SOUTH BAY DIGS | Digital Edition Online

February 21, 2020

DIGS is the premiere luxury real estate lifestyle magazine serving the most affluent neighborhoods in the South Bay and Westside of Los Angeles, California.

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60 DIGS.NET | 2.21.2020 P R O F I L E | U M É S T U D I O A R C H I T E C T U R E + D E S I G N A few years ago, the two architects met while working at Herzog & de Meuron in Basel, Switzerland, and quickly realized that they were on converging paths. "We felt we had a creative connection and shared a graphic vision of things," says Tan. In 2016, they took the plunge and launched their own design studio in northern California. "It was a bit of a coincidence; Victor was working on a project in San Francisco and we somehow found an amazing space in Oakland, which was perfect for our vision," Tan remembers. But that doesn't mean things are easy. "The Bay Area design scene is very small," she adds. "It's all about tech so it's a hard place to be creative." Yet, day after day these talents create series of limited-edition objects in partnership with other architects, designers, artisans and artists on the West Coast, as well as around the world, including Paris, Kyoto and Bali. "It is very much a story of connections—sometimes friends—people we respect, people with a craft, always people with a story and with whom we can dialogue to create," Lefebvre explains. "Our practice is at once global and local, with a focus on designing objects for the everyday, meant to engage and incite curiosity, be less prescriptive and more personal, and connect people, their cultures and their histories." The items—ranging from soaps, trays, cups and bowls to mirrors and sofas—designed by Umé Studio all reflect the idea of transcending the original function of these everyday objects, whose aesthetic are "simple and thoughtful" according to Tan and Lefebvre. Simultaneously powerful and poetic, these products are the result of an exploration of their contextual relationships. "We believe an object's shape and use is derived from its making and is deeply committed to allowing an object's function and the process behind it to inspire its form," they say. "It is this dialogue of the hand, the shape it produces, and an object's ensuing use that creates this subtle tension that we understand as beauty." So far, one of Umé Studio's most demanding projects has been the sofa the duo designed in collaboration with Japanese futon factory Takaokaya that took them two years to bring to life. Tan and Lefebvre's biggest

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