Karen D. Singh, Mark McMenamin, and Elizabeth Wine -- Interior Design, 5/1/2008 12:00:00 AM
With Konstantin Grcic's Myto cantilevered stacking chair by Plank Collezioni through ICF, there's much more than meets the eye. That's thanks to a miracle material that the designer found at the BASF factory in Germany and perfected with the help of the company's chemists. A plastic, Ultradur High Speed is resistant to high temperatures, ultraviolet rays, and most chemicals in addition to being strong, flexible, lightweight, and fully recyclable. It comes in light gray, gray, azure, black, traffic red, pure orange, and two other colors. 800-237-1625; icfsource.com. circle 414
Thesis in 3-D
What's the future for furniture after it's designed? For the luckiest, manufacturing and marketing. Giving students a rare taste of that continuum is the calling of Jerry Helling, creative director for Bernhardt Design, and David Mocarski, chairman of the environmental-design department at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. For three years, Helling and Mocarski have team-taught an interdisciplinary course that takes concepts from classroom to production line.
After undergoing the same critiques and revisions that any designer withstands before a piece hits the marketplace, five undergraduate students from the class of 2008 were taken to the manufacturer's North Carolina headquarters to oversee prototyping and production. The final samples debut officially as Studio III at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York. Then they travel to NeoCon in Chicago.
Complex joinery showcases the walnut grain of the hand-carved Loft lounge chair by Shelly Shelly. Chase Wills used radiused corners to soften the angularity of the Linc cocktail table, an open-sided box available in any of the company's 25 standard finishes. The propellers of wind turbines inspired the polished-aluminum base of Revue, Jang won Yoon's table offered with a top of plastic lamimate or maple, cherry, walnut, or anigre veneer. Richard Overcash's leather-upholstered swivel chair, Tour, sits on a base of polished stainless steel. And Jonathan Rowell's seemingly weightless stool, Ascent, has a brushed-nickel frame and a maple seat fitted with a white leather-covered cushion. 828-758-9811; bernhardtdesign.com. circle 415
All About Yves
From One Laptop Per Child for underprivileged kids to updated Birkenstocks for urban earth mothers, Yves Béhar always has a trick up his sleeve. That's particularly true this spring, with the launch of his C collection for HBF. Taking a breather between Milan's Salone Internazionale del Mobile and a project in the Costa Rican rain forest, the Fuse project founder explains his collection's name: "The C stands for collaboration. Visually, though, a C represents a curve. A single arc becomes the signature."
Frames for the chairs incorporate poplar plywood, Russian birch, and Scientific Certification Systems–approved GreenBlend recycled wood, and cushions are soy-based foam. (They can be covered in any HFB Textiles fabric or COM.) But aside from similarities in materials and forms, the 21 pieces of lounge and reception furniture spark tension between slim and substantial. "I played with the oversize thickness of the lounge seating while keeping that same curve thin on the side chairs and ultrathin on the tables," Béhar says.
In addition, C furthers his vision of an inspiration-friendly office. "People don't need the formality of a traditional environment. We all know it's counterproductive," he says. "These designs help people collaborate and integrate contemporary work tools, like the laptop." Just had to slip that one in, didn't he? 828-328-2064; hbf.com. circle 416
She zooms around New York in a 1967 Mustang convertible. And that's just the initial indication that Suzanne Tick is a woman with a past. More to the point, she's looking back on it. "Our work is rooted in the social and design revolutions of the '60's. Those were my informative years," the textile aficionada says. Designing a dozen collections for a quartet of companies, she relied on a single self-invented muse, Revolution Reality, and her diverse attributes. Tick reels them off: "Supergraphics, transparency, the diffusion of light, tectonic structures, modular thinking, contemplative fields, the hand, the machine."
The rebellion begins at Knoll, as KnollTextiles introduces six of her designs in polyester: Louver and Escala drapery fabrics, the latter described as a "nod to handmade Bohemian open-weaves"; Amplify and Bandwidth, complementary panel fabrics in a spider weave; multicolored Mantilla wall coverings, which mimic grass cloth; and Domus, a basic twill-weave wall covering combined with three wefts. Then there's carpet. For the Bloomsburg Carpet Industries brand Tuva Looms, which she founded, she designed Life Line, a cut-loop nylon velvet broadloom meant to resemble zebrawood. And her Manufactured Landscapes collection of modular carpet for Tandus exhibits the influence, she says, of the "unsettling yet beautiful" photography of Edward Burtynsky. But the collaboration that's most unusual for her is the one with Skyline Design. For the company's A Collection in Whites, she translated her signature weaves into 10 patterns of etched glass, including Kinetic Lines.
