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HE aim of this unit was to further develop the skills needed to realise and communicate the qualities of a spatial idea as characterised by its use of materials. The unit explored ways in which material properties might inform and generate a design language when solving a design problem. The PPD aim of this unit was to introduce methods of using materials and exploring strategies of depiction, both freehand and technical and by using the computer as a tool to generate imagery and 3D modelling. Very important was to explore spatial conditions in small scale, a common practice in the interior design field. Students were asked to explore and deliver an interesting design solution for a domestic environment. It was highly encouraged that the proposal should have an environmental agenda either through its materials or approach.

â?? Design should do the same thing in every day life that art does when encountered: amaze us scare us or delight us but certainly open us to new world within our daily existence â?ž - AARON BETSKI

Story Of Furniture Design Arne Jacosen’s achievement as an architect was to fuse the traditions of his native Denmark with those of mainstream Modernism. In 1952he designed The Ant, a light stackable chair, the seat and back of which were moulded from a single piece of plywood supported by tubular steel frame. The chair was designed for the Fritz Hansen furniture factory, which had experimented with steam-bent plywood for a number of years. The Ant was Jacobsen’s contribution to the language of modern, industri-

ally manufactured furniture and it inspired a series of successors from 1952 to 1968 whose common elements were the continuous seat and back. With their new materials and organic forms these chairs were original and fresh, sensual and even sexy objects. It is no coincidence that the photograph of the naked Christine Keeler posing on a fake Ant chair has become a legendary icon of the Swinging Sixties.


19th Century The Thonet bentwood chair remains one of the most successful chairs of the twentieth century and is still produced in modified form. Using the techniques he had seen developed by barrel makers and boat builders, Thonet experimented with steaming and bending strips of beech wood into curves. By holding them in wooden clamps and using strips of tin plate, he bent solid beech strips beyond their natural flexibility. Thonet was also responsible for another key innovation. With an eye on the export market, he came up with kit furniture, rationalizing the chair design into four simple parts so that thirty-five unassembled chairs

took up only thirty-five square meters of a ship’s cargo space. When the chairs reached their destination, canning was done by hand, largely by women in factories or working at home. In twentieth century its qualities were recognized by mode r n de signers. It was one of the few pieces of commercial furniture that La Corbusier bought for his interiors and is a rare example of design continuity and survival.

In the beginning there were some technical innovation like the simple and minimalist bentwood chair by Thonet. Which saved on space and generated huge export sales. 19th century furniture for the domestic consumer concentrated on large scale, elaborately decorated pieces using a language of ornament. The Arts and Crafts Movement introduced a new direc-

tion. William Morris revived interest in the simple forms of late 19th century furniture and the tradition of vernacular ( style for ordinary people) furniture. Practical and comfortable wooden chairs like the ladder back ( Snaker ) and the Windsor had been used to furnish the country cottage and the kitchen. This simple and undecorated furniture influenced many

leading designers. Richly decorated furniture did not however disappear from the market and was given new impetus with the emergence of Art Nouveau, the century’s last “decorated style�. Art Nouveau produced expensive and exclusive furniture whose influence filtered down to the furniture trade and was a trend which continued in the 1920s witch the geometric formalism of Art Deco. 7

Appearing in the Middle Ages, ladder-back chairs had become widespread in England by the 17th century and were in common use in colonial America as well. By the middle of that century, they were also copied by fashionable furniture makers who used walnut instead of sycamore or maple and added elaborate refinements. 8

A Windsor chair is a chair built with a wooden seat into which are fixed the backrest and undercarriage. Typically, the backrest and sometimes the arm pieces are formed from steam bent pieces of wood. 9

Modern Movement Perhaps the greatest and most enduring piece of Modernist furniture produced is the chaise longue designed in 1928 by a previously little-known French designer called Charlotte Perriand. When Perriand approached the prominent architect Le Corbusier with her portfolio, she was told that “we don’t sew cushions here!”. Her desire to make her mark within the masculine world of architecture was rewarded when she was eventually employed by Le Corbusier to design items of furniture for the villas he was building. The feet of the chair mimic the profile of an aeroplane wing and establish the piece as an icon of the “machine age”.

Blue and Red chair, 1918 by Gerrit Rietveld. With this chair Rietveld developed the paintings of Piet Mondrian in three-dimensional form, using abstracted pure form, geometric shapes and primary colours. Le Corbusier produced furniture as “ machines for sitting in” to complement the house as a “machine for living in”. This pioneer work in furniture can be seen as both an attempt to create a mass product. It suggested industry and engi-

neering. It started the world of Henry Ford of skyscrapers and new beginnings. Important in this context is the furniture designed at the Bauhaus, notably the tubular - steel cantilever chair by Marcel Breuer ( Cesca Chair).Streamlined,sculptural and continuous lines became the perfect expression of the new modernity, new direction for furniture design. Other exponents of Modernism continued to use natural materials and organic forms, most ex-

pressed in the 1930s by Alvar Aalto and in the 1950s by the work of Arne Jacobsen. It was sign of new technology. Synthetic glues allowed dramatic plywood shapes and plastic polypropylene led to the introduction of cheap, light, mass produced chairs.


