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Furniture Design

The Core77 Design Blog

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Posted by Moa Dickmark  |  26 Sep 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Contemporary Hungarian design, what is it? - that was the question roaming around my mind when I headed down to Budapest a little while ago. In order to gain a greater understanding and overview of what's cooking over in Hungary, I met up with Judit Osvárt, the woman responsible for Budapest Design Week, at Nomuri, a newly opened design cafe in the heart of the city.

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First, a very brief history of Budapest Design Week: Once upon a time, in the early 2000s, the Hungarian Property Office felt that it was time for them to introduce the public to the world of design so as to create a greater understanding of what design is, seeing that it can be rather hard to wrap your head around unless you know what it's all about. They were also very keen on helping Hungarian designers understand their rights in the legal system and teach them more about patents and other mysterious formulas.

The first year, you could attend a mere 28 events, but over the years, Budapest Design Week grew and grew in size, peaking on their ten-year anniversary with a total of 350 events including fashion shows, design exhibitions and festivities for days.

In the design sphere, we often hear about countries such as England, Italy, China, The Netherlands and Denmark when it comes to what is hot and up and coming on the design scene. Hungary is not on this list, but things are changing. For the 11th year in a row, they are arranging Budapest Design Week, an event that this year around starts off with the opening of a major exhibition on October and continues with events in various forms until October 10.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  22 Sep 2014  |  Comments (0)

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I keep waiting for a modern-day piece of furniture to top David Roentgen's transforming gaming table, but it ain't gonna happen. The only man who can top Roentgen is Roentgen himself. As evidence, have a look at the Berlin Secretary Cabinet designed and built by Roentgen (possibly with his pops, Abraham) which goes even further than the gaming table. The automatic flip-out easel at the end is just mind-blowing:

Consider that this was all made by hand, prior to the Industrial Revolution.

The cabinet, which was owned by King Frederick William II, is described by the Metropolitan Museum of Art as "One of the finest achievements of European furniture making" and "the most important product from Abraham (1711–1793) and David Roentgen's (1743–1807) workshop."

Posted by Moa Dickmark  |  22 Sep 2014  |  Comments (0)

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The young Danish designer Mikkel Mikkelsen first caught my attention when I saw a series of experiments he had created with wood, aluminium and acrylic/plexi. A dining table with the same honesty as the original experiment captures the lessons learned.

Ever since I first saw the experiment, I've enjoyed following his progress as a designer, and a few months ago, one of his latest endeavors caught my attention once again. This time around, it was due to a duck. I know it sounds a bit odd, but this small little character with a metal beak is a remarkable duck, it's a duck you fall in love in a heartbeat, and it's a part of a grander book project created by Aviendo Fairytale. Seeing how far Mikkel has come since the first time i saw his design, how true he has been towards himself, his design and the people he come into contact with, I figured it was about time you all got a proper introduction to his work.

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Core77: How did you get into the field of design?

Mikkel Mikkelsen: Before I started in the school of architecture, I was working in construction while I was doing business school. I was working in building high-end private homes in a company where my dad was a constructing architect. So the interest for architecture started there I guess—my dad also had his own studio before this, so drawing houses has always been in my life. It was like it was meant to be.

I think after architecture school, I was looking for a way to keep working on mikkelmikkel because I was, and am not very interested in a 9-to-5 job in one of the big companies. I tried this a couple of times but I always end up feeling stuck behind a computer and very detached from the projects. I think it has something to do with the scale of the projects in the big companies. I have always preferred the smaller scale that relates more directly to the basic needs of human beings.

To me, the interaction with clients are what drives the projects. A new project is always kind of a journey where you get up close and personal with the people you work for, which I find very interesting. Half of the journey is identifying and understanding the needs and challenges in a project before solving them.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  18 Sep 2014  |  Comments (1)

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We previously covered industrial designer Robb Godshaw's work here and here, and now the self-described "interactive artist, tinkerer and designer" has created something blogworthy yet again. Masquerading as a health-promoting piece of work furniture, Godshaw's latest creation is a commentary on our working lives: It's a standing-desk treadmill—except the treadmill has been turned inside out to place the user on the inside. Like a hamster wheel.

