Australian Designer Nikolai Kotlarczyk Collaborates with SP01

  • HERO IMAGE SP01
  • Imagery SP01
  • WORDS Stephen Crafti
  • est living royce armchair nikolai kotlarczyk spo1 4 750x540

    The Royce armchair by Nikolai Kotlarczyk might be produced by a leading Italian furniture manufacturer, but its inspiration can be tracked to Byron Bay, thousands of miles away.

    For Nikolai Kotlarczyk, who lived in Bryon Bay for many years and is now based in Copenhagen, it was the local wildlife that was one of many influences. “With the Royce, it was more of a nostalgic process for me, bringing some of nature and colour that I was very lucky to grow up surrounded by, into my world in Copenhagen,” Nikolai says, recalling the dense rainforest in Byron Bay’s hinterland. “The Wompoo Fruit-Dove was certainly an inspiration,” adds Nikolai, referring to the chair’s distinct wing-like backrest.

    Produced in partnership with Space Furniture

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    The Royce armchair available with and without a headrest by Nikolai Kotlarczyk for SP01.

    Nikolai Kotlarczyk had never worked with the SP01 team until the Royce. But two of the company’s representatives had come across the Royce’s original prototype presented at the Stockholm Furniture Fair in 2018 and it was then put in front of SP01’s creative director Matt Lorrain. And then, as they say, ‘the rest is history’, with Nikolai making regular trips to SP01’s Sydney headquarters.

    The Royce sits perfectly not only in both commercial and residential interiors but is aligned with SP01’s design aesthetic. “We both share a love of design history, and we are both drawn to similar design movements, whether that be Italian expressionism or Scandinavian mid-century minimalism, but combining these with a fresh take on contemporary forms,” Nikolai says. “We also appreciate fluent and beautiful lines that, most importantly function really well,” he adds.

    At a time when more people are working from home for at least part of the week, the Royce is a fine balance between work and home. “I think Royce balances both worlds. It has the character and expression of a piece more suited to residential environments, yet is crafted from durable materials, steel and hardwearing upholstery, to suit a variety of environments, including hotel lobbies, bars and the broader hospitality,” Nikolai says. And irrespective of where the Royce is placed, there’s a sense of lightness even with its voluptuous cushioned interior. “I wanted the chair to feel warm and embracing.”

    “We both share a love of design history, and we are both drawn to similar design movements, whether that be Italian expressionism or Scandinavian mid-century minimalism, but combining these with a fresh take on contemporary forms…”

     

    Nikolai Kotlarczyk

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    The Royce armchair features contrast piping which punctuates the wing-shaped backrest and an external tubular steel frame.

    est living royce armchair nikolai kotlarczyk spo1 2

    When seated together, the two Royce armchairs engage in a direct curvaceous dialogue.

    Although the Royce armchair is a classic of our times, there are influences from the past that can be seen in its form, in particular, a “hint of a traditional club chair in its size and stature, but in this case, substituting a solid timber frame with the grace and lightness of curved steel,” Nikolai says, who feels the Royce balances the line between being expressive and also minimal. The variety of fabrics and leathers, together with finishes, either powder-coated or chrome finishes, allows for a unique expression that enables it to respond to any setting.

    “With the Royce, I wasn’t trying to revolutionise a chair – it’s about creating a beautiful, functional and durable piece of design,” Nikolai says. “We spent a lot of time getting the cushioning just right to make sure Royce is somewhere you are happy to stay sitting for a long period of time”. Few, if any, would disagree!

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    Nikolai Kotlarczyk

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