Building furniture in Montessori style means creating a child-friendly, comfortable and accessible environment. The lines that characterize these furnishings are simple and the materials are natural, such as wood.
THE MONTESSORI METHOD
The Montessori educational method is based on free activity within an environment tailored to the structural and cognitive characteristics of children and teenagers. The function of the environment and of the furnishings that complete their spaces is to allow them to spontaneously develop autonomy in all evolutionary areas. The environment must therefore be built in proportion to the child. It must be beautiful, harmonious and clean, it must facilitate movement and activities, while limiting the tools. A space free of obstacles and minimal, free to be experienced independently, without the help or interaction of an adult. Children in these environments are free to choose, create, invent and become aware of themselves and their potential in a process of self-education and self-control. Montessori pedagogy starts from birth and develops up to adolescence with the aim of making the child not only independent, but also responsible and aware towards individual, but also social growth.
A fundamental prerogative of Montessori furnishings is the possibility for the child to reach the object easily and independently for sensory activities. Then leave it free to be “called” by the object. Furniture with an impact that is not only physical but also visual, fantastic and emotional. Elements that become playmates and life companions where adults are guests or spectators in the environment.
To marry the Montessori principles is this bookcase, made at child height in order to encourage the free choice of the favorite book. All or most of the books are displayed in full view and in an orderly manner, even better if with the cover visible and not on the edge. The shelves are easily accessible while the closed parts are designed to make opening easy and intuitive.
The “Little Cheerful Bookcase” in the shape of a house has shelves visible in the upper part and lower doors with a laser-cutted handle in the shape of a happy face. The opening takes place precisely by inserting the fingers in the “voids” of the smiley, stimulating the touch for gripping the doors. Internally, a shelf is available for any small items. Made of poplar wood it was subsequently painted with non-toxic water-based paints that still allow the natural grain of the poplar to be glimpsed. All this to introduce the theme of colour, respecting the reference to nature present in the choice of material.
The Montessori turret is also called the Learning Tower. This is essentially a wooden ladder that allows the child to stand up, in total safety thanks to the side bulkheads. Thanks to this “elevation from the ground” all the adult furnishings, such as the kitchen top, tables or sinks, also become accessible for the child. The latter thus manages to carry out, in complete autonomy, various actions such as brushing his teeth, hands or carrying out small household chores which allow him to acquire autonomy. The steps of the Montessori tower also train the child in the actions of going up and down which he will have to deal with when dealing with higher stairs.
Here is our creation in the shape of a giraffe in which the second step is removable and can be raised according to the height of the child. This turret is a useful accessory and can also be used as a stool; in fact, the child can sit on the first step and the second shelf acts as a back support.
An example is our giraffe-shaped creation in which the second step is removable and can be raised according to the child’s height. A multifunctional element, it can also be used as a stool using the first step as a seat, while the second shelf acts as a back support.
The Montessori bed is mainly characterized by its height designed to allow the child to get on and off in complete autonomy. There are no side bars to impede movement, freedom becomes a design metaphor for essential and intuitive furniture. There is therefore no back headboard, but the mattress is rather embraced by the surrounding wooden structure. Montessori cribs can have side bars that give them a cottage look or, as in these cases, an Indian hut.
Lights, toys or possibly a sheet can be hung on the upper bar to underline the feeling of den and protection. The vision and perception of the child inside his bedroom are therefore total visual freedom of the entire environment and his surroundings.
The Pikler Triangle is a game-tool created by a Hungarian pediatrician, Emmi Pikler, based on the Montessori Method. According to Pikler, it was important to follow the pace of development of each individual child, giving them the opportunity to move and experiment with the body and its movements in complete freedom. In order to express their emotions, the child uses movement as the first means of communication. For this reason, leaving them free to move and experiment is very important for growth and psychomotor development, as well as relational and emotional.
Here our Pikler triangle, characterized by a triangular-shaped wooden structure which can be associated with a platform-ramp, which hooks onto the pegs of the triangle. The latter can be used by the child to climb, go up or down and in a thousand other imaginative ways. With this tool, children learn to discover and understand the movements of their body, control and manage movements, coordinate themselves. It favors the development of the autonomous motor sense when used to climb, go up and down, but it is also an interesting stimulus for the imagination when used as a tunnel or hut, or much more.