Godshaw created it as part of his artist-in-residence term over at Autodesk's Pier 9 fabrication facility, teaming up with a fellow tinkerer going by the handle wrdwise. With assistance from Vanessa Sigurdson, Gabe Patin, Oliver Kreitman, and Bilal Ghalib, the duo designed and built the thing and posted an Instructable on it for like-minded hamsterfolk.

Rise up, sedentary sentients, and unleash that untapped potential within by marching endlessly towards a brilliant future of focused work. Step forward into a world of infinite potential, bounded only by the smooth arcs of a wheel. Step forward into the Hamster Wheel Standing Desk that will usher in a new era of unprecedented productivity.

Here it is in action:

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  12 Sep 2014  |  Comments (1)

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If you've ever passed a park in Chinatown and seen the older folks playing Mahjong, you've undoubtedly seen them manually "shuffle" the tiles between games before rearranging them into fresh rows. This is how they've done it for thousands of years, but in the past few decades, Mahjong tile shuffling and dealing has received a rather awesome upgrade:

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   4 Sep 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Among pet lovers it's a common, if somewhat weird, practice for them to give their animal a Facebook page or Twitter account, as if Spot and Felix had the wherewithal to operate a computer. But Portland, Oregon-based Mike and Megan Wilson, the husband-and-wife team behind CatastrophiCreations, are taking it one step further and claiming their cats can design and build.

One morning we woke up and stumbled into the living room. To our suprise, our new baby kitten had gotten into my tool box and taken apart our couch and rebuilt it into a cat bridge. After that we thought, "Bingo", we'll lock him in a room and start selling all of his creations on Etsy.
After a couple weeks we started feeling bad for the load we were putting on our new cat, so we got another cat to give him a hand and double the amount of orders we can produce. Toys for cats, by cats.

Gag aside, their Indiana Jones Cat Bridge ($150 to $180) has proven to be a hit, and the couple began designing and building more cat-based furniture. Hammocks, ramps, shelves, climbing holes, feeders, and even a Super-Mario-Bros.-inspired "complex":

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Posted by Jeri Dansky  |   4 Sep 2014  |  Comments (2)

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Furniture made from corrugated cardboard has many advantages. It's easy to move; it's not too expensive; it's recyclable. We've written about the products from Our Paper Life, but a number of other companies have entered this market, too.

Those who live in Australia can get the products from Karton; the company doesn't ship outside of the country, though. Karton has a wide range of offerings, including some with storage options—such as this bed, with the under-bed drawers.

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Karton has both bookshelves and chests of drawers. Can cardboard shelves really work for books? The company says, "You will be blown away by the incredible strength of KARTON. Super high-grade corrugated paper board means that KARTON products are often stronger than you need them to be." They're made from a combination of virgin and recycled paper; the virgin paper adds strength.

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Karton products require no tools for assembly; they rely on "a clever system of folds and tabs." The company provides both printed and video assembly instructions.

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And of course, the products can be painted; you can also use water-based polyurethane to add some protection and some waterproofing. (But varnishing the products would probably mean they're no longer recyclable.)

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   3 Sep 2014  |  Comments (1)

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Summer's over, so now we all have to switch from living it to reading about it. When it comes to the picnic tables we won't get to enjoy again until next June, they're often bulky, permanent affairs that just sit there passively. But a host of folks have created more innovative units with a bit of dynamism.

