Summer 2019 – Fringed by more than 150km of white sandy beaches and lagoons protected by the planet’s third largest coral reef, the Island of Mauritius is known for its luxuriant nature. CYPRAEA has created a unique capsule collection which supports the environmental associations Reef Conservation International and Mauritian Wildlife, active in safeguarding the island’s fragile ecosystem.
“Mauritius are like a beautiful shell which, despite being small, possesses a rarity and charm that enables it to be cherished and preserved like a treasure.” Says Cedric Lincoln, a young Mauritian entrepreneur and engineer, founder of CYPRAEA. Indeed, the luxury brand was named after the scientific name of the local Coquille Bonheur – or Cowry Shell – from the Cypraeidae family.
Designed by Francesco Maria Messina, the series comprises 19 exclusive pieces inspired by the geometric forms, colours and patterns created by Nature. All furnitures are crafted from extremely high quality materials such as solid Wenge and Walnut wood, lava and coral stones directly selected from the quarries, sand, premium leather, solid bronze, brass and high quality marbles.
The RISING OCEAN tables feature ‘peaks’ made of lava and coral stone representing the archipelago’s higher mountains, and tempered glass tops designed to recall the shapes of Ile Maurice and Ile Rodrigues as well as the islands’ volcanic beach-landscape.
The pieces aim to create awareness about the ‘rising sea levels’ global issue and to warn that some of the Islands of the Mauritian archipelago like Agalega, Diego Garcia, Rodrigues and Mauritius are already experiencing severe disasters linked to coral barrier reef death, coastal erosion and more violent cyclones in recent years.
The waves and ripples created as the water flows on the coral sea floor inspired the design the AQUA shelf and bar-cabinet. The organic fluidity of these shapes lent the furniture its distinguished patterns: the aqua cube bar, a solid yet curvy bar cabinet defined by sharp edges, seamlessly camouflages itself in every environment while the aqua shelves in their silver and gold finishes.
ROCHESTER bookshelves, cabinets and floor lamps were inspired by the Rochester Falls, the tallest and most spectacular in the island. The design emulates Rochester Falls’ columnar basalts through a wooden–brass topography, as though the entire piece originated from a single block of timber crystalized into a multitude of hexagonal columns.
ODYSSEY juxtaposes the roughness of the lava and coral stone base with the perfectly smooth mirrored surfaces of the cabinets. NATURAE furniture is an ode to the endangered endemic nature of Mauritius’ forests and celebrates the unicity of the island’s flora and geological features through the use of pure materials.
The country’s natural forests have been first demolished to make way for sugar cane fields then threaten by tourism. As a result of 400 years of human settlement, only 2% of the original forests remains. Many endemic animal and plant species have since disappeared.
“Our manufacturing process is based on extremely fascinating techniques.” Explains architect Francesco Maria Messina who created the collection. “For instance, some of its wooden furniture is composed by more than two thousand pieces, assembled one by one, through phases that require about ten days per unit. In particular, the unique sand finish has required about a year to be finalized. Lastly, bronze work involves the casting of moulds onto real tree branches, an artisanal process that is done entirely by hand with local craftsmen.”
All photos by Eric Lee – courtesy of CYPRAEA.
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