The indefatigable Daniel Libeskind has designed a chair that might make some think that he's angling for a job to overhaul the USS Enterprise (or perhaps a $97 million earthbound residential replica of it). The faceted-yet-cushy Gemma was shown in prototype form by Moroso at Salone this year; the collection will include a full line of seating options. The piece is upholstered in a fabric whose pattern arguably resembles a far, far away galaxy: Blur, which was designed by Marc Thorpe for Moroso.
Posts tagged with "Furniture":
Tribeca's R & Company gallery at 82 Franklin Street is highlighting two Brazilian greats: Lina Bo Bardi (1914–1992) and Roberto Burle Marx (1909–1994). But act fast! Furniture by Bo Bardi and tapestries by Burle Marx are on display through the end of this week—the exhibit closes April 30. Lina Bo Bardi is best known for her monumental architecture, such as the sturdy São Paulo Museum of Art or the rugged SESC Pompéia in São Paulo. But her work in this exhibit, Lina Bo Bardi + Roberto Burle Marx, represents a much smaller scale. Furniture designed from the 1950s through the 1980s and executed in wood, metal, and leather show how her Brazilian modern thinking translated to the size of a chair. Designs dually showcase strong geometry and classic Brazilian curves that are a hallmark of her larger built work. In fact, a dining set on view in the exhibit was designed with Marcelo Ferraz and Marcelo Suzuki for the SESC Pompéia. Complementing Bo Bardi's furniture are textiles and totems by Roberto Burle Marx, generally regarded as the father of Brazilian landscape architecture. Playful patterns and geometric shapes are present in a variety of Burle Marx's larger projects such as the iconic Copacabana boardwalk, a modern interpretation of historic Portuguese paving designs; collaborations with Oscar Niemeyer in Brasilia; and private estates throughout the country. Zoom out on these landscape designs and you can see a clear connection between the large-format works and his smaller textiles and tapestries. In addition to landscape architecture, Burle Marx was a trained artist and sculptor with a keen interest in Brazilian folk art, themes that appear in his colorful wooden totems on display in this exhibit. Check out these works for yourself at R & Company in Tribeca through April 30.
Scientists at MIT dream of autonomous assembly lines that are free of machinery, human intervention, or fossil fuel expenditure—and still run 24/7. Researchers at the Self-Assembly Lab recently debuted a chair that assembled itself in a water tank over a period of seven hours. Each of the six component parts is embedded with a magnet and like an enzyme or jigsaw piece, each one has a unique connection point for hooking on to the others, thus dictating the final form. The assembly process, however, is anything but controlled. Fans at the bottom of the tank generate turbulence in the water, jostling the pieces and encouraging a series of trial-and-error collisions which eventually sees complementary pieces latch onto one another. “At close proximity, each piece should easily connect with its corresponding component but never with another one,” Bailey Zuniga, a student who led the research, told Wired. Self-assembly means finding a balance between randomness and control. One ultimate goal is self-repairing infrastructure, but too much leeway could make it very difficult to achieve a desired final form. Before vowing to never shell out another extortionate check for furniture delivery and installation, note that the chair is a mere six inches tall. A human-sized chair is in the pipeline as part of the Fluid Assembly Furniture project led by Skylar Tibbit. At present, the team is amassing quantitative data to better understand material properties and why certain shapes work better than others. “Finding a way to make the pieces more interchangeable would increase the chances of the pieces finding their matches,” said Zuniga. Other recent forays into self-assembling modules is the Aerial Assemblies project, in which 36-inch helium-filled balloons with fiberglass frames self-configure into a structural lattice in mid-air.
More than seventy years after their creation, a collection of classic office furniture by Jean Prouvé is being updated and released to the market. Dutch fashion purveyor G-Star, in conjunction with Swiss furniture manufacturer Vitra, have developed "Prouvé Raw," a collection of ten pieces that include chairs, desk and wall lighting, conference tables, and writing desks. And Rem Koolhaas also plays a role in this revival. In 2014, OMA and Koolhaas completed a new headquarters for G-Star. Observing an affinity between the architecture and the Prouvé pieces that was mirrored by the design philosophy of the fashion house, a decision was made to outfit the offices, conference rooms, and canteens of the new building with the seven-decade-old furnishings. In cooperation with the Prouvé family, Vitra adapted the French designer’s furnishings to meet the needs of today’s office. Desks have been modularized, and fitted with concealed runs for cables and pop-up power outlets. The swiveling desk chair has a more stable five-branch base. Teaming up with art directors at G-Star, color and material palettes were created that are true to the aesthetic of both Prouvé and the Dutch company. Several shades of industrial green, and leather and fabric upholstery complement the steel and solid-wood furnishings. The Prouvé Raw collection debuts next month at Salone in Milan.
