In my post on Design Milk about key learnings from the Spring Milan Furniture Fair 2010, I wrote about the total shift away from the stark, ultra perfect architectural designs we had being enjoying for years in the outdoor market and were growing utterly bored with.

Times had changed and appetite for new shapes was obvious. Curves were all the rage in new outdoor furniture pieces. However, because the Milan Furniture Fair is about just that — furniture — we were left wondering how this new style would play out in the other areas of outdoor design: pots and planters, kitchens, showers, etc.

This week Maison & Objet and imm cologne open, both brilliant windows on new European design. From preview mailings, it seems the curve mania is gathering pace.

Bull & Stein, the creator of now famous ceramic ornamental Apples, are presenting a new range of pots. The designs by Markus Weigel, are emblematic of this new curvy style.

Killer whales. Photo by Fremlin on Flickr

I asked Marcus about the design inspired by nature’s own Orcas (killer whales).

You have been amazingly successful with your Apples ornaments, why have you branched out into this new product category?

As you say, for about 8-10 years there has been a status quo on the outdoor planters market. The 30-year-old trend for Italian terracotta will never end, but it could welcome some freshening up! The first wave of “modern” pots and planters in zinc and polyester were a fresh take on things. Now we have become too used to them. Also these materials have shown many quality issues specially when lesser quality brands try their hand at them.

The market is truly saturated with the perfectly balance, strict architectural looks. Straight and edgy lines have been seen and implanted everywhere. Designers are now looking to new sources of inspiration and nature shows us its perfect forms. We had lost sight of this.

What is the creative or technical process?

Nature was our inspiration and specifically the Orca [whales]. They are extraordinary animals. If you look at them you get a sense of energy and force without hostility. The patterns on their body contribute to that. We loved the way nature has “designed” the curves with so sharply contrasting colors.

The posts are high-fired at 1,200°C, meant to be frostproof. Of course, we were not yet able to make any tests, they just came out of the kilns and will be specifying this.

Do custom versions exist?

Yes, we do custom versions if technically possible. We can custom make any combination for architectural projects. In any case they come in white/white, black/black, anthracite/white, and gold-bronze/white.

Thanks Marcus. More soon about what is on show at imm cologne and Maison & Objet!