Category Design Secrets: Furniture 50 Real-Life Projects Uncovered

Swiss Benches, or Los Bancos Alfredo Haberli . After getting a Call from the Spanish company Bd Ediciones de Diseno, Alfredo Haberli kicked off his creative process the way a short Storf writer might, by first imagining his characters

Подпись: 0 The complete line of Los Bancos Suizos, or Swiss Benches, by Alfredo Haberli is a versatile, mix-and- match, add-and-subtract, group of outdoor seating that allows people to gather for conversation and camaraderie, or even work while sitting down or standing up. Credit: Bd Ediciones de Diseno Q) Opposite: A series of sketches show the various characters Haberli imagined using his benches for everything from reading Neruda, to playing soccer or standing on your head. Credit: Alfredo Haberli Подпись:“Lucky for them, in Spain they have more sun than we do,” Haberli says, describing how he got started designing his outdoor benches. “You can imagine the people spend more time out­doors, in the streets, in the piazzas, than we do. I just imagined people who were in a park. I thought of a couple, or a person who is alone, or a poet, or a guy who works at a bank, or a philosopher. So, I invent for myself this type of professional to create the shape of these benches to give them a stronger char­acter than you would have in a typical bench.” Haberli considered how a poet might sit in the park and ponder a poem on a warm afternoon, or how a couple might want to meet for an intimate lunch together, or a banker who sits in his office all day might need a respite from his desk...


Rocks, Arik Levy “There was only the urge to create a new object,” says Arik Levy of the inspifdtion for Rocks. “An object which has a fascinating appearance and represents the contrast between the ИіШіаП being and nature

Подпись: To its designer, this highly polished piece of metal in the shape of a rock represents a whole range of complexities in our relationship to nature. Credit: Arik Levy, L Design between something which is open and closed, between some­thing solid and soft, and something which appears and disap­pears as it reflects it’s environment.”

It’s hard to say exactly what Rocks is or are. Perhaps it is a bench, or a seat, or a piece of garden sculpture. Most simply, they are highly polished pieces of metal made to resemble the shape of a hunk of stone. But for Levy, they represent an almost ironic, or at least complex, relationship between humanity and the natural world. “When you have it at home, say as a sculpture or low cof­fee table or bench, you make what you want out of it,” he says. “You bring a visual representation of notions that we know out of nature...


Park Lane Bench, Bjorn Dahlstrom, Dahlstrom Design “I’ve always been quite interested in the public space,” notes Bjorn Dahlstrom. “I think it’s quite fascinating when you

have a lot of people who don’t know each other sharing a space

Подпись: The wood and metal Park Lane Bench offers an “island in the park” that makes a welcoming and expansive gesture to the public. Credit: Nola and furniture in a museum or someplace. It’s like experimenting with what kind of a space you need for when you sit next to peo­ple you don’t know.”

When he began to design the Park Lane Bench for Nola, Dahlstrom turned his attention from interior public spaces to the world out­side. “I thought of the bench as sort of an island in a park or the city environment. Instead of creating wooden armrests at the end of the bench, I wanted to do something that made a gesture out­wards. It gives you a little bit of space to put your bag down but also to shield you from the environment...


Laurel Bench, Mark Goetz, TZ Design “This project began, as most of my projects do, with a particular need,” says Mark Goetz of his Laurel Bench

Подпись: The Laurel Bench by Mark Goetz for Bernhardt Design brings the classical proportions and leg design of ancient Chinese lacquered tables to a seat that that seems to invite a passer by to take a rest. Credit: Bernhardt Design, Lisa Adams Photography Подпись:“The need, identified by Bernhardt Design, was to develop a bench for architectural settings, specifically hotels, hallways, any kind of business environment.” He pauses before adding, “And then, my sort of hopeful and less verbalized intention was for it to find it’s way into people’s homes.”

Once these basic parameters had been identified, Goetz looked to the distant Far East for inspiration. “A lot of my designs have an element of old and new,” he says, “and recently, I’ve been very interested in the notion of very ancient shapes. I think it’s inter­esting that pieces from ancient history have a sort of truth and freshness about them. For this piece, I was looking at Chinese an­tiquity. I was looking at some Chinese altar tables, often seen in black lacquer...


Solid Series, Patrick Jouin “When you design a chair, you know the technology you will use,” says Patrick Jouin. “You know if you design one in steel, or plastic, or wood, so before your pencil touches the paper, you have in mind all the con­straints of the technology you will use to produce the product.”

Подпись: 0 The Solid Chair has been made using stereolithography, a technology that uses a laser beam to create a single object by building up layer upon layer of hardened polymer. Credit: Thomas Duval “When you design an object,” he continues, “you will always have someone else who will come in the process, and say, ‘Sorry Patrick, you can’t do it like this because our machine won’t do this.’ So I change it. I don’t want to, but I have to find a solution. Or the manufacturer will say, ‘I can’t sell this, the market will not accept.’ But this time, there is no technical constraint, and no one in the middle of the process. It’s now a pure idea; not cooked, but raw. Which is why it looks so incredible.”

jouin is referring to the freedom he found when he began creating functional objects with a process normally used for rapid proto­typing. Jouin first became familiar with stereolithography when he was designing a decorative object for a Las Vegas bar...