CONCLUSIONS ON THE MONTESSORI METHOD
Montessori pedagogy is therefore not only based on independence, freedom and respect for the child’s natural physical, psychological and social development, but also on a sense of responsibility and awareness towards the network that links every small entity to a larger macrocosm. Children deserve spaces where they can move, play and sleep, wake up and experiment. Sometimes we think that a newborn baby is small, vulnerable and unable to open up to the world, but that’s not the case at all. By trusting the child, right from birth, his growth will be balanced and independent and he will feel more secure in each new step.
As citizens of the world we have the opportunity to live in contact with nature and its luxuriant flora. We can immerse ourselves in a natural environment that is there, has always existed and can be found a stone’s throw from home or a half-day trip if we live in a large metropolis. But do we really know how to recognize all this greenery that surrounds us?
THE MUNICIPAL OBJECTIVE
In the municipality of Ranica an ambitious project was born by the municipal council. Lapping the Parco dei Colli with all its splendor and beauty, the Ranica hill starts from a significant height and slowly descends towards the Serio river. In this very diversified panorama, given by the difference of heights and climatic conditions, we have the opportunity to find a variety of flora that characterizes the different areas concerned. Born from the desire to promote and encourage territorial discovery, a public space dedicated to this was born in the historic center of the town of Ranica and near the ascent to the hill.
FLORA AND UNDERGROUND SPACE
The FLO&S space (Flora and Underground) was born from the creative idea of the architect Patrizia Berera, part of the Network of Botanical Gardens of Lombardy. Not far from our beloved Cartolibreria, it is located in the porch of via San Luigi in Ranica, an old renovated farmhouse in a foothill position. This has a raised access to the courtyard. Not being the multiplex space but developed for a long time as a large corridor, the project concept was able to optimize it by creating a sort of interactive path. Intended for a varied target, mainly school, it aims to show the various elements of flora and subsoil and to introduce their discovery through various communication methods.
At the entrance, a walkway that cuts through the entire space guides the user inwards, making the visit even more immersive and evocative. This is made up of different types of stone and wood, the same ones that can be found, in their raw state, in the surrounding area. Among them, Zandobbio marble, Gré strain, cherry wood, oak and fir. The available walls have been divided into macro-areas:
a top view of the hall with and the different exhibition areas.
The entrance was dedicated to welcoming and on the two sloping front walls a small text will explain the objectives and the meaning of the space. On the side, relevant information material are provided. After crossing this corridor, which narrows like a funnel, on the right side (called A) we find a long wall where there is a full-height illustration. Here, based on the elevation of the hill, it shows the species of trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants found in the local flora. This large panel illustrated by us (more details on this here) presents the silhouette of the tree or shrub, the flower and the fruit that allow its recognition and all the flowers and herbs on the ground. Beside the elements we have created small wooden boxes accessible to all for what is tactile communication. In fact, depending on the reference season, there will be flowers, leaves or fruits with which it will be possible to interact. In this way, you will have the perception of the roughness, the smell and the fragility or softness of the blooms that can be better recognized in an excursion on the hill.
In the lower part, on the other hand, there are equipped furniture, which can either act as a “teaching room” or as service furniture for the storage of goods dedicated to space. These low seating elements, also present in the other two spaces that we will illustrate shortly, have drawers or flap opening.
In the second wall (called B) the interaction is not only active but also “creative“. At the user’s disposal there is a blackboard surface and chalks with which to draw the favorite flora element. On the side, however, a box acts as a container for magnets or herbarium, inside magnetic letters or botanical cards that go into the whole theoretical part of the images found in the illustrated wall. This slate can be multifunctional, or at the service of the box with botanical cards or even useful for notices or seasonal thematic updates.
On the third wall (called C), on the other hand, all the issues related to the subsoil are explored. Inside the showcase and on the shelves, common minerals of the area are displayed in their pure state. The left side of the showcase has been deliberately designed with a “variable trim“. This means that the shelves can change their position within the space or be removed completely.
FINISHES AND MADE
Given the very neutral finishes of the space, which see a light gray stoneware floor and plastered walls in the same shade, our furnishings also wanted to be light and bright. Everything is white, with a wooden appeal in the display boxes. This is to let the images and the colorful central walkway be the protagonists of the space.