The visual impact of the Red and Blue Chair has ensured that it remains a standard image in history of twentieth-century design, and with the Schroder house it has become a metaphor for the Modern Movement. Rietveld was a member of De Stijl (the Style), one of the most coherent groups within the Modern Movement. Although Gerrit Rietveld was a key player in De Stijl, his work remains rooted in the craft tradition in which he trained. Until 1911, when he opened his own cabinet-making business in Utrecht, his early years were spent as an apprentice cabinet-maker to his father. His approach changed dramatically in 1918 when he came into contact with the early members of De Stijl. Their search for a universal form of expression led them to experiment with primary colours, basic geometric shapes and abstracted pure forms. 12


Marcel Breuer started his career at the most famous design school of the twentieth century, the Bauhaus in Germany. The story of how he discovered bent tubular steel has become part of the my-

thology of the Modern Movement. Legend has it that he purchased an Adler bicycle and was so inspired by its strength and lightness, he determined to apply the same techniques to furniture.

Aalto’s great achievement was that production of designs that were simultaneously ahead of time and timeless. The beauty of his ply wood furniture meant that it became more than just furniture - it was appreciated and

collected as sculpture for the modern interior. Allto’s choice of natural materials -such as wood and his simple use of curves reflects both an interest in organic forms and the need for a human and humane aesthetic. 15

Post Modernism Largely self-taught as a designer, Dixon might have remained part of an interesting, if marginal, design trend. However, in the late 1980s he crossed over from one-off furniture into more commercial design. The S Chair is an example of this change, combining Dixon’s idiosyncratic vision of his earlier work. Dixon based the distinctive organic curve of the chair on a sketch he made of a chicken and for the S chair he worked on over fifty different prototypes.

While designers continued to develop the themes of the Modern Movement other priorities emerged with the appearance of Postmodernism. Consumers and designers looked again at colour, decoration and pattern. Furniture shifted from the classic to become playful, witty and childlike. At the same time the aesthetic of mass production was challenged by a number of important craftsmen - designers, including Ron Arad and Tom Dixon. Their starting point was the one-off piece, using recycled materials and sculptural effects using metal: their influence soon affected the mainstream. Today, the industrial forms and materials of the Modern Movement are simply another style option for the consumer, alongside the quirky and the expressive, and the traditional upholstered furniture that has changed little since the nineteenth century.


Born in Israel, Ron Arad moved to London in 1973, studied at the Architectural Association and in 1981 opened a furniture shop in Covent Garden. Always an inventive maker, Arad worked extensively in his metal workshop, welding large pieces together to make installations and furniture. Here Arad has reproduced the traditional armchair to simple folded forms which challenge the conventional idea of comfort and use. Unlike many of his contemporaries in the 1980s, Arad made the significant jump into the international arena. His work was profiled in many leading museums, including the Pompidou Centre in Paris, and his annual exhibition at the Milan Furniture Fair attracted a great deal of favourable attention. Leading Italian manufacturers, including Driade, Vitra and Poltronova, have commissioned him to design furniture for limited production. 18



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Konstantin Grcic The MONZA armchair is conceived as a simple wood-construction which formally refers to a typology of chairs originating in Scandinavia. The chair’s main character is defined by a


back-/armrest in plastic moulding, which on the one hand serves the chair’s structure and on the other provides comfort and colour. 360° is neither a stool

nor a chair, but something in between. Its name implies that it swivels around and that one can sit on it in all directions. It is meant for seated activities that require a constantly changing

posture. 360° is not intended for long stints of work in a static position. Instead it encourages a form of dynamic sitting, short term, ad hoc, improvised– moving around. 360° comes in two types, as a chair on castors and as a high stool. Both versions have a gas piston for height adjustment. “ “Konstantin Grcic´s radical take on the office chair shatters the ergonomists´monopoly on workplace design and turns a bumrest into a tool. Sitting on it in a traditional way is the least

successful approach–you feel a vertiginous sensation that everything that should be there isn´t. (…) In its efforts to shake off the flattened, generic experience of traditional office furniture, Grcic has made something that asks us to think of a chair-as-tool, or chair-asdevice. (…) What´s happening here is a strange trick–where by undoing the direct functional performance of a chair, Grcic makes the 360° somehow more functional. By un-inventing the normative perception

of the chair, he asks its user to be party to the imaginative invention of sitting. (…) And somehow this provisional quality feels like a relief from a more conventionally comfortable chair. Sitting on it here in my office, it feels less like work, more like doing something.” (Excerpt form a text by Sam Jacob published in ICON magazine, September 2009).


