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Second Nature - Recreate


The term Second Nature describes a desire to “re-create” nature inside domestic environments through the medium of design. People see this process as bringing them closer to the primeval elements of life, restoring lost harmony with the environment.  

In this context, the home and the objects inside it tend to take on the characteristics of “living” organisms, in which nature and artifice coexist in a bid to bring renewed equilibrium and a voluntary and conscious return to one’s origins.

The organic and plant world is becoming a source of inspiration for designers, from which they draw shapes, expressive styles and new modes of interaction with the furnishings by harnessing a process that could be defined as biomimetic.


Corvasce Design’s Moku bookcase looks like a tree with branches on which books can be gracefully arranged. It is made out of recycled and recyclable cardboard, a “poor” and sustainable material with great expressive and structural potential, which is enjoying a new resurgence.

It now seems a very long time since our predecessors would cut down trees, plane them and sand them in order to make furniture and tools, maintaining a powerful connection with all the different stages of their metamorphosis. These days, with the intermediation of design, the idea of the tree, the wood and the raw material is only distantly correlated with the object being used.


This is exactly why the Fallen Tree bench by the French designer Benjamin Graindorge has its particular own appeal. The sculpture – because that is basically what it is – is an elegant, linear raw wood seat supported by a slab of glass at one end, extending harmoniously to rest on a real branch at the other.


Eleven of these were produced and presented by the YMER&MALTA gallery at the 2015 FIAC in Paris. Fallen Tree emphasises the nature of the wood as a living substance, revealing the primeval, powerful and indomitable identity of the raw material. It is more than a metaphorical bridge between the origins and end use of an object by means of its transformation.

Of all the most fascinating natural phenomena, two undoubtedly take pride of place: eclipses and rainbows. Inspired by these, the Greek designer Eugenia Antoniou has created Eclipse of Rainbow, a lamp that reproduces them both.


When off, it looks like a very ordinary standard lamp, with a white disc fitted just below the black lampshade. However, once turned on, the lamp changes completely, thanks to a series of LED bulbs which emit the colours of the rainbow, and to the disk which projects a shadow onto the floor, in turn recreating the phenomenon of the eclipse of a celestial body.


Eclipse Rainbow – which received an honourable mention at the Red Dot Design Award 2015 and won first prize at the Ideas Design Competition Indoor/Outdoor LED Luminaires 2014 – is an object that contains playful elements: light and shade, black and white, synthesised and harmonised in order to reproduce a stunning and suggestive indoor experience.

Why put up with an ordinary sitting room when you can have a “living” sitting room? This must have been the idea behind Eindhoven-based Korean designer Juno Jeon’s Alive Furniture, a series of everyday objects that come alive when used. 


Pull Me To Life a small cabinet on four legs that springs to life whenever the drawer is opened or closed. The wooden exterior is covered with tesserae – also made of wood – reminiscent of reptilian scales, which move when the drawer is opened, engendering a different outer colour.

In a similar vein, Fade, a pair of little cabinets, look just like ordinary “storage units” at first sight. But take a couple of steps away, and their surface seems to change colour, except when you stand right in front of them – when they become transparent, revealing their contents.

The Alive Furniture Series takes a novel and surreal look at the objects that surround us, making us interact and communicate with them in a natural and unforced manner, rather than simply “using” them.


There is a simple way of bringing nature into our houses – buying plants – and a less simple way: weaving rugs in the style of Argentinian artist Alexandra Kehayoglou. Kehayoglou uses leftover thread from her family’s carpet factory to laboriously hand-tuft rugs that imitate natural landscapes or reproduce natural places inspired, for example, by Argentinian meadows or Patagonian icebergs, which become tangible loci amoeni, part furnishing and part artwork.


Kehayoglou describes her rugs as “portals” for memories: by directly harnessing the weaving techniques used by her Greek grandparents to create Ottoman carpets, she recreates places she has visited or that she remembers from her childhood.