Knoll, 215-679-7991; knoll.com. circle 417 Bloomsburg Carpet Industries, 212-688-7447; bloomsburgcarpet.com. circle 418 Tandus, 800-248-2878; tandus.com. circle 419 Skyline Design, 888-278-4660; skydesign.com. circle 420
Striving for Excellence
Through nearly four decades of invention and recognition, Giancarlo Piretti has banked on flexibility. Seriously. The Plia, his 1969 acrylic folding chair for Castelli, launched his design odyssey. "Since the early Vertebra and Dorsal chairs for Castelli and Vitra in the 1970's and 1980's," he adds, "I've designed several complex mechanisms, for instance backrests that change their angle dynamically according to the natural movement of the body." Today, he has a new vehicle for his passion: simple polypropylene.
History meets technology when KI unveils apparatus-free Strive. The polypropylene in the seating is recyclable, and it's available in a total of six styles based on arm, tablet, color, and upholstery options. Offering flexibility of a more literal kind, slots in the back are for manipulation, not decoration. "To make a curved sheet flex, one needs to make cuts in it," he explains. "The geometry is also designed to stop to the flexing naturally." His inspiration was origami. "I have always been captivated by the idea of a common material like paper creating inconceivable objects with unexpected shapes," he says. "I like thinking I've designed something similar." It seems that the intersection of complexity and simplicity is comfort. 800-424-2432; ki.com. circle 421
The Legend Lives
Walking in the supremely stylish shoes of Florence Knoll would seem a daunting task—as is the job of hiring someone fit to wear them. A lengthy search led Knoll senior vice president and chief marketing officer David Schutte to Dorothy Cosonas, a soft-spoken yet energetic woman with a reputation for combining clear color with clean patterns and textures. Working to the Danish-inspired specs of Unika Vaev for 21 years, Cosonas retrained her eye for every collection while maintaining consistent commercial viability.
Now KnollTextiles's creative director, Cosonas is launching Knoll Luxe, a brand aimed at both corporate and residential markets. The first 10 patterns, offered in a total of 71 colorways, channel this company's heritage of being long on texture and big on scale. Also inspired by fashion, the fabrics are alive with references that range from the traditional tunic to the contemporary catwalk.
Jaipur, a cotton-polyester that references an archetypal Indian men's garment, features hand-embroidered looping. Garden City, its exploding circles based on the pattern of an Oscar de la Renta gown, is constructed of two layers of cotton, woven on the same loom and tethered at strategic points. Resembling a classic Knoll nubby weave, North Island is made of wool and nylon. Cotton-nylon Lyon seems simple but is actually a complex little stripe, woven in France with 10 warp colors used to create each of seven colorways. And Brugge, a cotton-acrylic blend chenille, offers a slimmed-down argyle pattern in seven colorways.
All fabrics in the collection pass standard Association for Contract Textiles tests and are Greenguard-certified. 866-565-5858; knoll-luxe.com. circle 422
The Gang's All Here
Brayton International, Metro, and Vecta, all divisions of Steelcase, have now coalesced as. . .Coalesse. The new entity will absorb all the furnishings previously manufactured by its three constituent parts. But to prove that the move means more than just remerchandising, Coalesse also assembled a famed foursome to commemorate the inauguration with a group of original designs.
Usually reticent about his inspirations, Jean-Marie Massaud of Studio Massaud acknowledges Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's influence on the Holy Day sling chairs and occasional tables, with their steel frames in a polished-chrome finish. Meanwhile, satin chrome was the finish of choice for Luke Pearson and Tom Lloyd of PearsonLloyd when they designed the steel base of the Ribbon table; its top comes in leather or glass. Jeffrey Bernett, founder of Consultants for Design Strategy, named his Davos chair and benches after the Swiss town where the World Economic Forum takes place. The pieces are agile yet substantial, thanks to frames constructed of Russian birch plywood and padded with fire-retardant foam.
Upholstery options for the seating, both Bernett's and Massaud's, are leather or fabric, including COM. 866-645-6952; coalesse.com. circle 423
If color and dimension are indeed a manufacturer's best weapons, 3Form is sure to score a victory with a double-barreled launch.
