Alfred van Elk: ‘Glenn Charls is a driven start-up with ingenious ideas and who is very interested in design. He wanted to create pieces of furniture using small Italian glass mosaic tiles (Bisazza). We subsequently decided to do a project together: I would design and he would make it. We have developed chairs, sofas and tables. They have turned out as cool designs, and when I look at them they make me happy in every sense. They are really the result of a joint vision. All kinds of ideas have been incorporated and they are technically sound. Glenn Charls and I share a passion for dogs. We have called the design Pharaoh, after a slim old Egyptian dog species, but also because the material – mosaic – is centuries old. When you look at the furniture, it may seem hard, but the shape is soft and inviting. Dogs are very sociable animals and the design reflects that. You can put the chairs back to back, so they seem to make contact with each other. There is a sense of privacy, but also of sociability.
Products for public space, such as outdoor furniture, need to be durable. Pharaoh is not only durable from a technical point of view, but also visually. This visual durability offers architects the option to insert Pharaoh pieces of furniture in locations that require more than a standard solution: inside or out, in museums, theatres or airports. Pharaoh would, for instance, totally suit the outer deck at Schiphol airport! Architects are inspired by this design, because it shows a development from the two-dimensional to the three-dimensional. Floors and walls in architecture are often geometrical. This design is a step away from that. Because of their small dimensions, the glass mosaic tiles have been applied in the furniture in an undulating design. You can anchor the furniture to the floor, but also position it freely. The pieces of furniture can be made to order at the desired length and in a range of colours and colour combinations. With larger orders, the design is applied to a prefab core.
I like collaborating with people who are very good at making things. This design really makes me happy because it was such an inspiring collaboration with Glenn Charls, who is a very creative and ingenious maker. We experienced a great extent of freedom during the process. It is, in essence, a friendship!’