Stefan Diez

COUCH is a series of easychairs, sofas and benches, combining the concept of a bean bag with the technique found in a chesterfield sofa: COUCH is filled with polystyrene balls and polyurethane bits and gain stability via a sewed textile inner structure that is connected to the outer


‘skin’. The imprints of these inner connection points are visible on the outer fabric and give the seat its character. COUCH is produced in a chinese garment factory, the filling is done in the country of destination which makes the shipping ecological and the product economic.


Stefano Giovannoni

The quirky Italian industrial designer and architect Stefano Giovannoni was born in La Spezia in 1954 and studied architecture at Florence University until 1978. From 1979 Stefano Giovannoni taught there, while researching at the Domus Academy in Milan and the Università del Progetto in Reggio Emilia. With Guido Venturini, Stefano Giovan26

noni founded the King-Kong “Merdolina” (1993) toilet brush, studio in the 1980s. For Alessi and the “Mary Biscuit” (1995) they designed the extremely cookie jar of cheerfully garish successful “Girotondo” line in plastic sporting an outsize household appliances and ac- cooky on the lid. Stefano cessories of metal and plastic, Giovannoni has also worked featuring the distinctive cut-out for Magis, Flos, Fiat, Seiko, stick man. Stefano Giovannoni Siemens, Henkel, Lavazza, has also created numerous Helit, and many other firms. original designs on his own for Alessi, including the “Fruit Mama” (1993) fruit bowl, the


Karim Rashid Award-winning industrial designer Karim Rashid, whose work appears in museum collections throughout the world, creates products and furniture for the likes of Estee Lauder, Tommy Hilfiger, Citibank, and Sony. Karim Rashid’s current projects include new Totem boutiques, Emporio Armani


Boutiques, several restaurants in NYC and Philadelphia, interiors for the MediaTech building in Sendai for Toyo Ito, hotels in Miami and Athens, and gallery installations. He also designs products, cosmetics, and fashion accessories for various international clients such as Nambe, Umbra, Issey Miyake, Pure Design, Zeritalia, Unitone,

Estee Lauder, Tommy Hilfiger, Giorgio Armani, Sony, Zanotta, Yahoo, Citibank, Nienkamper, and others. The Philadelphia Museum of Art calls him one of a handful of young designers whose work will have a lasting influence on design in the 21st century. Mr. Rashid has won many awards including the 1999 George

Nelson Award and the Silver IDEA Award for the Oh Chair in the 1999 Industrial Design Excellence Awards, the Brooklyn Museum of Art Designer of the Year 1998, the 1998 and 1999 Design Effectiveness Awards and the ID Magazine Annual Review Design Distinction in 1998. His work has been exhibited and is in permanent collections in numerous museums, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

The so-called “sensual minimalism” that characterizes his style - the feminine curve of a wooden lamp stand or the optical pleasure embedded in a glass stacking table - is as evident in his polypropylene Umbra waste basket as it is in his award-winning line of sleek alloy products for Nambe, in the Black & Decker workaday snow shovel or his telephone for Sum Moon Star. His particular brand of modernist elegance has generated international buzz, as well as the unofficial title

of the design world’s hippest jack-of-all-trades. “Form is much more seductive when the product’s aesthetics are experiential, and not just visual,” Rashid says, declaring the importance of engaging the senses. “Objects have to blur experience with form so that they are inseparable. It means retooling the stuff we live with to suit the way we really live. It means that if we slouch in chairs, we make chairs that let us.”


Patricia Urquiola


“My aim is to domesticate industrial material and create objects that are interesting, pleasing, appealing. The material is important, but I dont think the use of a new material can guarantee, on its own, the newness of a product. The job of the designer is to give emotional meaning to materials in the

context of concrete, practical applications. “Lazy chair is for the moment. You can sit outside for a bit of conversation. Then the Sun comes out and you become lazy. The chair becomes lazy like you”. Sitting at a table, we are all

so elegant. But in our contemporary times, this can be too severe, too bourgeois. There’s a new way of living and eating with friends. I wanted to be conceptual and a little bit provocative from the very beginning. In addition, the chair’s metal wire frame allows it to flex with a

person’s movement, so it’s extremely comfortable. You need to have products that you can live with, ypor eyes can have a comfort with, and they can help with you with living”



Alfredo Haberli

“I finished my architecture studies, but meanwhile I had decided to become an artist and today I spend a good deal of my time working in the field of furniture and industrial design. What continues to intrigue me is that I can use my experiences, my daily life, my childhood, my observations 34

and my thoughts in developing ideas and designs for products. I have become aware of how privileged I am to be able to make a living from the activity that I like best: designing. One of my favourite slogans is ‘observing is the best way of thinking’. So I watch and remember details of how people

use different things, and try to come up with solutions that make sense when people use my products. This is what motivates me and this is a common starting point with Iittala and Finnish design principles as a whole”.