Endless table materializes intra-office connectivity in plywood, MDF, and epoxy.When Culver City-based Clive Wilkinson Architects (CWA) sat down with representatives of the Barbarian Group to discuss renovating the advertising agency's new 20,000-square-foot office, one word kept coming up: connection. "Before, they were all in offices designed for one person, but crammed five in each, and scattered," recalled associate principal Chester Nielsen. "It was a pain. Bringing everyone into the open, and having them feel like they were all connected was super important." The architects elected to "surgically gut" the leased New York Garment District loft to create a central workspace for between 125-175 employees. To materialize the theme of connection, they zeroed in on the idea of a single work surface, an endless table later christened the Superdesk. With 4,400 square feet of epoxy-coated surface atop a support structure comprising 870 unique laser-cut plywood panels, the Superdesk is a triumph of programmatic creativity. "Building a big table was not an obvious solution," said Nielsen, "but it's a simple one." The Superdesk began as a series of sketches by president Clive Wilkinson. "Upon first impression we got to this squiggly table," said Nielsen. "It worked really well. Honestly, we've just been refining that." The table's undulating surface lifts and lowers, to indicate subtle divisions between departments, and to create arched overpasses above intra-office "cow paths." The grotto-like spaces under the archways double as intimate gathering areas for up to eight people. From the sketches, the architects built two physical models—the first rough, the second more refined—before taking the design into Revit and Rhino. There they further fine-tuned the form and prepared it for fabrication by Machineous LLC. "Machineous wanted the project very much; they were a good partner on this," said Nielsen. "We worked back and forth to tweak what we needed to make the table constructible." Machineous laser-cut the component parts, including the plywood ribs that shape the Superdesk's archways, using vintage automotive-industry robots. Machineous flat-packed the cut pieces and shipped them to New York, where the desk was assembled on site. The Superdesk's walls are framed in 2-by-4 lumber faced with plywood; plate steel brackets connect the various wood elements. Machineous bonded the MDF tabletop and painted it a shimmering white to give it the appearance of a single connected surface. The crowning achievement of the fabrication process—and the literal polish on the project—was a continuous epoxy pour, completed by rotating teams over a 24-hour period. Despite the complications inherent to prefabricating and installing a massive piece of furniture on opposite coasts, CWA and Machineous managed to deliver their innovative take on contemporary office culture both on time and within Barbarian Group's tight budget. "Something quite notable from the perspectives of both design and fabrication is that it's the same cost as going to Office Depot" for conventional desks, noted Nielsen. What is more, with plenty of surface area for laptops and the other, increasingly minimal, accoutrements of the modern workplace, and with a data and power track built into its walls, the Superdesk "is very, very flexible," he said. "Unlike a typical office [layout], it can change in a day."
Named M&O Designer of the Year, Nendo is contributing a Chocolatexture Lounge to the Maison et Object exposition in Paris later this month. Dubbed "a deliciously regressive space," it houses a selection of chairs created by Oki Sato (aka Nendo) for such manufacturers as Moroso, Emeco, and Cappellini—all upholstered in cocoa brown textiles. They will be set among an array of 2,000 aluminum pipes, which, the designer said, will be painted and installed to evoke "a rippling, large molten-chocolate wave." But there is more to the lounge than confectionary allusions: There's an actual chocolate creation that will be available. Visitors to the booth will have the opportunity to purchase one of 400 boxes of chocolates that have been preciously rendered in distinctly non-Platonic solids. On the tongue, the texture of each morsel will be different—assuming one can bear to eat such exquisite and rare entities. This isn't the studio's first foray into such sweet design. In 2014, they created chocolate villages to populate ice cream cakes by Häagen-Dazs (below). In light of Nendo's affinity for chocolate as a material, the recognition as designer of the year, we'll say, is just desserts.
Vitra—Design, Architecture, Communication: A European Project with American Roots Philadelphia Museum of Art, Perelman Building, Collab Gallery 2525 Pennsylvania Avenue, Philadelphia, PA Through April 26, 2015 In its new exhibition, Vitra—Design, Architecture, Communication: A European Project with American Roots, the Philadelphia Museum of Art explores the history of the famous Swiss furniture company from its early licensing partnership with Herman Miller to new collaborations with world-renowned contemporary designers, such as Verner Panton, Antonio Citterio, and Jasper Morrison. Vitra’s evolution will be tracked through a collection of about 120 design objects, furniture, models, publications, and videos. This will be supplemented by archival material and historic objects from the Vitra Design Museum in Germany. These materials include a plywood toy elephant by Charles and Ray Eames, a series of Alexander Girard’s Wooden Dolls, and George Nelson’s 1948 furniture catalogue for Herman Miller.
