At Bklyn Designs: Childhood Memories

I suppose all designers play off past experiences, but Rui Docouto of Site Specific Design does it bigger and better than anyone with his Childhood Memories, a furniture and lighting collection inspired by his youthful fascinations.

Nephila lamp, from the Childhood Memories collection. Designed by Rui Docouto. Manufactured by Site Specific Design.

I couldn’t have come across this product collection at a better time, as I just returned to New York City after spending a long weekend in Orlando with my baby sister, re-exploring all the wonders of Disney World. If you were raised watching Disney cartoons, you should be very familiar with the film Fantasia, a fairytale journey into the mind of Mickey Mouse. The movie is great, but the live show at Disney’s Hollywood Studio is even more powerful. And I promise I never thought I’d ever reference a Disney script, but Mickey’s final line says it all: “Imagination is a powerful thing.” I’d contend that Rui Docouto proves just how powerful the imagination can be.

As he explains, “childhood Memories goes all the way back to the late 1960's, Terceira, Azores. The late 60's and 70's in Terceira had its limitations on commercial toys, so exploring nature was a very natural form of entertainment for a child. Those memories left a tremendous impact on [me] as an adult.”

The primary design goal with these bug lamps, is to prompt a feeling of movement as though they were alive and in the process of movement. And without doubt, the Nephila achieves this ambition. While I hate to make two crude film references in one article, I am still going to do it: this sculptural lamp reminds me of the robots/machines featured in the Matrix (which too were probably inspired by childhood memories belonging to both Wachowski brothers). Even the name Nephila sounds appropriate amongst Neo, Morpheus, Trinity…

At Bklyn Designs: Childhood Memories

Top Dinner Table (left). Top (right). Both from the Childhood Memories collection. Designed by Rui Docouto. Manufactured by Site Specific Design.

The top dinner table is also inspired by the designer’s childhood. This time it’s an interest in spinning tops, which serve as sculptural base/pedestals for an amazingly beautiful dining table. I promise it’s even more extraordinary in person. This base is solid layered plywood, while the tabletop can be customized to a client’s request. Again, motion is a key element here; you can’t help but wonder if the base will ever come to life. I actually mentioned to the designer that if I were to have this dining table in my apartment, I’d want the spinning-top inspired base to serve as a mechanism for reconfiguring the tabletop from a simple rectangle to perhaps an L, or a T shape configuration. That said, I am not personally in a position to purchase a table that probably tickets at $10,000+.

I can’t help but get excited when looking at these products, and I hope you (our readers) feel the same enthusiasm. At the very least, this will prompt all sorts of strange childhood (possibly foolish) references, but I am fairly certain that’s the point as this collection aims to bring your reality into collision with your imagination.

I’ll end with one final Mickey phrase: “Imagination power!”

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