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Furniture Design

The Core77 Design Blog

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Posted by Ray  |  30 Oct 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Hot on the heel-plate-attachment-points of Noonee's "Chairless Chair," the team at Mono+Mono has launched the "Sitpack" on Kickstarter. The Copenhagen-based design consultancy has developed what they're calling "the world's most compact, foldable resting device," and they're looking to bring the pocketable monopod to market via a crowdfunding campaign. Designed in keeping with the seven universal design principles, the form factor looks like something made by, say, Beats, but the device itself is actually entirely mechanical: The canister splits laterally into wings (which serve as the seat), revealing a telescoping leg that extends to up to 85cm (33in). We know it's that time of year, but don't try this with your kid's lightsaber toy:

Originally known as "Rest"—hence the references in the video—the "Sitpack" is essentially a further reduced version of portable camp stools or those canes with a built-in tripod-stool (both of which I came across in the USPTO archive, after a commenter tipped me off about the original 'wearable chair'), as they indicate in a tabulated side-by-side comparison on their Kickstarter page. They're available for the discounted price of kr175 DKK (about $30 USD); retail will be in the kr270 DKK ($46 USD) range—not bad, considering that they're looking to manufacture it in Denmark; see more here.

Sitpack-SketchesRenders.jpgProcess sketches & renders

Sitpack-Team.jpgThe Team

Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  30 Oct 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Portland-based Frank Howarth isn't your average ivory-tower paper architect, but a man who actually makes things with his hands—and shows you his design/building process. With a YouTube channel dedicated to "Architecture at a small scale expressed through woodworking and filmmaking," Howarth presents shop-built projects in a clever, entertaining way. I also like the man's flair for practical, attractive designs.

A good case in point is his series on French-cleat-based projects he built around his house. We've all got one of those closets filled with household cleaners and other domestic spillover, and here's how Howarth handled his:

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Posted by Ray  |  24 Oct 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Among other things, the Internet transcends the regional borders of advertising campaigns, which have historically been geo-targeted out of necessity; these days, YouTube affords access to commercials old and new—ironic though it may be that we find ourselves revisiting or discovering ads as content, so too is viralness increasingly a mandate for agencies the world over. We've seen IKEA's regional campaigns before, including BBH Asia Pacific's Apple-spoof 'bookbook' catalog ad for IKEA Singapore; here's their latest work, inspired by The Shining (on the occasion of Halloween):

The transposition of "play" into "pay" may well be the scariest part...

It's very well done, save for the fact that instead of fixing the camera on Danny's body (the Big Wheel is lacking a backrest, as in the source material, but it's close enough), the shot follows his path, which means that he veers to the edge of the frame when cornering—details, people. That said, we'll take any reason to post the classic Steadicam long take:

It would be interesting to see it charted on a map of the IKEA where it was filmed (assuming that they didn't build a faux-showroom set; that would be something else), as in this treatment [exegetical spoiler alert] of the original.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  16 Oct 2014  |  Comments (1)

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Recreational furniture is one of the more unusual subsets of furniture design, but it's apparently one that people will pay good money for, judging by the plethora of flip-top gaming tables on the market. Up above you see Hammacher Schlemmer's Rotating Air Hockey to Billiards Table, a 350-pound behemoth with a built-in blower for the air hockey side. Flip the surface over and you're set up for pocket billiards (though at seven feet in length, you're not exactly in Minnesota Fats' playground).

This competing table at Hayneedle has HS beat by one game, as they've got table tennis (again, truncated at seven feet) on top of the first two games. Literally on top of them; what a difference a piece of MDF makes, huh?

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That lousy giraffe that runs Toys R Us also sells a 3-in-1 gaming table, albeit a tiny one at just four feet in length.

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Posted by Jeri Dansky  |   9 Oct 2014  |  Comments (0)

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While some people are dismissive of those who have problems assembling IKEA furniture, I know plenty of otherwise competent and intelligent end users who struggle with it. Having helped both friends and clients assemble this stuff, amid many curses, I'm delighted that IKEA is coming out with a new line using tool-free connectors. But IKEA is far from alone; many designers have been creating furniture that assembles tool-free, using a variety of mechanisms. And much of that furniture is shelving and other items that help with getting organized.

