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Oasis by Klára Šumová and Dirk Wright

The design duo collaborates on a collection channeling Art Deco and modernist interiors and the magic of the desert

by Adam Stech in Design on 28 November 2013

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Strong storytelling plays a vital role in the work of Klára Šumová. Through her interior objects of various typologies and scales, the designer explores poetry and stories in design. Šumová debuted several years ago with her elegant Love floor lamp, which consists of a raw tree trunk changing into the lathed shape inspired by classic Baroque morphology. During the past few years, Klára interned in Vancouver with the atelier of the prestigious Stockholm-based Note Studio. These travels ultimately yielded a partnership with graphic designer Dirk Wright and plenty of ideas for her new work; which tackles a new direction by way of a collection called OÁZA.

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OÁZA (meaning "oasis") is Šumová and Wright's recent collection of decorative interior objects, which launched at Designblok 2013 in Prague. The dominant feature of the collection is a free-standing object in the form of a palm tree—made from anodized aluminum and wooden elements. In other pieces, wood is combined with a textile and colorful anodized aluminum, visually representing the magic of constantly changing substances—like water in an oasis that reflects endless sand dunes.

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The palm tree reflects an earlier phenomenon of particular artistic objects, which were often part of luxury Art Deco and modernist interiors of French elite during the 1920s or spacious lofts of Italian 1970s hedonists. It pays homage to decorators like Jean-Michel Frank and interior sculptors such as Gabriella Crespi and Jacques Duval-Brasseur. The design even references pieces such as the Sanremo lamp palm, created by Archizoom and Dario Bartolini for Design Centre/Poltronova in 1968, as well as the interior of the Austrian Travel Agency in Vienna, filled with statues of golden palm trees, which was created by Hans Hollein 10 years later.

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Other parts of the collection are characterized by a sophisticated combination of materials, their rough qualities and subtle colors. A daybed with wooden backing features simple design crafted from colored metal bars, then draped with the fabric cushion designed by Wright. It features fine graphic motives highlighting the visuality and atmosphere of desert dunes.

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The room divider is made from a colorful textile screen hung on a lightweight metal frame. Metal stools of almost clumsy forms—named Baby Sister Stool and Baby Night Table—are left untreated to cause patina, always changing like the sand in the desert, constantly disappearing and appearing again. For their collection, Šumová and Wright also created a little book with illustrations of objects and poetic lyrics that evoke personal insights and fairytales, as well as Antoine de Saint Exupéry dreaming of his Little Prince in the middle of the desert.

Photos by Michal Šeba

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