The cake-taker is probably this model, designer unknown, which folds into a bench:

And while we think of this as an outdoor piece of furniture, it does in fact have good indoor utility in a space-tight home, though the design could use some refining:

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Posted by Ray  |  29 Aug 2014  |  Comments (1)

Bonner-WearableChair-1-viaGaryCruce-USPTO.jpgLeft: Courtesy of Gary Cruce; Right: Drawing for patent D249,987

So it looks like the honor of Design Crossover Hit of the Week goes to Noonee's Chairless Chair, and while the mainstream media took to hailing it as a futuristic exoskeletal paramedical breakthrough, it so happens that the basic idea dates back to the late 70's. Upon seeing my post about it earlier this week, eagle-eyed reader Gary Cruce sent a note with a photo from an old exhibition catalog, indicating that the product may well have been invented several decades ago. "I doubt Noonee was aware of this earlier concept, but they may want to know of it as they work to take the product to market," Cruce writes. "The exhibit was at the Kohler Arts Center (yes the toilet company) in 1978, based in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. That show featured many studio furniture pieces including selections from Sam Maloof and Wendell Castle." Along with the image and anecdote, Cruce provided an all-important snapshot of the caption from the catalog; crediting the "Wearable Chair (1977)" to Darcy Robert Bonner Jr., it reads:

The "Wearable Chair" consists of two identical "chairs," one strapped to each of the wearer's legs. Bonner states that "It is important for the 'Wearable Chair' to be adjusted to each user. Just like a piece of clothing, if the chair doesn't fit, it will not feel good. When adjusted correctly, you can comfortably relax with all your weight on the chair.
"With the lower member of the chair strapped to the calf, a spring presses the upper member against the back of the thigh. As the user squats, the released compression bar pushes the leg of the chair to a locked position, thereby supporting the body. When the user rises, the lower member is unlocked and is retracted by a spring to its original position, where it will not interfere with the user's movements."

Curious to learn more, a de rigueur Google query revealed that Darcy Robert Bonner had actually filed a patent for his invention, which inspired this "more-than-you-cared-to-know" history of the wearable chair—a bit of rechairche du patents perdu, if you will—gleaned mostly via the USPTO (though tangential sleuthing reveals that one Darcy R. Bonner now heads up an eponymous architectural practice in Chicago).

Bonner-WearableChair-2.jpgLeft: Uncredited composite image of Darcy Bonner's "Wearable Chair"; Right: Detail of drawing for patent D249,987

The original patent is simply entitled "Wearable Chair," which also happens to describe Noonee's product. Filed in 1977 and granted as D249,987 in October 1978, Bonner's initial design patent is described in Twitter-friendly terms as "the ornamental design for a wearable chair, as shown and described." Although this first iteration briefly resurfaced in the post-Google era in 2008, when the images above made blog rounds, it turns out that Bonner subsequently filed a second patent, US4138156 A, granted in Feburary 1979, which is far more detailed in tenor and scope. Where the former is classified as a "footed," "collapsible or folding" article of furniture, the latter is subject to an entirely different taxonomy of patent-worthiness. US4138156 A is a "device for supporting the weight of a person in a seated position including chairs, seats, and ancillary devices not elsewhere classifiable," specifically a "portable bottom with occupant attacher" (Subclass 4) with "occupant-arising assist" (Digest 10). (In the interest of due diligence, there are 148 patents in the former subclass and 353 in the latter; Noonee's Chairless Chair does not appear to be among them. Fun fact: "Digests" [denoted by DIG followed by a number] are considered secondary subclasses, which are used for indexing purposes only, i.e. as meta tags.)

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  27 Aug 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Don't let the bland name of Scottish start-up Design LED Products fool you. At last year's Lux Live 2013 lighting exhibition, DLP showed off the flexible resin-based LED tile you see above, considered to be a potential game-changer in lighting design. The tiles are flexible, modular, inexpensive, highly efficient (roughly 90%), can emit light on one or both sides, and "can be produced in any shape or size up to 1m, offering up to 20,000 lumen per square meter," according to the press release. They also do not require external "thermal management," i.e. bulky heat sinks.

Well, someone noticed, and that someone was IKEA. Today it was reported that Ikea's GreenTech venture capital division plunked down an undisclosed sum to invest in the company, giving them access to the light tiles for their presumed inclusion in future product designs. "The tiles are unique as they are extremely thin, flexible and low cost and can be seamlessly joined together in exciting new designs," IKEA said in a statement. "The partnership is a clear strategic fit for IKEA and our goal to make living sustainably affordable and attractive for millions of people."