Smart Furniture has a product line called Smart Shelves, where the interlocking shelving components slide together using pre-cut slots; the units then connect vertically or horizontally with dowels. The system is designed to allow for easy reconfiguration and expansion. When I watched the assembly video, I was pleased to see that a single person could easily put this product together without needing a helper. The components all have a lifetime warranty.

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Legaré has been making desks with no-tool assembly for over 14 years; it now makes shelving units, too. This desk, with its built-in shelving, assembles in two minutes with no tools.

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This is a different Legaré desk, but you can see how it goes together using its patented locking tab/slot system. Legaré notes that they can be assembled and disassembled repeatedly without damage. Another nice feature: There are no small pieces to get misplaced. The desks are made from bamboo plywood sourced from FSC-certified mills.

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Posted by Ray  |   7 Oct 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Seeing as seating and transportation are the proverbial bread and butter of design, the occasional hybridization of two functions in a single form is all but inevitable, manifested in various shapes and sizes. So too can conveyances be reimagined as articles of furniture, as illustrated by these two projects.

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First up, the Randonneur Chair by Two Makers is easily the most interesting piece of cycling-inspired furniture we've seen in a long time. Rather less cheeky than Jeremy Petrus's homage to George Nelson and certainly more elegant than the regrettable 'Fixie Table,' the bespoke piece holds its own as a classy rocking chair even as it unmistakably alludes to the bicycle frame as a design object. The Randonneur Chair is characterized by exposed brazing at the joins, as well as lugged construction to the effect of a proper headtube and seatstay cluster, bolt and all); other features include dual bottle cages and the Brooks handlebar tape to accent the drops. While I personally would be curious to see a more subtle version of the chair sans these details, it works equally well with the overt reference points.

Inspired by classic hand-built racing and touring bicycles manufactured by the master Constructeurs of the 1940s, the Randonneur Chair is handcrafted from Reynolds 631 tubing, hardwood and bicycle saddle leather. Using bicycle geometries and traditional frame-building techniques, it is both a celebration of cycling and of bespoke British craftsmanship.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   3 Oct 2014  |  Comments (1)

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What you see above are the new, no-tools-required connectors Ikea's designers have developed for their new Regissör line of furniture. Rather than using knock-down fasteners, they've created a wooden plug that looks like a cross between a dowel and a honey dipper.

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The way that these "honey-dipper dowels" (not what they're officially called, but better than the "wedge dowel" title other blogs are calling it, which makes no sense) work is that the narrower end is pre-installed at the factory, leaving an exposed male end.

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The female end of the connection, meanwhile, has been plunge-routed into the surface-to-be-adjoined, keyhole-style:

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Because the router bit has the same accordion-like profile of the dowel head, the male end then slides into the routed grooves, maximizing the contact area to create a nice friction fit. You can see this in action in the video below.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   3 Oct 2014  |  Comments (2)

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If you've ever assembled a piece of IKEA furniture, you've undoubtedly seen the two items up above, and you understand how they fit together:

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For the average consumer that doesn't know what they're called, they're named cam lock nuts and cam screws. You'll hear them referred to colloquially as "knock-down fasteners" (and occasionally "Confirmat fasteners," which I believe is incorrect; if enough of you are interested in why, let me know in the comments and I'll pull another entry together). They've been a mainstay of IKEA's flatpack product line for as long as I can remember, although from a design perspective, it seems clear that their benefits are outweighed by their drawbacks.

The meager benefits of cam lock nuts and screws is that they can be driven with a Philips screwdriver, which most consumers have rattling around in a drawer somewhere, and they provide a relatively quick connection method that's low on labor. And on the manufacturing side, they can be used with butt joints, which is by far the simplest and least expensive thing to cut on a production line.

The drawbacks are far greater. The key flaw is that they're designed to be used with particle board, which does not take fasteners well. Because of this it's easy to drive the screw in at a slight angle. The screw is then forced straight when the end user inserts it into the cam lock nut, and this further weakens the point of connection between the screw threads and the mushy particle board fibers. The resultant connection will not withstand shearing forces well, and multiple cam lock nuts and screws are needed along a single edge to form even a barely tolerable connection. Lastly, cam lock nuts are unattractive, and IKEA designers of course take pains to put them on the insides or undersides of surfaces.