Parametre, a lightweight perforated nonwoven polyester construction, can expand effortlessly in three dimensions. It's offered in a trio of patterns, circular Mega along with self-explanatory Hexa and Quad, and eight colors, from Green Apple to eggshell. UV-resistant, antimicrobial, and antistatic, the fabric is suitable for window treatments and wall hangings but perhaps most winning in space-dividing applications.
In addition, a partnership with Wovin Wall, an Australian manufacturer of wall and ceiling systems, has yielded Wovin Wall + Pure Color. The line combines Wovin's tile technique with 3Form's Pure Color polyester Ecoresin, resulting in woven effects in more than 50,000 colors. Optional anodized-aluminum frames come in standard and deluxe versions.
866-512-6378; 3-form.com. circle 424
Waste Not, Want Not
After thousands of footsteps, countless castor gouges, and the occasional errant egg roll, who needs worn-out carpet? That would be InterfaceFlor, introducing its Convert carpet tiles. They're produced with the help of ReEntry 2.0, the latest evolution of this manufacturer's closed-loop repurposing technology. Here's the drill: Old carpet is collected at the mill, where various face fibers and vinyl backing go their separate ways. The former are shipped to Universal Fibers, melted, re-formed as chips, extruded as new nylon, and returned to InterfaceFlor. Meanwhile, the latter stays on-site to be shredded, converted into pellets, and turned into GlasBac backing.
Once the face and backing are reunited, the results are twofold. First is a total recycled content as high as 72 percent. Second is noticeably more variety and color than is typical when closed-loop nylon is recycled. The 13 patterns debuting at NeoCon include the textured solid What Goes Around, intertwining Reissued, striated Fresh Start, and a pair of linear patterns, Reincarnation and Rags to Riches. Patterns come in four to 24 colorways. 800-336-0225; interfaceflor.com. circle 425
A Geography Lesson
Laurinda Spear champions green roofs and other environmentally sensitive designs while straddling architectural and landscape projects as founding principal of ArquitectonicaGeo. In her sophomore series for Wolf-Gordon, she embraces her firm's duality with Geographic, a collection of seven vinyl wall coverings inspired simultaneously by the innovations of man and nature. The color blocks of Noli are meant to look like an aerial view of an urban streetscape. In Graphic Palm, which riffs on Spear's earlier Palmrail pattern, she overlays lush fronds to create an undulating effect. For a little abstract whimsy, Mermaids superimposes three-tone ladies of the sea, head to tail. 718-361-6611; wolf-gordon.com. circle 426
As with a good wardrobe, comfort and versatility are essential to any good task chair. And those were the driving forces behind Get, an addition to the Action line of swivel chairs from Harter. John Kaloustian designed the chair to adjust easily to suit each sitter. To assure that it's as easy on the eyes as it is on the seat, the manufacturer offers a fashion show of choices. The perforated polypropylene back comes in 12 pop-culture colors, from Messenger Bag Green to Backpack Orange, with a partial or full back pad optional. The die-cast aluminum base can be polished or painted. For the upholstery, choose from any Harter Textile fabric or a selection of suiting-inspired patterns from KnollTextiles, many in recycled polyester. There are also three arm styles and 13 paint colors for metal trim. 800-543-5449; harter.com. circle 427
manufacturer: Weitzner Limited.
standout: Bark paper and chromed paper, an odd couple at first glance, are actually a match made in heaven.
