feria Habitat Valencia to check out the latest in Spanish and global furniture design. Nestled among the booths of notable names and industry vets, we found Nude, a gem of an exhibition showcasing economical, purposeful design created by fresh new talent. Of the 31 studios and students selected, the traditional aesthetic of Carlos Ortega Design—which specializes in wooden furniture and fabrication—was particularly intriguing. After a six-year absence, COD returned to the fair this year with three new, stackable chairs as well as a Formica-topped table, all made entirely of solid American Oak.
Taking a more artistic approach than other designers we've seen this year, Ortega's wave-inspired Gap chair is as beautiful to look at as it is comfortable to sit in. The individual cross beams help support the frame structurally while creating a sleek, striking look. On the other hand, the hinged-seat Angle side chair—the seat bends subtly inward, like an actual hinge— feels somewhat more conservative, though it maintains an appealingly clean aesthetic.
Both the upholstered Stack chair and large Giro table—finished with Formica for durability— feature beautifully intricate finger joinery. Advancing both form and function, the traditional technique allows for hardware-free assembly (not to mention disassembly) without sacrificing sturdiness. As an added bonus, the upholstered chairs are also stackable—a unique feature rarely seen in upholstered seating. Both design details make the set especially good for saving space.
Images by Graham Hiemstra