Sebastian Wrong

Sebastian Wrong has subverted a traditional lighting type with his own dark humour. Buggs Light is a beautifully crafted hand blown glass sphere, with the opal glass form baring the addition of a familiar face. With a soft matt surface, the characterised figure produces a worm but functional light. “ My play on the classic Bauhaus 36

design of an opal glass, spherical lamp is mutated by pop culture reference. I wanted to twist the simple sphere and inflate it with a cheeky grin. Hand blown glass perfection and purity is challenged. The controlled and conditioned process is infected, “ says Sebastian Wrong.

Osgerby Integrity, substance and modernity. Looking at the thread running through Edward Barber’s and Jay Osgerby’s work, you’ll find a high level of consistency and a free spirit of experimentation - often combined with advanced technologies. Ed Barber and Jay Osgerby, both born 1969, studied architecture together at The Royal College of Art in London and established BarberOsgerby in London 1996. In their early 20’s they hit the design press with their table Loop, represented in the collections of Victoria & Albert Museum in London and the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Loop brought them to the attention of Giulio Cappellini, which led 38

to a long working relationship with the renowned Italian producer. Over the past ten years BarberOsgerby have worked across a wide range of disciplines. Like the two hangers displayed in Levi’s 9 000 shops around the world, a bottle for the new Coca-Cola drink ‘Ipsei’ - and a beautiful, modern yet sacral church bench for St.Thomas Cathedral in Portsmouth. BarberOsgerby have also designed Stella McCartney’s first store in Manhattan, furniture for the De La Warr Pavilion (the British modernist building), and furniture for the entrance foyer of the Royal Institute of British Architects in Portland Place.


Patrick Norquet

In Milano was launched a new armchair for Cappellini: Scratch. Scratch is a small armchair with an external structure made of solid ash-wood slats, aniline varnished in white, cherry red, China blue and chestnut. The rigidity of the structure contrasts with the softness of the seat and the lower backrest, produced in differentiated-den40

sity polyurethane foam. The lower backrest can be replaced with a free standing cushion with Dacron padding. All of the soft elements have removable covers and are available in the collection’s fabrics, leathers and extra leathers, also combining different fabrics and leathers together.


Maarten Baas


Clay furniture is made of synthetic Clay, with a metal “skeleton� inside to reinforce the structure. All pieces are modelled by hand. No moulds are used in the production, making each piece unique. The eight standard colors of the Clay series, are black, white, brown,

Sculpt - pieces of furniture, based on quick sketches, which are enlarged to a monumental size. Made of metal, finished with with walnut veneer, sandblasted finish, or powdercoating. red, yellow, blue, orange and green.


Sam Hecht

Sam Hecht and Kim Colin formed design office Industrial Facility to explore the junction between industrial design and the world around us. Ippei Matsumoto joined the office soon after its formation and acts as Senior Designer. Industrial Facility considers and designs objects of varying purpose in relation to their spatial, cultural and performative landscape. Working with Industrial Facility lends clarity to each 44

project. Industrial Facility integrates with what is already familiar and instigates what we have yet to know. Clients from a variety of sectors value the office’s deeper contribution to their design and business thinking, and often incorporate resultant project directions into their broader future. Project areas include: furniture, electronics. consumer products, cultural institutions, transportation and fashion. Industrial

Facility has won international recognition with numerous awards, exhibitions and publications, and responds to press enquires. In 2007, the office was bestowed its third consecutive IF Hangover Gold Award. In 2008, the office was voted Product Designer of the Year alongside being nominated for the Prince Philip Designer’s Prize.


Satyendra Pakhale Gabrielle Ammann showed a selection of work by Indian born, Amsterdambased designer Satyendra Pakhale at her Designer’s Gallery. The name of the show, ‘Origins’ was explained by the designer with the line ‘originality comes from origins’ and original they certainly are. The limited edition designs consist of a range of bronze metal seating sculptures from his Bell Metal series (begun in 1999), his ceramic Flower Offering chair/vases (2001) and his Roll Ceramic chairs 46

(2007). Contrasting shapes, tactile textures and high levels of traditional craftsmanship are at play in each project and have us wanting to stroke them every bit as much as sit on them. Though really quite similar to parts of the female anatomy, Pakhale insists his work was about returning to a more primordial, instinctive response to texture and shape. A nearby eavesdropper offered ‘seeds’ as an alternative form of inspiration, which fits nicely with the ‘Flower Offering’ collection.

Stephen Burks

New eco-conscious label created by Giulio Cappellini in collaboration with Stephen Burks. The first products include these tables made from shredded recycled magazines and a non-toxic hardener. Like papier mache, the technique of 48

layering the paper strips by hand allows great variation in density, color and pattern. The production of the tables will be outsourced to artisan groups in South Africa.




