2002 Annual Design Review Furniture Design Distinction

A3 OFFICE FURNITURE SYSTEM

Setting out to create the office environment of the future, New York-based Asymptote developed A3, a modular, reconfigurable system that responds to office workers’ behavioral, technical and architectural needs. Designers took cues from sports apparel and sports gear to create a system that fits with the body, and used semi-transparent screens to help achieve a balance of openness, lightness and privacy. Deam noted that the incorporation of curvilinear geometry questionably allows office planners and designers to create alcoves, breakout spaces, impromptu gathering spots and meeting areas. Plus, the use of fewer materials overall and recycled materials is a nod to the environment. The jurors felt that, contrary to Knoll’s objective for the system, A3 doesn’t respond to office workers’ behavioral, technical and architectural needs. Deam commented that A3 “pushes the boundaries of psychological versus physical privacy,” but added that ultimately, the workstations are just “billboards broadcasting how cool and hip the firm wants to be.”

CLIENT Knoll, New York
DESIGN Asymptote, New York: Hani Rashid and Lise Anne Couture, principals; Noboru Ota and Jose Salinas, project team; Knoll A3 Project Team: Andrew Cogan, CEO; Karen Stone, design director; Douglas Reuter, marketing director; Knoll Product Development Team, East Greenville, Pa.
MATERIALS|FABRICATION injection-molded plastic, bent steel tubing, cut and routed HDF
HARDWARE|SOFTWARE Alias|Wavefront Studio

A3 Office Furniture    A3 Office Furniture

NIMBUS/IMAGO OZONE

Two surface options—Imago, a lightweight, transparent, hard-surface building material, and Nimbus, a billowy, puckered window fabric—combine to create Imago Ozone. Although it looks like glass, Imago can be fabricated using drills and saws and can be bent or formed under moderate heat to create soft curves or hard angles. Nimbus was developed using a technology from the apparel industry, which prevents the polka dots from shrinking during the finishing process, keeps them lighter and flatter than the surrounding material and creates a puckered effect. Interior applications for both materials include panels and screens, wallcoverings, tabletops, marker boards, window treatments and shelving. Forbes lauded the Ozone’s attempt to go beyond “skin coating.” He noted, “It’s taking 2D materials and using them in a structural way.”

CLIENT KnollTextiles Inc., New York
DESIGN Suzanne Tick Inc., New York: Suzanne Tick, president
MATERIALS|FABRICATION fabric (Nimbus) encapsulated in an engineered resin (Imago) and stamped with a smooth finish

Nimbus/Image Ozone    Nimbus/Image Ozone

LIQUID LIGHTS

Liquid Lights was born of designer Larissa Sand’s desire to use liquid as a filter for light. The fixture’s Pyrex glass structure creates a double-wall cylinder that holds liquid, which, in turn, acts as a color filter for the light source. A stainless-steel cable and refined, machined, mechanical connections add to the light, airy feel and make the liquid appear to be suspended in space. Forbes noted that the construction gives it an “out-of-the-laboratory” feel, while the shape makes it seem more seductive. Deam added, “Using liquid and oil as a diffuser is so much more sensual than adding colored pieces of plastic.”

CLIENT 100watt Network, New York
DESIGN South Park Fabricators, San Francisco: Larissa Sand, principal
MATERIALS|FABRICATION liquid pendants made of double-wall Pyrex vessel; glass cylinder holds water-soluble dye and mineral oil; stainless cable suspension held together with machine-finished aluminum components
HARDWARE|SOFTWARE Macintosh G4, PowerCADD, VectorWorks

Photocredit: Cesar Rubio

Liquid Lights    Liquid Lights

IQ LOCKER

Although jurors loved the IQ Locker for many reasons—color, function and aesthetics—the overall strength was that “it brings quality design to a completely neglected area,” Deam explained. Siemens commissioned Berlin London to create an upscale locker for clubs, hotels and gyms. IQ features doors that slide into cabinets (freeing up space); a Smart Card that combines access control, club membership card, locker key and “money” in a coin-sized chip; and a sleek look that complements the well-appointed interiors of high-end clubs and gyms. The facade is available in colored, laminated glass; anodized aluminum; wood veneer; or with a powder-coated finish.

CLIENT Siemens, Manchester, England
DESIGN Berlin London, London
MATERIALS|FABRICATION aluminum extrusions, laminated glass, solid laminates for cabinets
HARDWARE|SOFTWARE PC, Macintosh, Ashlar-Vellum CAD, Microstation

IQ Locker    IQ Locker

MARY PENDANT

Described by Deam as “a very satisfying meal,” the Mary Pendant comprises hand-cut and polished hand-blown glass suspended from the ceiling by a stainless-steel aircraft cable. The 4-inch-tall light fixture houses a dimmable electronic transformer and can hang up to 6 feet from the ceiling. The hourglass-shaped housing comes in wheat, steel, aqua and clear versions. Judges commented on its sophisticated engineering and relaxed, playful design. Deam added that the pendant “has staying power—it’s not going to be trendy.”

CLIENT|DESIGN Resolute, Seattle: Douglas Varey, principal; Luca Rattazzi, glass development; Max Moseley, hardware development
MATERIALS|FABRICATION hand-blown glass, hand-cut and polished; CNC screw machine, laser cutter, spring former
HARDWARE|SOFTWARE pen and paper

Mary Pendant

DNA FURNITURE SYSTEM

A joint venture between Teknion Corp. and Pasadena, Calif.-based Round Three, DNA sought to create a new type of office-furniture company, one that makes use of the Internet to build a system of customizable, configurable components online. The result is the DNA Furniture System, which includes storage boxes, work surfaces and structural elements that can be combined to create durable, space-saving, affordable workstations or display systems. An online customization engine, the DNA builder, facilitates mass customization of office furniture to ensure swift creation of personalized workstations. The online DNA Assistant allows purchasers to set parameters and engage in a virtual design process to custom-build a well-suited office system. Forbes noted, “The details have been thought through in terms of mobility.” Deam liked that DNA was “not obsessed with image-based concerns, but still stylish.”

CLIENT|DESIGN DNA, Pasadena, Calif.: Richard Holbrook, principal designer/CEO; Darren Mark, vice president, product development; Jeff Bentzler, Filiberto Betancourt, Scott Brown and Brad Cracchiola, designers
MATERIALS|FABRICATION folded, extruded and die-cast aluminum (boxes, rails, hardware); injection-molded polycarbonate (storage box tops and doors, shelves); RTF wrapped MDF (work surfaces)
HARDWARE|SOFTWARE Alias|Wavefront Studio, ProEngineer

Photocredit: Jeremy Samuelson

DNA Furntiure System    DNA Furntiure System

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