While you can still buy halogens and CFLs at IKEA today, by the way, the company is reportedly planning to switch exclusively to LEDs by September of 2015.

Anyone want to take a guess at what they'll be designing with these? Kitchen wall cabinets with these tiles on the undersides seem like the obvious choice, but those would be flat; I'm most curious to see how they'd exploit the curvability of the technology.

Posted by erika rae  |  14 Aug 2014  |  Comments (0)

Nikolo-UponTea.jpgPhotos by Akseli Valmunen

As much as that teapot design above might suggest otherwise, I promise you won't get in trouble for reading this at work. That's right, I said teapot (c'mon—don't act like you didn't see those tea leaves on the side). Sure, it might resemble some sort of illicit or semi-erotic paraphernalia, but this tabletop brewer is really just a minimalist approach to steeping your favorite leaf. Finnish designer Nikolo Kerimov takes a note from nature in regards to the pot's process, specifically the motion of rain falling over a mountain top. I'll leave that to your own interpretation.

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As any warm drink enthusiast recognizes, brewing a cup of coffee or tea is just as much a visual experience as it is a ritual. Following suit of the many well-designed beverage makers out there, "Upon" is pretty eye-catching when it comes to form and would look mighty nice nestled next to a lineup of well-designed tea canisters. NSFW doppelgangers aside, the combination of glass, ceramic and cork is the detail that really won me over. Way to hit us with the houseware trifecta.

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Also notable is Kerimov's "Shelfie" design. Much like the "Pop-Up Linen" wardrobe we covered a while back, this storage unit can be flat-packed down into a convenient carrying capsule.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  13 Aug 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Boeing may have transformed their derailed 737s into scrap-metal cubes, but if that accident had happened closer to California, perhaps the outcome might have been different. We last looked in on MotoArt, the El-Segundo-based company that turns old airplanes into furniture, way back in '09; since then the company's success has been explosive, if their greatly-expanded product line, six-language website and multiple showrooms both in the 'States and overseas is any indication.

While they still crank out the reception desks and couches that initially caught our eye, a recent check-in reveals a lineup well beyond what they were doing five years ago. Check out this sink made from the front landing gear door off of a Boeing KC-97 Stratotanker:

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For your friends that always bail out of the bar early, here's an ejector seat barstool pulled out of an F-4 Phantom:

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  12 Aug 2014  |  Comments (3)

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David Yamnitsky and Isabella Tromba are grad students at MIT, with degrees and degrees-to-be in the unchallenging, trifling fields of Cryptography, Math, Electrical Engineering, Computer Science and Computer Security--or as we ID'ers refer to these fields collectively, Meh.

The duo were seeking to purchase standing desks for themselves, but balked at the going rates. They then disrespectfully decided to design their own, despite being too lazy to apply to a four-year design program. With access to a CNC router, and under the assumption that their math and computer skills would enable them to calculate a balance between light weight and structural support, the pair produced what they're calling the Press Fit Standing Desk, which sells for less than $200.

In an effort to poison our foreign relations, the duo opted not to use formaldehyde-based plywood from overseas, but instead located a local supplier of 100%-formaldehyde-free maple plywood. Their cynical choice to design something fastener-free is an obvious attempt to undermine the hardware industry. And in what amounts to an attack on the printing and paper industries, Yamnitsky and Tromba opted not to include assembly instructions with their design, leaving befuddled consumers that don't have degrees in Rocket Science to try to puzzle out how this thing could possibly come together.

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Placed on Kickstarter, the Press Fit Standing Desk hit its $10,000 funding target in a matter of days, probably because confused consumers were trying to fund a different project and don't understand how the website works. Anyways, at press time, the Press Fit hadn't even quadrupled it, with $37,000 in funding and 13 days left to pledge, indicating that the confusion is growing.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   8 Aug 2014  |  Comments (0)

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David Roentgen's transforming gaming table is the most amazing piece of furniture I've ever seen. It's also from the 18th Century. But here in the 21st, a company called Geek Chic is making modern-day gaming tables. Their stuff is beautiful, and as the company's name suggests, the products are aimed at the Dungeons-and-Dragons roleplaying game crowd.