The initial intuition was that of a chair which would sprout up like a plant. A vegetal chair, its branches gently curving to form the seat and back. It comes from this fascination we have

for various types of old furniture, which is plant-inspired. Garden chairs of English origin, structured in boughs of cast iron, for example; various items formed using real branches; or even

those armchairs designed in the United States during the first half of the last century, using bushes whose growth had been restricted until they took on the form of a chair.

Objects which, in short, take us back to a time when forms were perhaps a little bulkier, less sleek or smooth than nowadays.


Tom Dixon

Pylon Chair -Armchair in iron wire varnished natural aluminum, orange blue or gypsum white.


Pearsons & Lloyd

Bene - A new generation of worker is no longer confined to their desk, instead using laptops and mobile phones when it is convenient, comfortable and conducive for concentrating or communicating. A hybrid between architecture and furniture, PARCS offer a range of different places 54

and spaces in which to conduct informal meetings and discussions; take a few minutes away from the desk to relax; give a casual presentation; or find a semi-private place for concentration or a personal call.


Studio Moroso

This sofa is an illusion. It looks like a pile of cushions. But Cushion Sofa, designed by Swedish design quartet Front for Italian brand Moroso, is actually a photo of a pile of cushions that has been stuffed with foam, turning it into a sort of “3D photo”.Why? “Because we consume design as an image,” says Front member Sofia La56

gerkvist. “Design is produced more as an image than it is in reality - objects you have never seen in real life you’ve seen so many times in magazines but never for real. We’re interested in the part the image plays in the process of making the piece - for a long time the object will only exist as a computer generated image - this

is how the designer communicates, what we show to the producer.”Ironically, the quartet had to make models of the piece instead of sending an image to ensure Moroso understood the concept. The sofa is one of a collection of pieces the designers just launched with Moroso at the Milan furniture fair. The heavily concep-

tual series follows several by the designers that take the issue of how we view and consume design as a starting point - but

this is the first that has gone into production. The collection risks being seen as an in-joke - only those devoted to design

will be appreciate the concept - so it will be interesting to see how it is received.



Vincent Dubourg

of present day categorization. Dubourg describes his pieces as a fusion of furniture, architecture and sculpture. They strike a careful balance between the practical and beautiful.


Design Povera challenges all notions of contemporary furniture design by embracing a complete openness towards found and natural materials. His unique pieces evoke a sense of the familiar and defy all attempts

Visitors to the Carpenters Workshop Gallery in west London may never sit comfortably in a public place again. Pablo Reinoso’s new exhibition features three ordinary park benches – but with a twist. “I call these my spaghetti benches,” says

Reinoso. The benches’ wooden slats appear to be still growing, snaking out beyond one end. On one piece, the slats climb up a nearby wall in a mass of wooden tendrils. In another, the slats intertwine before forming another bench.

Pablo Reinoso


Sculpt is a collection of a few really akward pieces of furniture designed by Maarten Baas. All these furniture pieces are handmade pieces, made in the studio in Waalre, Netherlands. Rough scale models of dif-

Maarten Baas

ferent kinds of products are transformed into 1:1 pieces of furniture, executed in various materials. At a first glance these pieces look like they are going to melt, or like are from somekind of old cartoon.


Bodyguards. Crafted from inflated aerospace aluminium, cut individually, highly polished and tinted, they will be shown alongside four new and unique Drunk Bodyguards. These remarkable sculptural pieces sway woozily on a single tangent

point, balancing, poised in mid-air, reacting to the lightest of touches. They appear to be weightless. Paradoxically this weightlessness is the result of extreme heaviness.

Ron Arad


Tephra Formations appears as a continuation of the Pools & Pouf! ensemble but is yet a different story. Even if the starting point can still be seen as a critique on traditional bourgeois values in furniture, the different ele-

Robert Stadler

ments of Tephra Formations are rather representing an idea of mutation than dissolution. The Irregular Bomb combines several seating typologies, which seem to have melted together into one piece.


“This extruding idea came from a Photoshop function where you can pick a row of pixels and extend them as long as you want,” explains Brajkovic. Brajkovic’s work strikes a fascinating balance between the old and the new. His work is

both highly contemporary, using computer technology to form composition, yet ingrained in history with its exquisite craftsmanship and traditional techniques.

