Victorinox may be best known as the makers of the original Swiss Army knife, but their product categories certainly do not stop there. They’ve long produced well-received watches, and recently launched into luggage, apparel and more—but a new collaboration with LA-based furniture designer Stephen Kenn demonstrates a commitment to furniture as well. The impressive three-piece collection—part of the Victorinox’s Makers series—features walnut wood, steel (in bone, grey and charcoal colors) and glass mirrors, all of which unite in multi-purpose, useful pieces: a chair that unfolds into a sturdy stepladder, a convertible desk or coffee table with a variable drafting top, and a storage column with three rotating stacked cubes. Each features their own concise geometries and flourishes.
Kenn has been interested in military and portable furniture for some time, along with camping furniture that can be broken down, packed up and moved along. As he explains to CH, though, “I took a lot of inspiration from the Swiss army knife, even though I know the brand is more than that.” During childhood, Kenn’s father took him and his brothers to purchase their first knives. “I have a lot of nostalgia around that,” he says. “I remember memorizing where everything was and thinking about how it was so compact. This led me, now, to think about furniture and if we could make something multi-functional that appears one way and then you play with it and interact with it and you discover more.” Beyond the Stepladder Chair’s multipurpose nature, the table can drop down from desk height to coffee table height and the vertical credenza-like storage column is so versatile that Kenn believes it can be set in a kitchen, living room or bedroom. One side features a wood door that opens into the cabinet, one side has two collapsable bookshelves, one a mirror and the last a whiteboard—truly meeting most needs.
The collection will be available September 2016 from Stephen Kenn; the Stepladder Chair retailing for $1,800, the Convertable Desk for $2,400 and the Storage Column at $4,500.
Images by Evan Orensten