IKEA's global influence alone is enough reason for independent manufacturers to keep producing these inferior pieces of hardware. (You can find them everywhere from Amazon to eBay to Home Depot from a variety of manufacturers.) Thankfully though, the designers at IKEA's HQ have been working on a new connection method with several advantages over cam lock nuts. Stay tuned.

Posted by Ray  |   2 Oct 2014  |  Comments (0)

NaihanLi-IAM-GalleryAll.jpgPhotos courtesy of Gallery All unless otherwise noted.

A mover-and-shaker in the Chinese creative scene for a decade now, Naihan Li got her start working for Ai Weiwei upon returning to Beijing after completing her studies at London's Bartlett School of Architecture. After subsequently working with various art and design organizations, she founded her own studio in 2010 and is perhaps best known for her CRATES series. This year sees the debut of the I AM A MONUMENT collection at Gallery ALL in the 751 D.Park, as well as a move from the Red Bricks studio/gallery compound (where she hosted an exhibition in her live/work space last year), around the corner to a converted factory. (Rest assured she's still based in Caochangdi, although she handed off her BJDW curatorial duties to Ben Hughes, who gave us a brief tour of the place last week.)

Some two years in the making, the pieces in I AM A MONUMENT take the form of scale models of various landmarks from the Western world: the UN building, Pentagon, New York Stock Exchange and Edinburgh Palm House, which have been re-imagined as a bookcase, bed, shrine and terrarium, respectively. The four new pieces are exhibited alongside the "Armillary Whisky Bar," which was commissioned by Melbourne's Broached Gallery in 2013. Li's artist statement invokes a critical examination of the relationship between art, architecture and design:

I AM A MONUMENT originated from Naihan's recognition of the Chinese desire for giant art installations in their homes. People want to own things that are monumental. This desire traces back to Chinese traditional paintings, which play with the idea of scale from a subjective point of view and minimize the universe. Chinese artists attempt to zoom in to a large part of the world on a small scale. The I AM A MONUMENT collection shrinks a landmark building 100 times and turns it into a utilitarian furniture piece, allowing collectors to contain something that is extremely large inside a room of their house.

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NaihanLi-IAM-Edinburgh.jpgThe Edinburgh Palm House at the Royal Botanic Gardens

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Posted by Moa Dickmark  |  26 Sep 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Contemporary Hungarian design, what is it? - that was the question roaming around my mind when I headed down to Budapest a little while ago. In order to gain a greater understanding and overview of what's cooking over in Hungary, I met up with Judit Osvárt, the woman responsible for Budapest Design Week, at Nomuri, a newly opened design cafe in the heart of the city.

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First, a very brief history of Budapest Design Week: Once upon a time, in the early 2000s, the Hungarian Property Office felt that it was time for them to introduce the public to the world of design so as to create a greater understanding of what design is, seeing that it can be rather hard to wrap your head around unless you know what it's all about. They were also very keen on helping Hungarian designers understand their rights in the legal system and teach them more about patents and other mysterious formulas.

The first year, you could attend a mere 28 events, but over the years, Budapest Design Week grew and grew in size, peaking on their ten-year anniversary with a total of 350 events including fashion shows, design exhibitions and festivities for days.

In the design sphere, we often hear about countries such as England, Italy, China, The Netherlands and Denmark when it comes to what is hot and up and coming on the design scene. Hungary is not on this list, but things are changing. For the 11th year in a row, they are arranging Budapest Design Week, an event that this year around starts off with the opening of a major exhibition on October and continues with events in various forms until October 10.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  22 Sep 2014  |  Comments (0)

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I keep waiting for a modern-day piece of furniture to top David Roentgen's transforming gaming table, but it ain't gonna happen. The only man who can top Roentgen is Roentgen himself. As evidence, have a look at the Berlin Secretary Cabinet designed and built by Roentgen (possibly with his pops, Abraham) which goes even further than the gaming table. The automatic flip-out easel at the end is just mind-blowing:

Consider that this was all made by hand, prior to the Industrial Revolution.