Their top-of-the-line model is called the Sultan, and no, it ain't a table for eating on. The center surface is what the company calls the Game Vault, where the Gamemaster lays out the unspoilt fantasyland devoid of your landlord, boss, spouse and parents.

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The sides feature integrated flip-out trays and drawers within, as well as little pull-out shelves to hold your dice and/or a cup of magic potion.

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Posted by Ray  |   6 Aug 2014  |  Comments (0)

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We've seen plenty of furniture with secret features, but none quite like Sebastian Errazuriz's "Explosion Cabinet." Instead of the usual hidden compartments, the Brooklyn-based artist and designer opts for a latent form as opposed to a discreet function. As with past projects such as the spiny shelf and articulating armoire, the new cabinet has a lot of moving parts.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   5 Aug 2014  |  Comments (3)

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Some people love guns, some people hate 'em. But the fact is that lots of Americans have them, and they need a place to store them. And the design of gun storage furniture has two main requirements seemingly at odds with each other: Gun owners want their firearms readily accessible, yet they don't want them out in the open where children or burglars can get to them.

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The current solution is to create furniture with hideaway compartments (a sub-genre we looked briefly at here), as New Jersey Concealment Furniture does. And if web traffic is any indication (140,000-plus Facebook likes, 30,000 website hits last Saturday alone), business is booming for the Jersey-based company. Founder Dan Ingram designs and builds coat racks, end tables, nightstands, coffee tables, wall shelves and even clocks that secretively stow the end-user's firearm of choice.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  29 Jul 2014  |  Comments (2)

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Vikings loved to brawl, with both their enemies and with each other. Viking sagas are filled with tales of even longstanding friends happy to settle disagreements with steel. But as they piled onto their longships to go pillaging, their boarding process was a good deal more civilized than the melee that is modern air travel. For one thing, their storage was one-to-one; when 30 Vikings got onto a ship, there were 30 places to store things.

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That's because they carried their seating on board with them, and their seating doubled as their storage. Prior to boarding, the decks of a ship were bare. Each Viking plunked his chest down at his own rowing position.

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Enough Viking chests have been found, and replicas made, that we can take a look at their design. It's both intelligent and purposeful. The first thing you notice is that the tops were rounded to shed water, and perhaps to provide a modicum of comfort.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  28 Jul 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Vacheron Constantin timepieces have been worn by the likes of Harry Truman, the Duke of Windsor and even Napoleon Bonaparte. So when the luxury watch manufacturer needed a special case built to house a one-of-a-kind watch (a "tourbillon minute repeater," buyer unknown), they couldn't exactly buy off-the-rack. Instead they turned to UK-based Method Studio, a highly specialized manufacturer of one-off furniture and cases, to create something truly unique.

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Method Studio, which is comprised of the husband-and-wife, cabinetmaker-and-architect team of Callum Robinson and Marisa Giannasi, along with the input of Callum's master-cabinetmaker/woodcarver/designer/builder father David Robinson, is located on the east coast of Scotland. But they were able to source some "rare old-growth brown oak" from a woodlands in Northampton as their starting point.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  17 Jul 2014  |  Comments (1)

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In our quest to uncover the designers behind AMC's new reclining seats, we did come across an unusual, oft-overlooked subgenre of furniture design: Auditorium and lecture hall seating. And in Europe at least, schools and institutions are apparently willing to shell out for the designey stuff, where aesthetics carry a premium. Case in point: The Genya system, designed by Dante Bonuccelli and produced by Italian manufacturer Lamm.