Sebastian Brajkovic


When one planet meets another planet, Planet 1 says to Planet 2, “Hey you look terrible.” Planet 2 says, “Yes I know”. I have Homo sapiens.” Planet 1 says, “Don’t worry. I had that too and it will soon disappear. ❞

Cradle to Cradle


On an initiative of Veuve Clicquot house, which launches it new packaging “carte jaune” (yellow card) during el Salone del Mobile de Milano, 5.5 designers were sought to propose their interpretation of this box. Thought as a brick of construction, and in the tradition of cellars with bottles walls, the new Veuve Clicquot packaging becomes the constructive element of a champagne storage and tasting space “carte jaune”. Between furniture and micro architectures, this new typology divides up the space to plunge us into an atmosphere 100% Clicquot, around 4 objects: The brick: every brick contains a bottle, stored in the packaging-drawer Veuve Clicquot. It permits everyone to build cellars by simple assembly: wall, cellar, folding screen with champagne Mur de champagne n°1 (champagne wall n°1): furniture and walls stand solidly behind, abolishing the borders between partitions and its arrangement. In proportions bound to the

5.5 Designers project veuve clicquot

packaging, the table springs from the wall while proposing us a bottle storage space. The bucket: Thought as a synthesis between traditional ice bucket and the Veuve Clicquot ÂŤdrawerÂť packaging, this

object is keeping the bottles cold as it is fitted in the general construction. The stool: On a basis of 4 bottles stored in its packaging, the stool is just like champagne crate on which we would seat

to savour a glass of champagne. 2 bricks yellow leathercovered provide the comfort of the seat. Once accumulated, stools become a bench and a part of the bulkhead. Intervention as a nod to the

project “apporter sa brique à l’édifice” which offers a collection of bricks to break down our interiors and imagine new kinds of objects at the crossroads between architecture and furniture. A concept which

offers great flexibility to develop Veuve Clicquot creative spaces in public or private environments. By becoming a genuine element of furniture, packaging change Veuve Clicquot statute beyond its mere function of

packaging for a place more permanent.


The chain of Italian shops COIN develops and publishes 3 years of small furniture and home accessories. After a selection of Italian designers which gave birth, in 2007, to the first collection followed by students from ECAL in 2008. This year, it was the turn of 5.5 designers to sign in under the artistic direction of Cristina Morozzi, COINCASADESIGN 2009 collection. To make product accessible, 5.5 designers emerged naturally when we know their attention to popular habits with a heightened sense of transformation « smart and cheap». And this is in the same spirit that characterize the 5.5 designers sign a series of articles full of poetry with a real interest of economy. Les boîtes (the boxes) To provide a place for everything, they created a series of 5 boxes that offer the functions of furniture used in the past decades, and today forgotten. Veritable shoebox designed to the function they suggest. Indeed, everyone has already used shoeboxes to

5.5 Designers project COINCASADESIGN 2009

store a lot of things that we do not know what to do, but often failing to find the right stowage. This format is therefore an archetypal reinterpretation but sustainable. Those boxes are declined by function. In every function corresponds a lid which illustrates its utility: an inclined plane covered with an anti-skid grip on which we put its shoe to clean it indicates the box to shoe polish; a lid sheathed by fabric stuffed to prick needles announces

the sewing box; a flocking lid which acts as display stand and also as hand mirror identifies the jewelry box and the lid papered English green leather becomes a desk blotter and indicates the writing box and finally a wooden lid on the box with energy reminds us the old furniture telephone of former days while centralizing the electric cords of our various devices to be reloaded (I-pod, mobile phone, camera). This is a collection of functional boxes just

like small stores where we will find all the accessories of the domestic life. Les arbres Ă spots (spots trees) To rehabilitate the mythical clamp spotlight, they imagined a tree-lamp. Spots settle down on a raw wooden stylized trunk implanted in a pot that acts as a lamp foot. The industrial object is here treated as a parasite on his support. Both entities live together in a mutual tolerance established by a relation of dependence of this light source

which feeds on the energy given by the host. Electrical cables are fully assumed to induce the displacement of spots while making a delicate reference to the vegetable lianas. Tripla To highlight the importance of not wasting energy, they created Tripla, a lamp pyramid which proposes 3 variations of lights: 3 lamps in a single lamp to choose the luminous intensity adapted to the various needs of the day: a light sweet

as company, an average light for reading or a more powerful one. It is all about a descriptive object which expresses, with clarity and simplicity, the feature that allows regulating its energy consumption. Double jeux (double play) Series of small furniture “double jeux” siamese objects which are a combination of 2 objects: 1 table and ...The very basic roundtable is nothing without its accessory because it has only 2 feet. It is a func-

tional crutch that provides stability and allows it to become a lamp, a cage or a newspaper rack of one’s choice. In this joyful hybridization, the 5.5 highlight the uniqueness of their project approach always measured with a dose of irony. At the base of each of their ideas, there is always a reflection on the perception that it focuses on objects and which is often in the pleasure we take in using them.