The cabinet, which was owned by King Frederick William II, is described by the Metropolitan Museum of Art as "One of the finest achievements of European furniture making" and "the most important product from Abraham (1711–1793) and David Roentgen's (1743–1807) workshop."

Posted by Moa Dickmark  |  22 Sep 2014  |  Comments (0)

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The young Danish designer Mikkel Mikkelsen first caught my attention when I saw a series of experiments he had created with wood, aluminum and acrylic/plexi. A dining table with the same honesty as the original experiment captures the lessons learned.

Ever since I first saw the experiment, I've enjoyed following his progress as a designer, and a few months ago, one of his latest endeavors caught my attention once again. This time around, it was due to a duck. I know it sounds a bit odd, but this little character with a metal beak is a remarkable duck, one that you fall in love in a heartbeat, part of a grander book project created by Aviendo Fairytales. Seeing how far Mikkel has come since the first time I saw his work, how true he has been towards himself, his design and the people he come into contact with, I figured it was about time you all got a proper introduction to his work.

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Core77: How did you get into the field of design?

Mikkel Mikkelsen: Before I started in the school of architecture, I was working in construction while I was doing business school. I was working in building high-end private homes in a company where my dad was a constructing architect. So the interest for architecture started there I guess—my dad also had his own studio before this, so drawing houses has always been in my life. It was like it was meant to be.

I think after architecture school, I was looking for a way to keep working on mikkelmikkel because I was, and am not very interested in a 9-to-5 job in one of the big companies. I tried this a couple of times but I always end up feeling stuck behind a computer and very detached from the projects. I think it has something to do with the scale of the projects in the big companies. I have always preferred the smaller scale that relates more directly to the basic needs of human beings.

To me, the interaction with clients are what drives the projects. A new project is always kind of a journey where you get up close and personal with the people you work for, which I find very interesting. Half of the journey is identifying and understanding the needs and challenges in a project before solving them.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  18 Sep 2014  |  Comments (1)

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We previously covered industrial designer Robb Godshaw's work here and here, and now the self-described "interactive artist, tinkerer and designer" has created something blogworthy yet again. Masquerading as a health-promoting piece of work furniture, Godshaw's latest creation is a commentary on our working lives: It's a standing-desk treadmill—except the treadmill has been turned inside out to place the user on the inside. Like a hamster wheel.

Godshaw created it as part of his artist-in-residence term over at Autodesk's Pier 9 fabrication facility, teaming up with a fellow tinkerer going by the handle wrdwise. With assistance from Vanessa Sigurdson, Gabe Patin, Oliver Kreitman, and Bilal Ghalib, the duo designed and built the thing and posted an Instructable on it for like-minded hamsterfolk.

Rise up, sedentary sentients, and unleash that untapped potential within by marching endlessly towards a brilliant future of focused work. Step forward into a world of infinite potential, bounded only by the smooth arcs of a wheel. Step forward into the Hamster Wheel Standing Desk that will usher in a new era of unprecedented productivity.

Here it is in action:

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  12 Sep 2014  |  Comments (1)

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If you've ever passed a park in Chinatown and seen the older folks playing Mahjong, you've undoubtedly seen them manually "shuffle" the tiles between games before rearranging them into fresh rows. This is how they've done it for thousands of years, but in the past few decades, Mahjong tile shuffling and dealing has received a rather awesome upgrade:

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   4 Sep 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Among pet lovers it's a common, if somewhat weird, practice for them to give their animal a Facebook page or Twitter account, as if Spot and Felix had the wherewithal to operate a computer. But Portland, Oregon-based Mike and Megan Wilson, the husband-and-wife team behind CatastrophiCreations, are taking it one step further and claiming their cats can design and build.

One morning we woke up and stumbled into the living room. To our suprise, our new baby kitten had gotten into my tool box and taken apart our couch and rebuilt it into a cat bridge. After that we thought, "Bingo", we'll lock him in a room and start selling all of his creations on Etsy.
After a couple weeks we started feeling bad for the load we were putting on our new cat, so we got another cat to give him a hand and double the amount of orders we can produce. Toys for cats, by cats.

