Here's an interesting piece of furniture: Michael Cooper's Pack Horse chair not only features a built-in bookshelf, but it also has straps to hold down a blanket and side compartments to keep various objects in place. Even though books are pictured, I'm already contemplating which snacks I could fit around the sides. Bags of chips seem most viable, but I am also open to candy and cookies.
You can even hide more snacks—maybe the ones you're more ashamed to be eating—in a hidden compartment under the seat. Or you could use it for more practical items like sketching tools.
Cooper is a recent Building Crafts College grad where he studied Fine Woodwork and Furniture Making for two years, but before that, he worked in journalism for around 15 years. He just showed his debut furniture collection, Analogue Living, at New Designers in London a few weeks ago. Cooper focuses on designing "active" furniture that gently encourages analogue activities. He describes his work as, "Furniture and objects that can more subtly than directly encourage people to spend time away from their screens and always on lifestyles."
For the Pack Horse's materials, Cooper used European oak, reclaimed birch plywood from the V&A Museum, Merino wool felt and cotton rope.
"I think furniture has the opportunity to play a meaningful role in redressing the balance between positive analogue behaviors and the constraints imposed by our digital heads-down behavior though suggestive and charming aesthetics and textural cues."
I think I'm so focused on snacks here because of the last time I waited in line for an extended amount of time. I left my apartment that morning with a tiny kid's IKEA chair jammed inside a zip-up IKEA bag that I transformed into a backpack. This "backpack" also contained snacks and water to last me the duration of my experience.
Everyone in line gave me funny looks until about three hours in when their hunger began taking over and their legs weakened. My snacks were eventually stolen. With the Pack Horse chair, I could have simply stored inferior snacks in the outside compartments as a trap—when people inevitably stole those snacks, the joke would be on them since within the secret compartment would be a stash of carefully curated, more superior snacks. If the Pack Horse chair were somehow easily transportable and included a cup holder, it would have been the ideal upgrade to my makeshift setup. Hindsight is 20/20.
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By "interesting" I take it you're insinuating its hideous. Nothing about the aesthetics of this piece is charming, It's pedestrian, in every way. But wait, there's a rolled-up rug strapped to the back,
ooooohhh!. What a terrible pairing of timber, its screams early years commercial school furniture. Perhaps this chap woulb be better-suited to being a journo and concocting pretentious babble.
Hi Aaron. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I get the impression it wasn't quite your cup of tea. Naturally, it hurts a little to read what you wrote, but you're clearly passionate about design and I respect that. Likewise, I do appreciate and take onboard all constructive feedback, and understand that as designers our creations have the ability to delight some people and fill others with despair. And with that in mind, I feel very fortunate to have received lots of positive feedback about my chair at New Designers and elsewhere, but do respect that you didn't like it and that some others may not either. But that's ok, and it should be that way if we're to continute to push, explore and develop designs that challenge our broader expectations in terms of function as well as form.
This chair was part of my very first collection and was the product of a couple of months of intense research, design, prototyping and making, and I loved every moment of the process, and I look forward to designing and making many more pieces over the decades to come - who knows, maybe you'll see some of those pieces and they'll resonate with you ;) I'd be interested to see if my other pieces in the collection on my site inspire a similar or perhaps completely different reaction.
I'm sure you'd agree that as designers, individuals, and creative beings we shouldn't be defined by, or crippled by criticism, but instead fuelled by a positive curiosity and enthusiasm to make objects that can make the spaces we inhabit more engaging, fulfilling and aesthetically charming. It's a journey for sure, but one I'm optimistic and excited to be starting out on. It's not always (or ever, perhaps) going to be plain sailing.
Again, thanks for taking the time and consideration to write your comment, and take care.
Hey Aaron, thanks for the feedback! With this chair, I find the concept is more intriguing than the design itself. I'd love to see what you've been working on sometime, sounds like you must be a great furniture designer.
The concept of hiding snacks?
I absolutely love multi-functional furniture, so for me its a thumbs up, may need to spice up on the design a little but over all its a great concept and idea! Maybe best for patios or veranda.