At the recent Design Miami fest, artist Naihan Li exhibited her work-of-art wardrobe, which is helpfully—or confusingly—titled I AM A MONUMENT. (Apologies, and a tip of the chapeau, to Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, and Steven Izenour.) The monument in question is, of course, Rem Koolhaas' CCTV building. But the homage isn't limited to the exterior of the structure. Inside—the cabinet, if not the building—things get interesting. The elaborate compartments and cupboards contained in the rosewood armoire would seem to take inspiration from programmatic diagrams of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture's Beijing skyscraper. The artist explained her thinking: "The CCTV tower, shaped like a loop of video in endless production, has been turned into a wardrobe, where the ritual of dressing and undressing can also be said to be an endless loop."
The Noguchi Museum in Queens, New York has bestowed its second annual Isamu Noguchi Award to designer Jasper Morrison and architect Yoshio Taniguchi. This eponymous accolade is given to professionals who, like Noguchi, are leaders in the fields of design and architecture, and “kindred spirits in innovation, global consciousness, and Japanese/American exchange,” the museum said in a statement. Noguchi, an artist and landscape architect, brought a sculptor’s touch to furniture design, creating pieces that were abstract yet functional, soaring yet minimalist. The recipients of this year’s award were selected because they demonstrate a common approach to their work and “exemplify Noguchi’s lifelong commitment to world citizenship and the practice of art with a social purpose,” stated Jenny Dixon, Director of the Noguchi Museum. Motohide Yoshikawa, the Ambassador of Japan to the United Nations, will officially present the awards to Morrison and Taniguchi on May 19, 2015 at the museum’s Spring Benefit and 20th Anniversary bash. The museum’s inaugural awards went to Norman Foster and Hiroshi Sugimoto this past May.
Architect Daniel Libeskind has collaborated with artist Marina Abramovic on the design of furniture for her upcoming event, "Counting the Rice," which will be staged December 4–7 during Miami Art Basel. The integrated table/bench will be fabricated in concrete by Moroso in a limited edition of 30 pieces. Plywood versions were created for previous performances in Geneva and Milan. While striking in its characteristically angular appearance, we're a little skeptical of the comfort quotient of the seating. Was Libeskind channeling his inner Frank Lloyd Wright, who created famously painful furnishings? Hmmm. But perhaps the nature of the performance provides a clue, here: The event requires participants to sit for at least six hours, counting and sorting grains of rice. Part meditative ritual, part atrophy-inducing experience—at least they will look, if not feel, good. Proceeds from the sale of the tables will be donated to Abramovic's MAI organization, a platform for "immaterial art" and long duration works.
MOD, the newly-created furniture wing from San Francisco architecture firm Min | Day, will be unveiling three new pieces at ICFF next week. By making use of the human inclinations to rearrange and reconfigure, the pieces grow through a simple geometry of addition and subtraction. All three styles utilize playfulness and improvisation to create topological terrains. The AVA is a steel storage system that on it’s own can be used as a stool or small table, however, when combined with more than one unit it can quickly become a complex shelving system, room divider and space converter whose precise tonalities along with its lightweight metal and shifting angles create inherent drama. Soft Stones furniture is comprised of eight unique components that transform from a lounge when fitted in place to individual seats and small tables when broken apart and scattered throughout a room. The line is constructed out of steel, foam, and upholstery fabric and comes in five colors. It resembles, perhaps, an undiscovered geologic formation, as it’s geometry pervades a muted yet playful interpretation of shattered boulders. Pentables, a five-sided table system originally designed with students at the University of Nebraska is made of welded steel and goes together quickly. It grows in similar ways to the AVA system, where it can exist on its’ own but can also be added to with additional units.
While much of the work introduced at Milan this year played it safe—distinctly conservative colors, forms familiar from the 1950s, cautious use of materials—some architects' designs took, shall we say, a bolder stance. But: Was it a better one? You, ever-opinionated reader, shall and no doubt will be the judge of that. Among the boldest of the bold designs this year were four pieces presented by Zaha Hadid. Most photos we've seen of the aluminum Manta Ray seating underscore its unfortunate semblance, not to the graceful sea creature, but to a giant human posterior. At AN, we're taking the high road, featuring this more abstracted view of the piece. But it may not be enough to erase the obvious imagery. Here, Hadid has designed a fireplace, which appears to have melted into a puddle of black marble. Ironically cold design, for an interiors element that generates heat. Thumbs up on this one. A rectangular top is a disciplined extension of the vaguely tripod-ish base. Great stone fabrication, and we wouldn't even mind bumping our knees on the legs of this terrific table. A welcome departure from the blobby, yes? But the mid-point of the unit seems to be a bit dysfunctional for shelving, lacking any level horizontal surfaces, but hey, it's all about the cantilever. Looking back on Salone 2014, it's interesting that one can fairly easily discern which pieces were architect-generated versus those that were created by industrial designers. The latter are trained (and paid) to produce commercially viable furniture collections, while the former are free to indulge in the making of domestic monuments.