Shopping Photo Credit: molo

Why We Still Love Vancouver Design Studio molo

A tour of molo’s East Van studio reignites our love for the design firm’s innovative furniture and home accessories.

Simple, clean design runs through every aspect of molo‘s work. Even the design firm’s motto, “strip everything back to the bare essentials and paint it white,” says account manager Andrew Siebert, is obvious as soon as we step foot inside the East Van studio they’ve called home for the past nine years.

Founded in 2003 by Stephanie Forsythe and Todd MacAllen (though the two have actually been working together since 1994 when they met studying architecture in Halifax), molo’s studio is like a gallery; their quirky-but-cool products are on full display, illustrating how they may function in a home and we were all too happy to take a peek inside. You may remember that Editorial Director Anicka Quin fell in love with molo’s float tea lanterns a few years ago, and now, after visiting the studio, I think it’s safe to say we’re still in awe of their innovative designs—here’s why.

(Photo: Stephanie Mitchell.)

1. Their studio is a minimalist’s dream.
A spacious warehouse where minimalism is key, every surface is white; floor-to-ceiling windows allow plenty of natural light to flood the space, making it even brighter. Only one of each product occupies the studio, and the only clutter you might find are the slippers lined at the door, provided for every visitor to ensure the studio stays in its pristine condition.

(Photo: Stephanie Mitchell.)

2. They change the way we think about paper.
Forsythe and MacAllen’s approach is to take a humble material like paper and elevate it to something else. Their products are created using layers of natural paper (a material stiffer than most textiles) that have a honeycomb geometry to give them strength; the honeycomb shape magnifies the paper’s durable properties, making it strong enough to be used as furniture.

(Photo: Stephanie Mitchell.)

3. Their products are sustainable and comfortable.
The studio’s softwall and softseating collections, inspired by origami, are made using responsible and sustainable materials. One would think walls and furniture made of paper would be a fire marshal’s nightmare, but these products are completely fire resistant (and, after literally trying to light the products on fire at a trade show, have the fire marshals’ seal of approval).

The softseating, which we took upon ourselves to test, is surprisingly comfortable as the paper crushes and moulds overtime. “This highlights the beauty of natural materials,” says Siebert. These robust items can fold away into practically nothing or can be combined with other items to make your installation as large as you like.

(Photo: Stephanie Mitchell.)

4. They bring a bit of theatre to your afternoon cuppa.
In addition to their innovative paper products, molo is famous for its glassware. The float collection was the studio’s first product, inspired by the designers’ time spent learning about glass blowing in the Czech Republic. The glass insulates the liquid to maintain your desired temperature; whether you like your morning beverage over ice or hot from the kettle, the float lantern design accommodates both. The entire collection is transparent, allowing you to appreciate your daily espresso and loose leaf teas in all their glory.

(Photo: Stephanie Mitchell.)

5. They put an emphasis on practicality.
The cantilever table was designed with collaboration in mind. Here, Siebert demonstrates how the circular pad can be used to jot down your ideas and inspirations and quickly spin them around for your colleagues to see. It’s like a lazy Susan for your Monday meetings.

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