Mixing dissimilar materials in a single product or installation lets designers highlight the relative features of each. Think frosted glass and shimmering metal, or rough-hewn wood and smooth concrete. This week, we’re showcasing products whose clever material juxtapositions play to the strengths of each component, from dark-colored canvas and leather to sheer fabric and LEDs. 

Trace 1, Blu Dot
A subtly tinted glass shade rests atop a metallic pendant to accentuate the luminous effect of Trace 1 from Minneapolis-based Blu Dot. The modern frame, suspended from a cloth-covered cord, can be powdercoated in white and charcoal, or finished in copper plating. Suited for restaurant and kitchen bars, the luminaire creates an air of intimacy using a maximum 40W incandescent. 

Blu Dot

Indigo, Stephen Kenn
Los Angeles–based designer Stephen Kenn worked with the local Noon Design Studio to hand-dip cotton canvas in indigo dye to create the cushion covers for his denim-inspired Indigo sofa and chair. The pair joins the designer’s 2011 Inheritance collection of tables and seating. The latest additions place cushions atop complementary honey-colored leather straps that are supported by an oxidized copper frame. For commercial variations, the cushions are attached to the frame for durability.

Ben Cope

Elumino Aves and Sema, Creation Baumann
Swiss textile maker Création Baumann embedded LEDs in sheer and lightweight opaque fabric to create two dynamic draperies. The dimmable diodes dot the textiles’ surface with individual hot spots while their wiring is integrated as embroidery. The opaque Elumino Aves and sheer Elumino Sema and are offered in three neutral colorways, with their bright spots adding whimsy to interior illumination.

Création Baumann

Sleepers Coffee Table, Rail Yard Studios
Wood, steel, granite, and glass revive an era of industrial growth in this coffee table from Nashville-based Rail Yard Studios. Rail salvaged from the Tennessee Coal & Iron Company is paired with new, untreated crossties that were rejected from use on actual railroads due to minor defects. An interior trough is filled with granite ballast and the entire unit is topped with a clear glass lite. A reclaimed date nail—formerly used to mark railroad ties—is added to demarcate piece and bring its users back in time. Studio owner and designer Robert Hendrick spoke with ARCHITECT at this year’s AIA Convention in Chicago about his products.

Rail Yard Studios

Aeon Rocket, Lightyears
A metal shell and folded polypropylene diffuser comprise this decorative pendant by Copenhagen, Denmark–based designer Morten Voss for Dutch manufacturer Lightyears. The Aeon Rocket’s steel and aluminum shell, which comes in 400mm and 600mm diameters, is finished in gray and black matte lacquers. Lamped with an E27 light source.