eanimate, recuperate, reintroduce, rehabilitate, recycle, restore, rethink, dress, cure‌ the designer becomes the objects doctor and uses his knowledge to increease the life expectancy of rejected pieces of furniture. The aim is not to restore (a practice which seeks to restablish something to its orginal state) nor to repair (an activity which involves utilising basic methods to prolong life) nor transform-

ing (changing the use of) but to reeducate furniture (by systemising the intervention). These doctor designers use deterioration, weakness and alterations as a mean to create. Their surgical operation gives back to the patient its initial function, and the perception of products. This new subject which makes the object central to his worries, may cause the beginning of a true system of production. The cured object thus finds its place within its habitat and regains it’s right

to live. This visit to the first hospital for furnitures enables you to discover atypical medecine which in turn may inspire you to treat your own furniture. Other than being a group of young professionals in the field of design, we are a group of friends who share the same passion for industrial creation, through our different projects carried out throughtout the year. This time, we have decided to get together around a common interest for recuperation. Gleaners, bargain hunters, aesthetes, we are permantly in seek of curiosity of all kinds, because we like unusual productions, or simply beautiful. It is around this love for inpure objects, full of stories, however too often forgotten, that was built our old furniture rehab project, in partnership with French Humanitarian aid (Le Secours Populaire Français). Reanim is fisrt of all a quetionning on the future of our consumer products. What can be done concerning the prolifiration of products which have financial means? The endangerment of natural ressources, the increase of pollution due to prodcutions, are painful facts, reason why we suggest a

future for these doomed objects. Reanim offers a recbirth to dead furtniture. Furniture is a partimonial good, passed on from generation to generation, protected and kept in order to make them live across time. Today it’s status changes and becomes a specific consumer product. The furniture industry has gone form equipement market to a renewal market, and this remarkable change is to be considered in the conception process. How can an object’s second life exist reintroducing it in the sales systems? REANIM and its furniture rises… More than an object presentation, Reanim offers a conception method via the metaphor of a hospital curing objects daily. Indeed the idea is not to present recuperated or transformed objects, sold in limited editions or under unique master peieces, as already done by many designers or artists. Is picked out common pieces of furniture found in dumps, streets, peoples households. The cure gives a new life to these objects and furniture systemising the transformation.

5.5 Designers project Reanim - The medicine of objects





This project involves systematically collecting discarded chairs from London streets (or more frequently, friends’ homes) over a period of about roughly two years, then spending 100 days to reconfiguring the design of each one in an attempt to transform its character and/or the way it functions. My intention is to investigate the potential for creating useful new designs by blending together stylistic or structural elements of existing chair types. I see this as a chance to create a ‘threedimensional sketchbook’, a set of playful yet thought-provoking designs that, due to the time constraint, are put together with a minimum of analysis. As well as possibly making one or more designs that might be suitable for mass production, I intend to question the idea of there being an innate superiority in the one-off, to use this mongrel morphology to demonstrate the difficulty of any particular design being objectively judged ‘the best’. I also hopes my chairs illustrate – and celebrate – the geographical, historical and human resonance of design: what can they tell us

Martino Gamper projecT A 100 chairs IN 100 DAYS

about London, the sociological context of seating from different areas, and the people who owned each one? The stories behind the chairs are as important as their style or even their function. The project suggests a new way to stimulate design thinking, and provokes debate about a number of issues, including value, different types of functionality and what is an appropriate style for certain types of chair – for example, what happens to the status and potential of a plastic garden chair (conventionally located slap bang in the idiom of unremarkable functionality) when it is upholstered with luxurious brown suede? In essence, this exercise champions a certain elasticity of approach – both in terms in highlighting the importance of the sociological/personal/ geographical/historical context of design, and in enabling the creative potential of elements of randomness and spontaneity to be brought to the fore. MG


Designers are mostly conscien- that become a table with the additious people, and understand that tion of something like an old door. the environmental crisis is the French designer Philippe Nigro’s result of over-consumption. But Pietement Universal is a trestle leg their role in society is to design that works according to the same new products, and to indirectly principle. Or there’s Nicolas Le encourage people to buy those Moigne’s Watering CAn, a plastic products, feeding the consumer- handle and spout that can be atist beast. tached to a plastic bottle so it can But many designers have found be used for watering plants. a loophole in the consumer system “We are surrounded by objects, so - the parasite product. Parasite instead of replacing something, products are products that only why not add something” says work with the addition of some- Shay Alkalay, half of design duo thing from the consumer’s home Raw-Edges and member of Okay - something that was previously Studio. “I wouldn’t say improve considered waste. They not the them, but I would say add someresult of creative reuse, because thing”. In 2007, Raw-Edges demit is the consumer rather than the onstrated Cut Attache’z, a way to designer or manufacturer who cut into an old bureau to add a new, picks and introduces the re-used specially designed, drawer. I was a element. Jorre van Ast’s Clamp- violent prototype - a less aggresa-Leg table is an archetypal sive version, using glue instead of example - it is not a table, it is four a jigsaw, is possibly about to go legs witch threaded clamps on top into production.