The space will not only be a mirror of the Ranica’s flora but can also be used as an educational space for workshops and lessons. It will in fact be linked to some projects of the local school circuit. In anticipation of this we have created square tables that can extend, opening crosswise with hinges, to accommodate more users. These tables will be free to stop and arrange themselves, in time of need, with different arrangements. Useful as mobile displays, they will be stored in the small warehouse located at the entrance, mirroring the bathroom.
here some proposals for the spatial arrangement of the open tables
Last weekend the FLO&S space was publicly inaugurated by the Mayor and the junta of Ranica. All the actors who have set up the space and will take care of it in the future have intervened. The donations of rare minerals have been substantial and make the space even more valuable. In addition, a list of events is already active starting from summer until next year. We can only encourage participation in events and trust that this space becomes an integral part of our community. Good luck Spazio FLO&S!
Nowadays the iron and the metals that are inserted in the furnishings have been returning to their natural finish, called in jargon “raw” (raw iron is commonly called black).
This brings out the material with which the product was made and its natural imperfections make it even more alive and unique in its kind.
THE BLACK IRON
The word “iron” in common parlance is usually used to also indicate low strength “iron alloys” and mild steels which have a silvery-gray appearance.
Very resistant, ductile and malleable, they are distinguished by black iron which is darker, more delicate and is used exclusively for indoor structures, therefore much less exposed to atmospheric agents.
To preserve it from humidity and the risk of rust appearing even in sheltered environments, black iron is usually treated in a very natural way with beeswax or transparent varnish, both solutions make it slightly brighter and create a sort of film protective.
A Boutique realized where the concept Fil Rouge was precisely the combined black iron and material finishes
THE IRON IN THE STRUCTURES OF THE ELEMENTS
The peculiarity of polymaterial structures is that the different materials are harmoniously associated with their aesthetic and structural characteristics.
In terms of resistance, what wood supports with its 2 cm, metal can do with a tenth of the thickness.
This is why we like to use metals in load-bearing structures, such as the backs of bookcases or furniture. Black iron kept in its natural color can also act as a contrast with a very light lacquer or with a wood-colored essence.
Below are some examples where you can see how the structure is light even if extremely dark.
Also used for fixtures in its industrial spirit, it never abandons glass in combination with room dividers, as for the kitchen below which is separated from the living area.
The shaped tops of the tables and the turned legs are also in very thin black iron sheet.
Black iron is also often used as a “lid” for furniture, a sort of thin blanketthat envelops the entire element and sometimes reaches the floor, becoming a base.
An example are the doors and the column of this kitchen and in the bar cabinet below, where the iron in addition to supporting it repairs the support surface, which, like all horizontal surfaces, is more subject to wear than vertical ones.
Due to its dark and irregular color, very masculine and elegant, black iron can also be used as a wall covering to create a sort of partition or portal.
A portal to divide the rooms inside the house, at a symbolic level to make the user cross towards a place that will be able to express himself only when he crosses the black threshold, many times illuminated from above or sideways with LED strips.
Here are some examples of portals, some inserted only in the doorway and others much more structured, with also an equipped part in which to hide some furniture at the service of the house.
Portals that act as partitions and equipped portals
Branding paneling, on the other hand, is very common in the Retail sector, for example the corners of the Tiziana Fausti shop, in which the black iron panels visible from the central space have externally the laser engraved logo of the Brand which is located inside the box used for it.
Having a furniture completely made of black iron is not only possible, but sometimes it is the right choice for certain types of environments and goes well with the rest of the furniture.
Here is our realization of a niche furniture in which doors and structure, both external and internal, are covered or structured in black iron.
Here is also another example of a black iron structure with desks and tables in the same material made by Locatelli & Partners inside a church, their old operational headquarters.
The contrast of the cold and dark material inserted in a context that does not belong to it, as in this case a Baroque church with warm tones and completely frescoed walls enhances the material and turns out to be a harmonious union.
THE BLACK IRON IN THE DETAILS
Black iron can also be found in small details and accessories, such as handles and frames.
They turn out to be a touch of color and a detachment of fundamental material for some very clear and bright environments.
The detail gives an extra touch of elegance to the environment and characterizes it, an example are these full-height handles that reflect the frame of the glass partition of this splendid kitchen made in Barcelona.
We have previously said that the surfaces of raw materials can be non-uniform and have defects such as scratches or changes in tone in the plate.
