Posts Tagged ‘furniture design’

Konstantin Grcic at the AIC

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

Picture 5

This winter, the Art Institute of Chicago presents German designer Konstantin Grcic‘s first US solo show. Grcic has made a career of subverting and reinterpreting familiar social and cultural references in such a way as to make them strangely, fascinatingly, unfamiliar. His minimalistic work sharpens the senses, making us question common objects we so often take for granted, and how they define the spaces in which we move. Chairs, desks, lamps, kitchen equipment, you name it: all just different enough to raise our antennae, but still recognizably approachable.

I had the opportunity to preview the exhibit for Clear Magazine‘s December issue, and the full story is available by clicking here.

Bocci’s Pleated Bench

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009
Bocci's 25 Bench, designed by Omer Arbel, photo by Cory Dawson

Bocci's 25.2 Bench, designed by Omer Arbel, photo by Cory Dawson

Bocci‘s 25.2 Bench marks a new leaf for the young, Vancouver-based contemporary design and manufacturing house. Previously known primarily for large chandelier installations and custom fabrications, this new direction is a welcome addition.

Designed by Omer Arbel, the upholstered 25.2 Bench explores material qualities and folding and pleating techniques. Conventional upholstery generally relies on foam encased in fabric to provide comfort. Arbel’s bench eliminates foam from the equation, compensating with a vast excess of fabric, folded and pleated to create a comfortable seat and back. The goal is that over time, the randomly folded pleats will shift to conform to the human body, creating interesting and organic patterns.

For more information on Bocci and the 25 Bench, check out www.bocci.ca

Design for a Living World at the Cooper-Hewitt: Not to be Missed

Friday, July 31st, 2009

Ezri Tarazi's installation of bamboo totems moves the dense landscape of China’s bamboo forests indoors, creating a domestic forest that supports a range of living arrangements. Photo: Udi Dagan

Ezri Tarazi's installation of bamboo totems moves the dense landscape of China’s bamboo forests indoors, creating a domestic forest that supports a range of living arrangements. Photo: Udi Dagan


Round sections of bamboo hang from a metal structure to create a chair. Each section is suspended from a metal rod that allows the rings to turn.

Round sections of bamboo hang from a metal structure to create a chair. Each section is suspended from a metal rod that allows the rings to turn.


Using FSC-certified plywood from Bolivia, Abbott Miller designed a chair whose components can be shipped flat and dry-assembled with a rubber mallet.  Photo: Jay Zukerkorn

Using FSC-certified plywood from Bolivia, Abbott Miller designed a chair whose components can be shipped flat and dry-assembled with a rubber mallet. Photo: Jay Zukerkorn


The chair design highlights the beauty of Bolivian wood, while also yielding three chairs per sheet of plywood, with a minimal amount of waste. Photo: Jay Zukerkorn

The chair design highlights the beauty of Bolivian wood, while also yielding three chairs per sheet of plywood, with a minimal amount of waste. Photo: Jay Zukerkorn


New York fashion designer Issac Mizrahi during a fitting session. Mizrahi used salmon leather to create an ensemble that includes a dress, jacket and shoes. Photo: Mackenzie Stroh

New York fashion designer Issac Mizrahi during a fitting session. Mizrahi used salmon leather to create an ensemble that includes a dress, jacket and shoes. Photo: Mackenzie Stroh


Yves Béhar meets with indigenous women who run an organic chocolate cooperative in Costa Rica. Photo: Serge Beaulieu

Yves Béhar meets with indigenous women who run an organic chocolate cooperative in Costa Rica. Photo: Serge Beaulieu


Béhar’s final design calls for stainless steel and sustainably-harvested Costa Rican hardwood. His chocolate shaving tool is designed to rest on the lip of a mug and resemble a twig. Photo: Dan Whipps

Béhar’s final design calls for stainless steel and sustainably-harvested Costa Rican hardwood. His chocolate shaving tool is designed to rest on the lip of a mug and resemble a twig. Photo: Dan Whipps

Not to be missed: Design for a Living World at the Cooper-Hewitt, organized by The Nature Conservancy, through January 2010.

Ten leading designers have been commissioned to develop new uses for sustainably grown and harvested materials in order to tell a unique story about the life-cycle of materials and the power of conservation and design. Projects include:
– Swedish industrial designer Yves Béhar’s chocolate shaving tool, designed to rest on the lip of a mug and resemble a twig, to benefit a Costa Rican women’s organic chocolate cooperative.
– Abbott Miller’s Bolivian wood chair design, which yields three chairs per sheet of plywood, with a minimal amount of waste.
– Stephen Burks Australian raspberry jamwood piece that allows for easy collection and processing of plant-based materials for use in the skincare line. He also created a complementary suite of jamwood containers to hold the cosmetics.
– fashion designer Issac Mizrahi’s unexpected Alaskan salmon leather-made dress, jacket and shoes.

The designers’ prototypes, drawings and finished products are all on display, along with video revealing their work behind-the-scenes. Design for a Living World is co-curated by graphic designer Abbott Miller and Ellen Lupton, curator of contemporary design at Cooper-Hewitt. This is the debut venue in a national tour of the exhibition, organized by The Nature Conservancy.

The full list of featured designers and locales includes:

Yves Behar/Costa Rica; Stephen Burks/Australia; Hella Jongerius/Mexico; Maya Lin/Maine; Christien Meindertsma/Idaho; Isaac Mizrahi/Alaska; Abbott Miller/Bolivia; Ted Muehling/Micronesia; Kate Spade/Bolivia; and Ezri Tarazi/China.

Images courtesy of Cooper-Hewitt.