What do you do if you come across a great piece of furniture when traveling? What do you do if the piece of furniture can't be brought home on an airplane?
Design Soil is a group project formed within the design department of Kobe Design University, which aims to explore experimental themes in the design educational context today. The concept for the works they exhibited at Design Tide Tokyo revolve around is that of a "souvenir."
The idea is that the reduction of distribution costs is one of the most important matters to be considered in the furniture industry today. Along with finding ways to reduce package size, the practice of assembling furniture at home has become more common. With "Souvenir," they have attempted to design furniture that could be dismantled and stored in a package within the hand-luggage size limit allowed by major airlines.
Designer: Akinori Tagashira
Product name: Corker
Product type: stool
Size: w.380 x d.390 x h.360
Material: cork, birch
Akinori Tagashira took on the challenge of creating a comfortable stool from soft and warm, natural materials. Cork not only has soft and warm properties, it also has a natural elasticity that Tagashira applied towards his design.
When disassembled, the piece consists of three legs, a ring and the cork core. The total weight of the pieces is around 5kg, well within the 8kg~10kg limit of carry-on baggage allowance of airlines. Indentations on each leg allow them to hook onto the ring, and then fixed once pressure from the core top is applied. Thanks to the natural elasticity of the cork, the elements become more tightly attached when a load is applied, and thus the act of sitting down itself becomes a design element as well.
The cork and birch are complementary materials, imparting an earthy, organic aesthetic to Tagashira's design. The cork was custom molded by a cork maker, and although the ring and legs were cut with a machine, the grooves for mounting the legs on the ring were cut by hand. (See also: designer Daniel Michalik on cork, Part 1 & 2, and the "How Cork Is Made" photo gallery.)
More on Nobu Miake's "CATHEDRAL" (above) after the jump...
Designer: Nobu Miake
Product name: CATHEDRAL
Product type: sofa table
Size: w.400 x d.400 x h.400
Material: Beech & Glass
A rather elegant piece at the show is Nobu Miake's CATHEDRAL sofa/side table. "CATHEDRAL" is a low table inspired by Gothic architecture, applying distinct pointed arches and a rib vault structure. The table is composed of molded plywood legs, metal fittings and a glass sheet surface. The table is quite sturdy, as the rib vault structure redirects weight to the center to give the table stability and strength.
Designer: Hiroyuki Ikeuchi
Product name: PROP
Product type: shelf
Size: w.520 x d.270 x h.1,400
The next piece from the Design Soil set is surprisingly compact at first, and could certainly fit into a carry-on briefcase. The design uses a series of stub-mortise and tenon joints to interconnect the bars; for added stability, there is a through-mortise joint for the bars to snugly pass through the shelves at the correct angle, and to provide a triangular support for each shelf. This way, the weight of each load on the shelves is concentrated on the joint area, and thus further increases the stability of the unit.
Although having a casual silhouette when viewed straight on, The 40° bars add a an exciting visual element to the design from various viewpoints. Despite appearing like the shelves might be wavering when walking around the piece, the sturdiness of the joints and the triangular joint structure provide for a very sturdy shelf.