Excellent for industrial-style interiors, black iron was in fact very common in production workshops at the height of the industrial revolution, sometimes even rusty and together with oxidized brass, ceramics, knotty solid wood and antiqued glass it became the symbol of those years.
This raw effect of raw materials has become a trend of companies and design and architecture studios and in recent years it is in great demand. Precisely for this reason, numerous products have been created that reproduce the textures inspired by the essences of wood, black iron or natural stones for exclusive wall coverings or home furniture.
The important thing about these finishes in addition to the visual aspect are the tactile emotions capable of arousing thanks to rough and often irregular surfaces, which together are called material finishes.
Together with black iron, an anthracite-colored textured paint can give a hint of color and roughness to other elements in which iron is not present but which are in the same environment.
An example are these shaped shelves associated with a black iron desk with a Linoleum desktop in the same shade of gray in the center of the top.
THE BLACK IRON IN THE PROJECTS
After all these examples we can only break a lance in favor of raw black iron, like a dark dress that is always in fashion its use, which is both bold and bold or minimized in small details in home furnishings makes it alive, vintage and fascinating at the same time.
A large bedroom in natural tonalities incorporates the wooden architectural elements of the attic sleeping area, also hosting a walk-in closet in the rear bed structure. Adjacent to the bedroom, a textured glass sliding door leads to the large master bathroom, which is also in touch with the study.
The wooden master room with a welcoming atmosphere
The architectural context of this sleeping area has a well-defined character. On the ground, a parquet with a rustic look, with marked knots and veins and a light polishing that emphasizes its softness. The ceiling is enriched by wooden beams in warm amber tones with a central ridge. On the sides, elegant draperies embrace the window with large windows, filtering the natural light in favor of an intimate and welcoming environment.
A combination of rustic and elegant elements, also taken up in the choice of the wrought iron bed structure, combined with important golden velvets. Recalling the material choice of the architectural envelope, the rear bed structure hides the bilateral access to the walk-in closet.
The doors and the covering panels of the structure are indeed hidden through a geometric composition that marks the visual rhythm of the wall.
At the center of this, an open compartment with bottom and support base in ocher lacobel which, lightened by a recessed LED strip in the upper part, is enriched with a golden hue.
A wardrobe cabin obtained in the rear bed space
To optimize space, having a large double bedroom, the solution that best responds to functionality is to equip the rear bed with a wooden structure that also acts as access to the walk-in closet. This, as already done in this classic villa, uses the longitudinal setting to alternate hanging tubes, shelves for folded items and drawers for linen.
The conformation of the walk-in closet and its bilateral access define the user flows and usability. Even in this micro room, the material choice of the individual components plays a fundamental role in defining the overall aesthetic impact. In particular, the shoulders and vertical elements in general are characterized by the matt white lacquer, while the horizontality is emphasized with wooden shelves and drawer fronts.
The communicating bathroom with natural tones
From the bedroom, through a sliding glass door, you enter the bathroom whose wooden cabinet incorporates the material choice of the entire sleeping area.
This is characterized by the presence of large drawers with push opening surmounted by a white lacobel top with ceramic countertop washbasin. The wall-mounted stainless-steel taps are framed by a white lacobel plate that recalls the bathroom top.
A large mirror with integrated lighting amplifies the perception of space by giving additional brightness to the environment. The use of LED strips is also taken up in this environment, emphasizing the material transition between the tiled cladding and the wall.
The bathroom becomes a communicating area between the bedroom and the study, taking advantage of the double side access. The latter takes place from the bedroom side through a sliding door in textured glass with a wood effect, and from the study side with a hinged door of the same aesthetic line.
A bedroom in wood, with a natural scent, takes advantage of the functionality of a walk-in closet behind the bed to optimize space. The choice of natural materials and soft lighting, with a Hygge taste, creates a relaxing and hospitable environment. To deepen the theme of the wooden sleeping area, here are two other creations in which the natural material par excellence becomes the protagonist: Comfort among the peaks and a Shabby Chic studio apartment.
To have Hygge at home it is necessary to give it that sense of warmth, well-being and intimacy that perhaps it lacks. It is well established that living better in the home environment not only makes us feel better but makes us appreciate our daily life more till making us more happy.
a warm and welcoming Hygge living room.
WHAT IS HYGGE?
