Category Design Secrets: Furniture 50 Real-Life Projects Uncovered

Nick Dine, speaking about his Lo-Borg cabinetry. “It’s just the modern version of a low sideboard.” After a pause, he adds, “But I do know what the Borg are.”

Подпись: ® The Lo-Borg audio-visual Cabinet capitalizes on a new painting technology to create a strong graphic statement in silver and robin’s egg blue. Credit: Albert Vecerka It turns out that the inspiration for the Lo-Borg and other pieces in this casegoods line came from a primal rather than futuristic fantasy life-form. According to Dine, “My very first inspirations were Fred Flinstone furniture, pieces that were carved out of one piece with no doors, just openings. Everything was reductive, not fabricated; it was like I took a gigantic rock and carved holes into it. I was unleashing my inner caveman.”

Not too long after his Flinstone efforts, Dine designed a series of plastic laminate frames for Wilson Art picture frames. “We used laminate colors to create these simple, soft radius shapes. That language, which was a kind of Zeitgeist of the times, sat well with me, and I decided I wanted to do a real project...


Work desk systems,” says Dario Antonini of Orange 22

Подпись: The Sputnik Desk is an oversized, glass-topped workstation inspired by spaceships as well as pragmatic concerns of modern office life. Credit: Dario Antonioni/Orange 22 “I’d been designing work desk stations and modular systems for companies, and that got me to start thinking about the future of work and what a desk and work would mean or stand for in the future,” he says. “Being so involved with computers and technol­ogy as I am, I couldn’t separate my work from the digital realm, where we have all these peripheral devices that make our work life easier. The attempt was to create a simplified workstation that was ample enough to give you the workspace you need, but make it clean and unobtrusive.”

Because Antonini has long been inspired by airplanes and space travel, it was inevitable that the desk would also have a bit of the jetsons aesthetic as well. “I like to approach design from a narra­tive point of view,” Antonini says...


Make handbags. We got inspired by finding some at flea markets in Asia,” says Lars Dahmann of Lebello Design. “And I’ve always liked the minimalist aesthetic of Asia.”

Подпись: 0 The Marshmellow Ottoman is made of colorful strands of woven plastic to be a playful, easy-to-pick-up-and- take-home piece of furniture. Credit: Lebello USA What he ended up with instead of handbags were crayon-colored, woven plastic ottomans, manufactured in Asia. Playfully dubbed Marshmellows, this product was less the result of a desire to make furniture, than the desire to make, well, something. “We’d tried designing products for export into the American market,” Dahmann says, “But we decided to make our own products. We wanted to have something that was instantly modern, but also classical. In terms of branding and naming, we wanted to have something that was very colorful and reflected the pop movement of the late ’60s and ’70s.”

Dahmann found that furniture became a means for him to express his educational background and professional interest in both de­sign and branding...


Vero Sofa, Christian Biecher “I wanted to have a very well-drawn sofa and armchair,” says Christian Biecher of the initial inspirations for his Vero sofa

Подпись: @ The Vero Sofa and matching chair reveal Beicher’s interest in straight lines and substantive proportions in furniture. Credit: Bernhardt Design “I wanted something modern and classic, that also went back to the history of modern design, the roots of geometry, the pure shapes of a square, triangle, and circle.” He managed to achieve this tall design order by a somewhat surprising focus on simplic­ity. “I wanted something that was calm, almost banal, and yet precisely designed.”

The Vero uses a series of straight lines and substantive propor­tions combined with two very judiciously used quarter-circles and some slender angles to create the desired aesthetic. “When you look at the front of the piece,” says Biecher, “it’s just blocks. But when you look at the side, you can see the curving angles at the top and bottom of the back. All of this is resting on legs set at a perfect 45 degree angle, so it’s almost fragile...


Trix Sofa, Piero Lissoni “The idea was to design one moveable piece,” says РІЄГО Lissoni of his Trix convertible sofa. “If you like, it’s a really big pouf. It’s possible to sit, drink, make love—why MOt? — see the television.”

Подпись: © The Trix uses a system of rubber bands and posts that allow three separate cushions to fold and unfold while staying close to one another. Credit: Kartell Trix is a set of connected cushions that folds open or shut, allow­ing it to become a chair, sofa, or bed—there’s even an integrated, removable, round tray. “Open one part, and then you transform it into a chair, move again and transform into an armchair, move again and transform into a bed,” says Lissoni. “The movement is really simple because we designed a link system using one huge ring in rubber. You are totally free and it is up to you to decide every movement. If you like to use a lounge chair, you design a lounge chair; if you like to use a daybed, you design a daybed.”

Its compact space and multiuse design make Trix especially appropriate in smaller living quarters. “Small spaces were in my mind,” says Lissoni...