Gag aside, their Indiana Jones Cat Bridge ($150 to $180) has proven to be a hit, and the couple began designing and building more cat-based furniture. Hammocks, ramps, shelves, climbing holes, feeders, and even a Super-Mario-Bros.-inspired "complex":

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Posted by Jeri Dansky  |   4 Sep 2014  |  Comments (2)

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Furniture made from corrugated cardboard has many advantages. It's easy to move; it's not too expensive; it's recyclable. We've written about the products from Our Paper Life, but a number of other companies have entered this market, too.

Those who live in Australia can get the products from Karton; the company doesn't ship outside of the country, though. Karton has a wide range of offerings, including some with storage options—such as this bed, with the under-bed drawers.

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Karton has both bookshelves and chests of drawers. Can cardboard shelves really work for books? The company says, "You will be blown away by the incredible strength of KARTON. Super high-grade corrugated paper board means that KARTON products are often stronger than you need them to be." They're made from a combination of virgin and recycled paper; the virgin paper adds strength.

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Karton products require no tools for assembly; they rely on "a clever system of folds and tabs." The company provides both printed and video assembly instructions.

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And of course, the products can be painted; you can also use water-based polyurethane to add some protection and some waterproofing. (But varnishing the products would probably mean they're no longer recyclable.)

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   3 Sep 2014  |  Comments (1)

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Summer's over, so now we all have to switch from living it to reading about it. When it comes to the picnic tables we won't get to enjoy again until next June, they're often bulky, permanent affairs that just sit there passively. But a host of folks have created more innovative units with a bit of dynamism.

The cake-taker is probably this model, designer unknown, which folds into a bench:

And while we think of this as an outdoor piece of furniture, it does in fact have good indoor utility in a space-tight home, though the design could use some refining:

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Posted by Ray  |  29 Aug 2014  |  Comments (1)

Bonner-WearableChair-1-viaGaryCruce-USPTO.jpgLeft: Courtesy of Gary Cruce; Right: Drawing for patent D249,987

So it looks like the honor of Design Crossover Hit of the Week goes to Noonee's Chairless Chair, and while the mainstream media took to hailing it as a futuristic exoskeletal paramedical breakthrough, it so happens that the basic idea dates back to the late 70's. Upon seeing my post about it earlier this week, eagle-eyed reader Gary Cruce sent a note with a photo from an old exhibition catalog, indicating that the product may well have been invented several decades ago. "I doubt Noonee was aware of this earlier concept, but they may want to know of it as they work to take the product to market," Cruce writes. "The exhibit was at the Kohler Arts Center (yes the toilet company) in 1978, based in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. That show featured many studio furniture pieces including selections from Sam Maloof and Wendell Castle." Along with the image and anecdote, Cruce provided an all-important snapshot of the caption from the catalog; crediting the "Wearable Chair (1977)" to Darcy Robert Bonner Jr., it reads:

The "Wearable Chair" consists of two identical "chairs," one strapped to each of the wearer's legs. Bonner states that "It is important for the 'Wearable Chair' to be adjusted to each user. Just like a piece of clothing, if the chair doesn't fit, it will not feel good. When adjusted correctly, you can comfortably relax with all your weight on the chair.
"With the lower member of the chair strapped to the calf, a spring presses the upper member against the back of the thigh. As the user squats, the released compression bar pushes the leg of the chair to a locked position, thereby supporting the body. When the user rises, the lower member is unlocked and is retracted by a spring to its original position, where it will not interfere with the user's movements."

Curious to learn more, a de rigueur Google query revealed that Darcy Robert Bonner had actually filed a patent for his invention, which inspired this "more-than-you-cared-to-know" history of the wearable chair—a bit of rechairche du patents perdu, if you will—gleaned mostly via the USPTO (though tangential sleuthing reveals that one Darcy R. Bonner now heads up an eponymous architectural practice in Chicago).