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The simple, geometric form belies the workings hidden within: The backrest suspension is supplied through elastic straps, and when the seat is pulled open, gas shocks inside also lower the armrests in synchronicity.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  16 Jul 2014  |  Comments (5)

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As airplane seats get narrower, shallower, closer together and even unable to recline, movie theater seats are getting fatter, deeper, further apart and increasing their reclinability. Both The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times have picked up on cinema chain AMC's $600 million investment to re-seat some 1,800 of its theaters (out of 5,000 total), providing absurdly posh recliners at a cost of $350,000 to $500,000 per venue.

Yes, as airlines are seeking ways to cram more seats into their fuselages, AMC's re-seated theaters will actually decrease capacity. With seats being bumped up from 44 inches wide to 60 inches wide, and with full reclinability including elevating the legs La-Z-Boy-style, rows will need to move further apart and will be able to fit less bodies per row.

The motivation is financial. In a trial run conducted earlier this year, AMC saw ticket sales increase by 60% in the re-seated venues. Even with less capacity, this is hoped to lead to increased profitability, assuming moviegoers can swallow the $1 to $2 ticket price increase that the seats will eventually bring.

The question for us was, who designed/manufactured these new seats? Are these custom jobs for AMC or off-the-shelf? Unsurprisingly neither of the aforementioned newspapers mentioned it, since no one gives a damn about our profession. But by poring over the Journal's shots and comparing them to hundreds (okay, dozens) of product photos from companies that make home theater seating, we tried to uncover the source.

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Posted by erika rae  |  16 Jul 2014  |  Comments (0)

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You may remember Konstantin Achkov's flat-packed plywood furniture from when we captured it as a standout at the 2012 Sofia Design Week. While he's obviously known for his breakdown-focused furniture, his Coroflot portfolio boasts a number of impressive—more recent—designs that don't skimp on complexity in lieu of its simplified flat-packed nature. Take the Electron Chair, for example. Achkov describes the shape as incorporating a "puzzle principle," and that's one description that doesn't get lost in translation with this work.

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Electron is made out of beech plywood cut with a CNC router. There isn't a single screw or drop of glue used in the chair's construction—instead he chose to use pin joints—falling even more to its puzzle-like nature. This is the first time we're seeing a textile element in Achkov's work, with the bold fabric seat and back of the chair. Tip the seat on its side and you might notice a familiar shape: "The side-view of the symmetrical geometric form looks like electron symbol," Achkov says. The lace-up detail on the underside of the seat is a nice touch, too.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   7 Jul 2014  |  Comments (2)

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Greg Klassen is a craftsman who's extremely attuned to his environment. "I live in the Pacific Northwest and find inspiration in the trees, the rivers and the fields," he writes. "I love the idea of taking a discarded tree and giving it new life." To that end, Klassen has developed a beautiful line of furniture called the River Collection, and it features an unusual twist on the "live edge": Each tabletop is two halves with the live edges running down the center. Klassen then hand-cuts a single piece of glass to make up the difference.

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The resultant pieces, which are of course one-of-a-kind, resemble landscapes bisected by a river.

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Posted by erika rae  |   2 Jul 2014  |  Comments (0)

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As we millenials increasingly flock to cities and learn to make the most of modest floor plans, we often find ourselves looking for space-saving storage solutions—it's no surprise that this multi-purpose furniture post remains popular to this day. Hidden storage is great and all, but what about a furniture design that can easily be taken apart and out of the picture when it's not in use? Since she graduated from the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague in 2011, furniture designer Renate Nederpel has explored various projects in unconventional materials, but one piece in particular stands out when it comes to working with a limited amount of space.

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"Pop-Up Linen" is a full-size wardrobe that will house your attire and look good doing it. But the real wow factor lies in its construction: Thanks to its origami-esque construction method, the textile compartment folds completely flat. Pinewood legs slide into the wardrobe's body while cross bars within the paneled interior add structure and support to the otherwise flexible design.

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Posted by erika rae  |  23 Jun 2014  |  Comments (0)

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It might be called a cabinet, but anything you're displaying inside of it is going to be overshadowed by the furniture itself. I've long been a fan of Sebastian Errazuriz and his ability to turn his strong and sometimes controversial opinions into eye-catching works of design—in a good, "pushing the boundaries" kind of way (see here, here and here for examples). So it makes sense that he's subverting the very function of a display cabinet with his impressive articulating shelving unit.