Shay Alkalay project PARASITE PRODUCTS


arasite products aren’t products themselves - they only become useful when they save something from becoming waste, or extend the life of something that might otherwise be thrown away. As a typology, parasite products form the central part of a new way of thinking about design, which we could call “ guilty design” - design that tries not to add an unnecessary new product. Conventional ethical design uses responsibly sourced and recyclable materials and green processes, but really doesn’t change the linear way things are bought, used and disposed of. Guilty design is more conscious of designs complicity in the consumer process, and alters the users way of thinking about possessions rather than simply substituting “Green” alternatives for consumers products. “A jar we dispose of no problem, but an Ikea glass, a very cheap glass, if we drop it we are annoyed”, says Van Ast, another Okay Studio member, talking about the inspiration 92

behind his Jar Tops, moulded screw-tops that turn jars into a variety of other kitchen items. Parasite thinking, adding to staff that already exist could be particularly useful for your designers. “As a young designer to go for a holistic design”, says Nik Rysenbery, a second year student at the Royal Collage of Art who has developed Flat Out, a plastic steam that can be attached to disposable caps to extend their life. People just staring out often cannot afford expensive manufacturing techniques like injections-moulding, but there are plenty of objects on the market that have already been manufactured, waiting for parasitism. Guilty design reflects some of the principles of “cradle to cradle” design, a theory developed by Wiliam McDonough and Michael Braungart in their book of the sam name. “Cradle to cradle” design aims to get designers thinking about the lifecycle of a product in a more sophisticated way - particularly, to think about the end of its life in terms broader than disposal

or simply recycling. Under the theory, products should circulate within technological society for as long as possible through planet reuse of their components, before being recycled or used as food for new organic materials. Parasite products all keep materials and components circulating in what

MacDonough and Braungart call the “technosphere” for longer, reducing overall resource consumption. Linear mode of consumption - buy, use, dispose - is replaced with something like an ecosystem of components circulating and recombining. But the real eco-

saving is not always the obvious one. Parasite product involve the user in a personal relationship with what they own, says Van Ast, a relationship that should be longer - lasting and more sustainable than simple, passive consumption. “I think

a really interesting question is: to what extend can consumerism act in favour of the environment? It is always something that is conflicting, but its also the only way to create change”.


Makkink and Bey Studio Makkink & Bey’s work belongs to the world of design, it also criticises consumer culture, throwaway society and the depletion of natural resources. Their work suggests a more sustainable economy where discarding objects is unthinkable thanks to a strategy of alternative production and consumption cycles.

Storing, piling up and collection is a crucial part of their working method. The objects are more than just a pile of objects. With

each transformation, they acquire new meanings, life and narratives.


Makkink & Bey was a highlight of the Droog exhibition in Milan this year. Made of CNC cut plywood, the shed-sized house functions as a space within a space, but with a bonus: furniture parts pop out of the walls. Stools, tables and benches can be created by using the patterns set into the walls of the structure, so it Studio Makkink & Bey’s House of Blue is  one of the  installations designed for  the New York branch of Droog store. It is made out of foam blocks and forms part of the store’s fittings. The Rotterdam-based designer’s installation for the Dutch retailer is a detailed replication of an imaginary house. The second installation by Studio Makkink & Bey is the Stairhouse; a plywood panel that is  part of the stairs and the wall to an office space. Elements of the panel can be removed and transformed into tables, benches and stools. The Stairhouse has been developed into another project; the House of Furniture Parts for the 2009 Milan Furniture Fair. ( The House of Furniture Parts by Studio

is an ever-changing space designed to suit individual needs. It can be packed flat and set up within large interiors of offices. “It is a system that starts from the designer but grows into the culture where it is locally produced, and therefore, it makes me very curious how it will look in five years,” says Jurgen Bey.

Makkink and Bey Droog is an Amsterdam based company that first came into the Design world in the early nineties. The Dutch word ‘Droog’ actually stands for ‘dry’ or ‘wry’ which has defined their company for over a decade, as a conceptual design company. This company values what


it means to be human in accordance with beauty and meaning. They desire for high quality experiences at its core and believe that luxury of content rather than luxurious materials is far more important. Droog has definitely lived up to their values by producing

some amazing pieces, such as the high-chair, where they had taken the design of Maartje Steenkamp and developed it where the legs could be cut off as the child grows older. Then eventually it would just be a chair where children could play with! They are usually best known for their high end, high priced, one off pieces of furniture,however, Droog have produced a cheaper range of self-assembly furniture; “We want to make design more

normal. You make something more normal when it is accessible to people. Not only the top people.�Many have criticised Droog for preserving their conceptual ideas and turning to more accessible furniture. However, I believe that Droog have created a dream world for all DIY lovers. Imagine if all furniture was like a jigsaw puzzle, without the need of screws and bolts, where all the pieces just slid and fit into one-another. Assembling furniture would

no longer be seen as a chore! Regardless of what the critics have to say, Droog, is undoubtedly pioneers of their time.


Reserch Book Chair  

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