Bonner-WearableChair-2.jpgLeft: Uncredited composite image of Darcy Bonner's "Wearable Chair"; Right: Detail of drawing for patent D249,987

The original patent is simply entitled "Wearable Chair," which also happens to describe Noonee's product. Filed in 1977 and granted as D249,987 in October 1978, Bonner's initial design patent is described in Twitter-friendly terms as "the ornamental design for a wearable chair, as shown and described." Although this first iteration briefly resurfaced in the post-Google era in 2008, when the images above made blog rounds, it turns out that Bonner subsequently filed a second patent, US4138156 A, granted in Feburary 1979, which is far more detailed in tenor and scope. Where the former is classified as a "footed," "collapsible or folding" article of furniture, the latter is subject to an entirely different taxonomy of patent-worthiness. US4138156 A is a "device for supporting the weight of a person in a seated position including chairs, seats, and ancillary devices not elsewhere classifiable," specifically a "portable bottom with occupant attacher" (Subclass 4) with "occupant-arising assist" (Digest 10). (In the interest of due diligence, there are 148 patents in the former subclass and 353 in the latter; Noonee's Chairless Chair does not appear to be among them. Fun fact: "Digests" [denoted by DIG followed by a number] are considered secondary subclasses, which are used for indexing purposes only, i.e. as meta tags.)

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  27 Aug 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Don't let the bland name of Scottish start-up Design LED Products fool you. At last year's Lux Live 2013 lighting exhibition, DLP showed off the flexible resin-based LED tile you see above, considered to be a potential game-changer in lighting design. The tiles are flexible, modular, inexpensive, highly efficient (roughly 90%), can emit light on one or both sides, and "can be produced in any shape or size up to 1m, offering up to 20,000 lumen per square meter," according to the press release. They also do not require external "thermal management," i.e. bulky heat sinks.

Well, someone noticed, and that someone was IKEA. Today it was reported that Ikea's GreenTech venture capital division plunked down an undisclosed sum to invest in the company, giving them access to the light tiles for their presumed inclusion in future product designs. "The tiles are unique as they are extremely thin, flexible and low cost and can be seamlessly joined together in exciting new designs," IKEA said in a statement. "The partnership is a clear strategic fit for IKEA and our goal to make living sustainably affordable and attractive for millions of people."

While you can still buy halogens and CFLs at IKEA today, by the way, the company is reportedly planning to switch exclusively to LEDs by September of 2015.

Anyone want to take a guess at what they'll be designing with these? Kitchen wall cabinets with these tiles on the undersides seem like the obvious choice, but those would be flat; I'm most curious to see how they'd exploit the curvability of the technology.

Posted by erika rae  |  14 Aug 2014  |  Comments (0)

Nikolo-UponTea.jpgPhotos by Akseli Valmunen

As much as that teapot design above might suggest otherwise, I promise you won't get in trouble for reading this at work. That's right, I said teapot (c'mon—don't act like you didn't see those tea leaves on the side). Sure, it might resemble some sort of illicit or semi-erotic paraphernalia, but this tabletop brewer is really just a minimalist approach to steeping your favorite leaf. Finnish designer Nikolo Kerimov takes a note from nature in regards to the pot's process, specifically the motion of rain falling over a mountain top. I'll leave that to your own interpretation.

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As any warm drink enthusiast recognizes, brewing a cup of coffee or tea is just as much a visual experience as it is a ritual. Following suit of the many well-designed beverage makers out there, "Upon" is pretty eye-catching when it comes to form and would look mighty nice nestled next to a lineup of well-designed tea canisters. NSFW doppelgangers aside, the combination of glass, ceramic and cork is the detail that really won me over. Way to hit us with the houseware trifecta.

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Also notable is Kerimov's "Shelfie" design. Much like the "Pop-Up Linen" wardrobe we covered a while back, this storage unit can be flat-packed down into a convenient carrying capsule.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  13 Aug 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Boeing may have transformed their derailed 737s into scrap-metal cubes, but if that accident had happened closer to California, perhaps the outcome might have been different. We last looked in on MotoArt, the El-Segundo-based company that turns old airplanes into furniture, way back in '09; since then the company's success has been explosive, if their greatly-expanded product line, six-language website and multiple showrooms both in the 'States and overseas is any indication.