ISO Sofa System, Michael Sodeau “The sofa really came about through the design of the leg profile,” says Michael Sodeau of his Iso Sofa. “It’s a weird, awkward shape,” he says, “a cantilevered profile.”

ISO Sofa System, Michael Sodeau “The sofa really came about through the design of the leg profile,” says Michael Sodeau of his Iso Sofa. “It’s a weird, awkward shape,” he says, “a cantilevered profile.”ISO Sofa System, Michael Sodeau “The sofa really came about through the design of the leg profile,” says Michael Sodeau of his Iso Sofa. “It’s a weird, awkward shape,” he says, “a cantilevered profile.”Подпись: 0 The Iso Sofa System by Michael Sodeau has been designed as a series of interlockable pieces that can be configured in a multitude of shapes to actually define the public spaces in which they’re used. Credit: David Simonds Подпись:Asked by Modus to design a seating system for the contract mar­ket, Soudeau started working with a leg he’d originally envisioned for a chair. This strange silhouette was inspired by an equally odd source. “There’s a route I take quite often coming to work,” Soudeau explains. “And there’s this road sign in Camden that shows the direction the roads go when they split. It was some­thing I registered subconsciously and then turned into something three dimensional.”

When he began reviewing the brief from Modus, Sodeau also found himself “. . . thinking on a grand scale, about seating hun­dreds of people.” He then stepped back a bit farther, and started to consider how he could go beyond the simple functional de­mands of seating, and actually change the environment itself...


People might live in the future,” recalls Sarah Fels of the begin­ning of the Fritz sofa project. “The initial brief was SO broad, it was almost not a brief at all.”

Подпись: ® The Fritz Sofa expresses designer Sarah Fels’ interest in faceted shapes as well as manufacturer Dune’s expertise with upholstery to create a tightly tailored sofa with a timeless aesthetic. Credit: Albert Vecerka While she often begins her designs with some kind of research, “this had more to do with thinking about poetic inspiration or im­ages that stuck in my mind. I was thinking about a fairly diverse bunch of images, from the deco Chrysler building angularity, to the tech, cubist movement in architecture that produced all these crazy faceted objects and buildings, and also about punk spiki­ness. I was really interested in a faceted, angular language for fur­niture.”

The ultimate shape of the sofa actually grew out of two other pieces of furniture. “The project really began as an armchair, and from that became an ottoman, and then a sofa,” according to Fels. “That’s not uncommon...


So well with children.”

Подпись: @ The Crescent Moon sofa was inspired as a companion piece to a rug that showed stars in the night sky. Credit: Ralph Pucci International Dreaming, stargazing, and contemplating the results of another project were the genesis of her Crescent Sofa. “I did a very big round rug,” she explains. “The colors were, I think, at least five or six different dark blues. There was a lot of joy and happiness for all these blues to be mixed, because you hardly saw where they changed, but they had influence on each other, and I loved that. In these blues, I designed little stars of beige and gold and they were very small. In the end, this piece was called Milky Way.” She continues, “This sky made me think of the Moon, and I wanted to do something with the Moon. I thought it would be incredibly nice to sit on the milky way of the floor and have the Moon for your body to sit on...


Comet Sofa, Vladimir Kagan Tve always believed in furniture liberated from the walls of а ҐООҐП,” says Vladimir Kagan. “Most of my clients were collectors of art, so they needed to liberate the walls for art work.”

With the Comet Sofa, Kagan continues his decades-long tradition of creating sensuous sofas that sit in the middle of a room and allow for a wide range of seating configurations. “These free-form designs have been the driving force of my designs,” he says. “I like to make something that can be moved, rearranged, and al­lows you to sit in different directions.” The Comet began when Roche Bobois came to Kagan looking for designs that reflected his quintessential design vernacular. “I went to visit them in their Washington, D. C. store,” Kagan recalls. “I brought along a whole suitcase of designs, but all of a sudden, I was inspired and I started to sketch on the train. It just hit right,” he says. “I do well sketching under abnormal circumstances...


Aspen Sofa, Jean-Marie Massaud when describing his design inspirations, Jean Marie Massaud returns again and again to metaphors from ПЭШГб and literature

Подпись: © The Aspen Sofa is actually a collection of three pieces; a right and left version that can be used separately or combined into one large sofa, or a smaller, standalone version pictured here. Credit: Nicola Zocchi “When you look at nature and how life is growing, it’s not square,” he says. “It’s an ecosystem which is very rich in terms of life. It is the same thing as composing a sentence. This collection is speaking about furniture as a reef, a living thing, a solution that lets you use space in a different manner.” And within this context, his Aspen sofa, developed for Cassina, is “. . . an articu­lation, a punctuation that gives it strength and strangeness in space.”

The Aspen is actually three different pieces. There is a right and left version, each of which is an elegant study in asymmetry: one edge flows fluidly from two planes to a single surface, while the other edge appears chopped off in a bold, 90-degree stroke...