If I had to choose my favourite launch of the season so far, it would have to be the Pira G2 from String Furniture.
As one of the most well-known names in Nordic design, I interviewed Peter Erlandsson, the co-founder and owner of String Furniture for this blog last year, and I was thrilled when I saw their latest addition receiving the acclaim it deserved at this year’s Stockholm Furniture Festival.
It was architect Anna von Schewen and the industrial designer Björn Dahlström that were tasked with reimagining Swedish architect Olle Pira’s 1954 classic piece, and I recently got to chat with them to find out more:
Could you start by introducing yourselves and tell us how your collaboration with String Furniture began?
Alongside running our own individual design studios, where we work separately with a wide range of clients, we have been collaborating with String Furniture for ten years now on extending their iconic String system.
It was back in 2019 that they asked us if we were interested in designing a contemporary take on the Pira shelf, but we hesitated at first. Once we found out that the ambition was never to design a retro-style piece of furniture, but rather to embrace the core idea behind it, we couldn’t wait to get started.
We all know and love the original String System, but what is it about the Pira shelving unit that makes it so unique?
The Pira shelf predates Nisse and Kajsa Strinning’s classic design, and was one of the first, perhaps THE first system that ran from floor to ceiling.
With its clean lines and light frame it went on to become a mid-century masterpiece and proudly found a place in some of the most design conscious homes of the age, being used as both a shelving unit and a room divider.
When it comes to re-interpreting an iconic design such as this how do you create something new?
Very early in the process, we decided that the Pira G2, while maintaining the spirit of the original, should be as flexible and functional as any other contemporary system.
By focusing in on the materials and the techniques relevant for constructing it, once the modular components are put together, the system appears completely seamless.
Yet, because it consists of several pieces in different lengths, the Pira G2 can also be very easily demounted, transported, and reconfigured to fit different spaces, ensuring it can constantly adapt and change to its owner’s needs.
Can you explain what makes the Pira G2 different to other shelving systems available?
The Pira G2 is staggeringly versatile and strong. Whether wall-mounted or used as freestanding piece of furniture, its central aluminium poles extend to reach ceilings of up to 318cm high, and the lacquered steel shelves can each carry up to 50kg in weight.
Another important feature is how it fits together, even though its modular once assembled it seems to have been built as one thanks to its interlocking parts. With almost no visible screws it makes for a very clean and tidy installation.
What for you makes the Pira G2 even better than the original?
With its metal frame and a choice of contrasting walnut or white oak cabinets and bookends, the Pira G2 is elegantly delicate, yet brutally robust.
Carrying an obvious gravitas and architectural expression it enhances any space it’s in while above all providing a very personal place for treasured possessions to be proudly displayed.
Thank you, Anna and Björn, for taking the time to chat with me. If you would like to find out more about the Pira G2, visit the String Furniture website.
All images courtesy of String Furniture.