While they still crank out the reception desks and couches that initially caught our eye, a recent check-in reveals a lineup well beyond what they were doing five years ago. Check out this sink made from the front landing gear door off of a Boeing KC-97 Stratotanker:

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For your friends that always bail out of the bar early, here's an ejector seat barstool pulled out of an F-4 Phantom:

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  12 Aug 2014  |  Comments (3)

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David Yamnitsky and Isabella Tromba are grad students at MIT, with degrees and degrees-to-be in the unchallenging, trifling fields of Cryptography, Math, Electrical Engineering, Computer Science and Computer Security--or as we ID'ers refer to these fields collectively, Meh.

The duo were seeking to purchase standing desks for themselves, but balked at the going rates. They then disrespectfully decided to design their own, despite being too lazy to apply to a four-year design program. With access to a CNC router, and under the assumption that their math and computer skills would enable them to calculate a balance between light weight and structural support, the pair produced what they're calling the Press Fit Standing Desk, which sells for less than $200.

In an effort to poison our foreign relations, the duo opted not to use formaldehyde-based plywood from overseas, but instead located a local supplier of 100%-formaldehyde-free maple plywood. Their cynical choice to design something fastener-free is an obvious attempt to undermine the hardware industry. And in what amounts to an attack on the printing and paper industries, Yamnitsky and Tromba opted not to include assembly instructions with their design, leaving befuddled consumers that don't have degrees in Rocket Science to try to puzzle out how this thing could possibly come together.

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Placed on Kickstarter, the Press Fit Standing Desk hit its $10,000 funding target in a matter of days, probably because confused consumers were trying to fund a different project and don't understand how the website works. Anyways, at press time, the Press Fit hadn't even quadrupled it, with $37,000 in funding and 13 days left to pledge, indicating that the confusion is growing.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   8 Aug 2014  |  Comments (0)

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David Roentgen's transforming gaming table is the most amazing piece of furniture I've ever seen. It's also from the 18th Century. But here in the 21st, a company called Geek Chic is making modern-day gaming tables. Their stuff is beautiful, and as the company's name suggests, the products are aimed at the Dungeons-and-Dragons roleplaying game crowd.

Their top-of-the-line model is called the Sultan, and no, it ain't a table for eating on. The center surface is what the company calls the Game Vault, where the Gamemaster lays out the unspoilt fantasyland devoid of your landlord, boss, spouse and parents.

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The sides feature integrated flip-out trays and drawers within, as well as little pull-out shelves to hold your dice and/or a cup of magic potion.

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Posted by Ray  |   6 Aug 2014  |  Comments (0)

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We've seen plenty of furniture with secret features, but none quite like Sebastian Errazuriz's "Explosion Cabinet." Instead of the usual hidden compartments, the Brooklyn-based artist and designer opts for a latent form as opposed to a discreet function. As with past projects such as the spiny shelf and articulating armoire, the new cabinet has a lot of moving parts.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   5 Aug 2014  |  Comments (4)

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Some people love guns, some people hate 'em. But the fact is that lots of Americans have them, and they need a place to store them. And the design of gun storage furniture has two main requirements seemingly at odds with each other: Gun owners want their firearms readily accessible, yet they don't want them out in the open where children or burglars can get to them.

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The current solution is to create furniture with hideaway compartments (a sub-genre we looked briefly at here), as New Jersey Concealment Furniture does. And if web traffic is any indication (140,000-plus Facebook likes, 30,000 website hits last Saturday alone), business is booming for the Jersey-based company. Founder Dan Ingram designs and builds coat racks, end tables, nightstands, coffee tables, wall shelves and even clocks that secretively stow the end-user's firearm of choice.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  29 Jul 2014  |  Comments (2)

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Vikings loved to brawl, with both their enemies and with each other. Viking sagas are filled with tales of even longstanding friends happy to settle disagreements with steel. But as they piled onto their longships to go pillaging, their boarding process was a good deal more civilized than the melee that is modern air travel. For one thing, their storage was one-to-one; when 30 Vikings got onto a ship, there were 30 places to store things.

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That's because they carried their seating on board with them, and their seating doubled as their storage. Prior to boarding, the decks of a ship were bare. Each Viking plunked his chest down at his own rowing position.

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Enough Viking chests have been found, and replicas made, that we can take a look at their design. It's both intelligent and purposeful. The first thing you notice is that the tops were rounded to shed water, and perhaps to provide a modicum of comfort.

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