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As with his "Porcupine Cabinet" from 2010 (a riff on his "Piano Shelf," which dates back to 1997), the Samurai Cabinet is made up of blade-like rotating wooden arms, inspired by the armor of its namesake. The length of each of the four legs serves as an axis for each tapered 'tooth,' some 40 in all, which can be individually adjusted to strikingly different visual effect.

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The arms jump to action with a simple slide of the finger, thanks to a counterbalanced pivot point on each of the planks—flip an entire side of wooden arms at once and your ears are in for a treat:

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Posted by Ray  |  19 Jun 2014  |  Comments (0)

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The chair is often cast as a pincushion, so to speak, for critiquing the self-serving rigmarole of design festivals: It is essentially the basic unit of a furniture fair, and for all of the marketing muscle and star power behind the purportedly major product launches, the chair remains a close second to the wheel when it comes to reinvention.

Yet it endures as a mainstay of our homes and our lives—unlike, say, the objets du jour axes and bows-and-arrows of dubious utility for their target market of hip citydwellers—and if it is a byword for furniture fatigue, it is precisely because it symbolizes 'design' writ large. To extend the trope, a chair could even serve as the physical manifestation of a designer's mission statement.

This may well be the case for Keiji Takeuchi, who debuted an unassuming dining chair—the first production piece to his name—at the Fuorisalone in April. As with any deceptively simple design, there's more to it than meets the eye: The backrest and seat read as a squares, but the elegant lines are subtly curved throughout, striking a nice balance of formal integrity and anthropomorphic comfort. When Takeuchi notes that he'd painstakingly refined the proportions and radii, which are formed by CNC, it's less a boast than a matter of fact—the chair simply could not be any other way.

In fact, Takeuchi had only committed to exhibiting a few weeks prior to the Salone, when he received a satisfactory prototype from a local factory; his friend Henry Timi was happy to display the chair at his new-ish showroom of his eponymous luxury brand. Set off from its street entrance on Foro Buonaparte by a small courtyard, Timi's skylit gallery featured just a small selection of work: a monumental kitchen island by the proprietor himself, alongside Antonio Sciortino's wrought iron pieces and Leonardo Talarico's geometric, vaguely suprematist vases: a minimalist manifold of marble, wabi-sabi and modernism. Takeuchi's work occupied the equally spare side galleries—besides the chair, his modest debut included just one other piece, a marble dish—rounding out the work on view with a touch of understated refinement.

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Small though this step may be, it's a proverbial leap for Takeuchi, who is keeping his day job as a designer and Milan liaison for a certain small Tokyo-based design studio. As the story goes, he's something of a black sheep, an idiom that might resonate with the sometime Kiwi: Takeuchi spent the formative years of his youth in New Zealand before attending ENSCI–Les Ateliers and subsequently returning to his native Japan, where he eventually landed a coveted job at Naoto Fukasawa Studio.

After cutting his teeth on a broad range of client projects, Takeuchi relocated to his current home in Milan, where he logs plenty of face time (the pre-app version) with Fukasawa's Italian clients, including heavyweights such as Alessi and B&B Italia. But as of this past April, he has declared his ambitions beyond stable employment. Takeuchi is the first member of Fukasawa's small team—all designers, all in Tokyo—to set out on his own, both geographically and now professionally as well.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  18 Jun 2014  |  Comments (2)

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Sorry for the title, but I just don't know what else to call this assemblage of objects. Tasked with designing the interior of a small apartment, Russian architecture firm Ruetemple came up with this "mobile solution for recreational areas." Ruetemple's website is so sparse that the principals' last names are not even give—all we know is the firm consists of "Alexander" and "Daria"—and the project pages offer little in the way of description, so we'll have to let the photos do the talking here.

What they came up with is three separate, wheeled components that can be assembled in a seemingly infinite variety of ways:

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