Shell Table, Barber Osgerby The Shell Table is the only logical conclusion to Barber Osgerby’s twin fascinations with a humble material and a pared-down aesthetic

Shell Table, Barber Osgerby The Shell Table is the only logical conclusion to Barber Osgerby’s twin fascinations with a humble material and a pared-down aestheticПодпись: @ The Shell Table is an expression of Barber Osgerby’s “fascination” with plywood’s strength and humble character. Credit: Lee Funnell for Ikoson “We love working with plywood,” says Ed Barber, “because it’s somewhere between working with regular wood and with plastic. Like plastic, you can mold plywood into certain shapes, but unlike plastic, it doesn’t deteriorate as it ages. In some cases, it actually looks better as it ages.”

The other idea the designers, Jay Osgerby and Ed Barber, had in mind was to create something as lightweight—both literally and aesthetically—as possible. “We were intrigued with the strength of plywood. Even though it’s thin, when you fold it, it becomes very strong. The Shell Table puts that principle into practice,” Bar­ber continues. “By just folding the top over the leg, you get a very simple line and each component is very strong, but very lightweight.”

The designers’ collabo...


Origami Table, Michael Wolfson “They were based on the geometry and forms that I deal with, looking into the ideas of movement and motion, which were developed by the modernists, the deconstructionists and other ‘ists’ and ‘isms/”

Подпись: The Origami Table explores issues of motion and movement through folded plates of mirror-polished stainless steel that transform themselves into a dining room table with a dramatic cantilever. Credit: Wolfson Design says Michael Wolfson of the genesis of his Origami Table. “Their studies of movement and motion are still going on today.”

In addition to these influences, the seeds for what would become Wolfson’s Origami Table were planted a decade ago with a project that involved designing some chairs. But it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that he dusted off some old sketches and began to look at how to make his more formal studies viable. “In the last two years, when there began to be a stronger interest in art fur­niture,” he says, “this spurred me to go back and spend some time looking at furniture and see where it is in the culture.” Ac­cording to Wolfson, “The more extreme forms of art furniture are not accessible or desired by the public, and that’s understand­able...


Not So Soft Table and Chairs, Stephen Burks

“There always has been a kind of joy for me in assembling some­thing and understanding how it works,” says Stephen Burks,

Подпись: The Not So Soft line by Stephen Burks is made with two different shapes of injection-molded polypropylene that snap fit together to create an indoor-outdoor- lightweight-floatable chair and table. Credit: Miro Zognoli Подпись:Not So Soft Table and Chairs, Stephen Burksexplaining the Not So Soft Table. “The best, most successfully de­signed objects are those that are immediate, that communicate, in a way, their function, that say what they do.

I like how this table explains itself, and how it also explains the design process in a way. You get to choose how much of it you put together,” Burks points out, “even if there is only one way to put it together.”

The Not So Soft Table was an unexpected outgrowth of Burks’ work with Mogu, a Japanese manufacturer of pillows filled with polystyrene pellets...


Structure of instruments and how they’re put together, the end result is always beautiful, and it hasn’t changed much over time,” explains Jeff Jenkins

Подпись: @ The Low Down Table is made, much like a musical instrument, so it can be tuned to keep the large slab of Sugar pine tabletop flat in any season, regardless of fluctuations in temperature and humidity. Credit: Aldo Tutino Подпись:“Successful furniture is about connections, and how you bring materials together,” he says, “and I started to think about how to translate that structural language of instruments into furniture. It’s a bit of a structural experiment for furniture.”

The Low Down Table’s apparent simplicity belies a hidden and unique feature: it can be tuned, much like a musical instrument. Jenkins points out that with most types of wood, a solid slab such as he’s used would warp and possibly crack over time and with changes in the atmosphere. While the Low Down is made from a solid plank of western or sugar pine, a wood that has a low moisture content, that helps it remain stable, it will expand and contract...


Float Table, Ana Franco “The students knew from day one that if they were selected, this was not something that was going to be exhibited,” says Jerry Helling, creative director

Float Table, Ana Franco “The students knew from day one that if they were selected, this was not something that was going to be exhibited,” says Jerry Helling, creative directorПодпись: ® The Float Table, made of wood and glass connected by a sliver of metal, was designed by Ana Franco, while a student at the Art Center College of Design, and produced as part of a class sponsored by Bernhardt Design. Credit: Lisa Adams Photography of Bernhardt Design, “but would be produced in the real world for market, and they would have the complete experience as if they had graduated and they were working for a client.”

This idea of reality-dose-as-educational-opportunity started when Helling decided to get Bernhardt more closely connected with those who are on their way to becoming the next generation of professional designers; it grew into a bit of phenomenon for both the students and the company. “I have been wanting to be in­volved in the educational process somehow, some way, for some time,” says Helling. “But projects with companies working with educational institutions are generally about competition, looking at the future, creating an exhibition, or doing one-off work...