2002 Annual Design Review Furniture Best of Category

Posted inID Mag


All tables have legs, but how often do they sprout shoulders and a swiveling head? It was the dual functionality of the Relax bedside table/lamp, created by Defne Koz for Milan-based Fontana Arte, that earned accolades from jurors. “It has a naive quality that’s enjoyable,” Deam noted of the whimsical, almost humanoid form.

And yet the monolithic design demonstrates a succinct emotional intelligence that Deam called “poetic.” Dare a product designed for the bedroom—that most sacrosanct of places—be anything less? Relax simplifies the evening hours by allowing users to remove the light source from the tabletop and place it overhead. It’s a slight modicum of sanity in an otherwise cluttered world, but a soothing one nonetheless.

“The design has a character that’s both modern and soulful,” noted Forbes, alluding to the moody quality of the lamp’s diffused halogen lighting. Deam added, “It’s a product that feels sincere. It’s refreshing that it doesn’t ‘bust a move’ with any slick detailing, for which I’m thankful. The way it seems to promote a humane way of life just puts a smile on my face.”

TO WHAT EXTENT DID THE HABITAT FOR RELAX (THE BEDROOM) INFORM ITS DESIGN? I see the Relax lamp as a kind of calm invention. It’s a simple shape that fits into an environment where we don’t want anything too busy. And yet it’s not banal. In the initial sketches, I thought about the kind of presence the design would have in relation to the user. The name almost preceded the design itself.

HOW DOES THIS INNOVATION BREAK TRADITION? It changes the way we view and use furniture. Combining a functional piece like a lamp with furniture is always difficult. Relax avoids the temptation to show off its technology; the lamp element is totally hidden. I think of it as more of a bedside table with an aura of light than a light fixture that’s integrated into a piece of furniture.

WHAT AESTHETIC AND MANUFACTURING ADVANTAGES WERE GLEANED FROM FABRICATING THE LIGHTING COMPONENT OUT OF PHENOLIC RESIN? Phenolic resins are not often used in furniture, but they fit well with our specs, given their electric insulation and resistance to heat (both fireproofing requirements). We experimented with finishes and were able to obtain, with the same structural pieces, both a lacquered color and a wood veneer surface.

CLIENT Fontana Arte Spa, Milan, Italy: Carlo Guglielmi DESIGN Defne Koz Design Studio, Milan, Italy: Defne Koz, principal; Gimena Moya Tonelli, designer MATERIALS|FABRICATION phenolic (top and shoulder), metal frame, wood laminateHARDWARE|SOFTWARE Macintosh, Macromedia Freehand, Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Windows, AutoCAD

Relax lamp
Relax lamp

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