A survey has identified in the Danish people the happiest in the world and in the Hygge its recipe for happiness, which is why it is so fashionable and more and more people try to steal its secrets to obtain a better psychophysical well-being. However, giving a meaning to the Danish term Hygge is not easy, it is linked more to an atmosphere and an experience than something tangible. It is the feeling of being at home, protected from the world and safe, conversing about the big or small things in life with friends or enjoying a cup of hot chocolate alone in total relaxation. Due to their specific social-cultural-economic conditions, the Danes spend 71% of their free time at home, which is why Interior Design is essential to experience the Hiemmehygge, or the Homemade Hygge. But what are the keys to success for having a more Higgelig home?
two Higgelig living rooms, one more modern and the second more vintage.
WHAT ARE THE FEATURES OF THE HYGGELIG HOME?
The lights are fundamental in the Hyggelig house, soft and “alive” like those of candles, many and everywhere, together with excellent artificial lighting. In fact, the Danes have a real obsession with lamps, they choose and strategically place them inside the house. They prefer design lamps, such as the PH lamp by Henningsten or the Panton VP Globe by Verner Panton capable of diffusing a soft light which is however reflected by the structure of the lamp using in combination with bulbs with low and warm voltages, on 1800 K.
Moodboard of the Hygge style, from the lights, to the furnishings and colors.
In the Hygge headquarters, that is our home, a Hyggekrog could be the strategic point dedicated to pure relaxation, the area of a room where you like to snuggle under a blanket holding a book and a cup of tea. It can be near a light source, like a window, or next to a warm place, like a wood-burning fireplace. This love for confined spaces or real “dens” has been with us since we were children but has an ancestral origin. Sitting in a Hyggekrog makes us feel safe away from any potential threats, allowing us to relax.
Three different Hyggekrogs: one specially designed to the side of the light source and two instead obtained as window / glazing work, one richer and the other more minimal
A fireplace or a wood stove are just as Hyggelig, as well as being a source of warmth and comfort, the sinuous movement of the burning logs relaxes the view and the area around the fireplace becomes convivial, a place to spend time with loved ones and accentuate the intimacy of home life. In the large living room of this contemporary-style villa, the sofas look out at an angle to a side wood-burning fireplace that warms the room without becoming the protagonist of the scene.
The corner coexists on the side of the fireplace and some finishing details and accessories.
The main material is wood, in floors, furniture and even in small household items. Wood makes us feel closer to nature and this is exactly what we want to bring into the house. In fact, there is also a green corner or just leaves, nuts, twigs, anything that makes us feel in the midst of nature.
Tall wooden boiserie are accompanied by a modern fireplace and other wooden elements such as the kitchen table and the backrests and bedside tables in the sleeping area.
If you think about relaxation and intimacy, you also think about the pleasure of reading, if the house is Hygge there will be shelves full of voluminous books. All books are in fact Hyggelige, but the classics written by authors such as Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë or Charles Dickens must occupy a special place among the shelves.
In this modern Milanese kitchen we could define this space dedicated to cookbooks very Higgelig, folders overlap each other but remain available to experience a different form of relaxation, the peace and gratification of well cooking. If Hygge were a person, its could be a cook, who approaches life by understanding the value of a good meal in pleasant company.
Books crowd this small corner dedicated to good food.
THINK OF TOUCH
As initially specified, Hygge is an experience that involves all our senses, including touch. In fact, the materials that inspire positive sensations when touched are also very important, a soft wool or even a hot ceramic cup.
Small colorful accessories, such as the famous Kähler vases, cups, blankets and pillows must not be missing.
Here are houses with blankets, soft pillows and ceramics./p>
THE BEST PERIOD TO PRACTICE THE HYGGE
The best time of the year to enjoy Hygge is about to begin: when the first cold arrives, winter is coming and the days are getting shorter, you feel the need to stay at home more. This is the right time to prepare your “Home Sweet Home” to be warm and welcoming in the coldest season of the year.
What to do after having furnished it? A nice supply of warm sweaters and socks to put on and a nice playlist of songs to listen to while lying on the sofa.
Furthermore, a nice selection of films ready to be seen or a photo album to bring back old and pleasant memories cannot be missing. And above all… lots of sweets, a nice glass of wine, herbal teas and hot chocolates to be enjoyed in peace near your own home.