"I love the juxtaposition of the silvery foil with the bark paper, this incredibly earthy yet ethereal material," Lori Weitzner says. Lattice, which took 18 months to create, is made from fig-tree bark that's steamed, pressed, and spliced, then either bleached or colored. A matte top coat of water-based sealer is applied over chromed paper fused to the bark, enabling the product to receive a class A rating for commercial use—but not ensuring a precisely uniform color, Weitzner warns. The shades shift subtly, depending on the tone of the bark. "I love it," she says, "when nature is really the one in control." 888-609-5551; weitznerlimited.com. circle 428
Trash to Treasure
Popularized by William McDonough and Michael Braungart nearly two decades ago, the term Cradle to Cradle is now part of the flooring-products conversation at Shaw. Old carpet made of nylon 6 is collected free of charge around the U.S. by the Shaw Contract Group's network to be transformed into Evergreen, a base nylon product used in combination with virgin nylon to create new broadloom or carpet tile. In last year's haul, 100 million pounds of postconsumer material were diverted from land fill. And you thought Rumpelstiltskin was just a fairy tale. 877-502-7429; shawcontractgroup.com. circle 429
Bentley Prince Street
No tall tale, Tall Story is all about the texture created by tall and short threads. Available in 24 colorways, both as broadloom and as carpet tile measuring approximately 20 by 39 inches, the sustainable design is certified California Gold. 800-423-4709; bentleyprincestreet.com. circle 430
Laura Kirar's Orbus lounge chair, love seat, and sofa combine subtle curves and clean lines. All three have polished-aluminum legs and measurements of 29 inches deep by 33 high. Widths are 27 inches for the chair, 55 for the love seat, and 82 for the sofa. 507-867-4280; tuohyfurniture.com. circle 431
We especially like the watercolor effect of the Nile pattern, one of the outdoor fabrics from this artisanal house. Resistant not only to the elements but also to soil, other stains, mildew, and rot, these solution-dyed acrylics come in bolts 54 inches wide. 831-728-4335; nomiinc.com. circle 432
New to the Steerhide collection, the hair-on hides of Specialty display intricately laser-cut patterns contrasted with boldly colored grounds. The 21 variations include gold and silver metallic prints. Whole hides average 57 square feet, half hides 27. 800-342-7738; garrettleather.com. circle 433
Philippe Starck took aim at a literary legend with the Robin Wood Deluxe collection of outdoor furniture. The Marian chair combines a simple teak seat and front legs with a gently curved polished-aluminum back. She has plenty of Merry Men for company: Lil' John, Tuck, and, of course, Robin. 800-717-8325; sutherlandfurniture.com. circle 434
With the same glamour and humor he brings to restaurants and theater sets, David Rockwell gives us Blanket, a cozy wool-blend wall covering. Contrasting thread stitched into layers of fine wool creates a striped pattern, available in four colorways at 54 inches wide. 773-465-6909; mayaromanoff.com. circle 435
Earth Day may have come and gone, but it's always a good time to think about the planet. Faux Sure is a high-performance imitation leather that's free of PVC and ozone-depleting chemicals and produced without heavy metals or plasticizers. Offered in a whopping 703 colors. 800-221-1540; designtex.com. circle 436
UltraGehry represents the next step in the evolution of the year-old Frank Gehry Furniture collection. The quirky torqued volumes of silvery rotation-molded polymer that compose the bench, low table, easy chair, and sofa call to mind the titanium curves of the architect's Guggenheim Bilbao in Spain and Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. 212-685-4200; helleronline.com. circle 437
Facets bring bling to the business world with Brilliant, an armchair, and its sidekick Ruby. Both have seats of transparent or opaque polycarbonate, either colored or colorless, and bases can be finished in chrome or black and white epoxy. Four-legged versions are stackable; the armchair also comes on a sled base or castors. 866-712-8230; jdsusa.com. circle 438
Innovations in Wallcoverings
Pamplona runs with the bulls. A basket weave that recalls the leatherwork of old Spain, only in Type II vinyl, this wall covering comes in a color palette that also evokes the leatherworkers' stalls, with wine red, burnt umber, and tan as well as cooler green and white. Width is 54 inches. 800-227-8053; innovationsusa.com. circle 439
Laid-back high-back Fulton is the first in a series of lounge chairs by Scott Wilson. A base of stainless steel supports the walnut shell, which gently cradles an inviting foam-padded seat. The chair measures 37 inches high by 36 wide by 33 deep. 773-580-9970; mnml.com. circle 441
With a name like Morpheo, it's a good bet that this system affords multiple configurations. The entire unit can stand alone or be combined with others. For doors and surfacing, choices are aluminum and plastic laminate, wood-grain or solid. 800-522-2773; groupelacasse.com. circle 440
Milliken & Company
Adventuring far beyond the borders of Persia, Milliken Contract's Persian Dynasty nylon carpet tiles explore the gorgeous beading and handweaving of the larger Islamic world. Knot Sari, Ottoman Twist, Moroccan Roll, and Turkish Paisley are each offered in 17 colorways, ranging from dazzling brights to soothing neutrals. The tiles measure 20 inches square. 800-528-8453; millikencarpet.com. circle 442
Mark Goetz's First Sight collection channels the seamlessness of steel ship hulls. The low table, featuring a powder-coated steel frame and a wood-veneered particleboard top, measures 20, 36, or 42 square inches. There's also a round table, plus a bench, a lounge chair, and an ottoman. 800-444-8812; hmgeiger.com. circle 443
The Teneo line of mobile storage covers all the bases: individual cabinets; islands, either single or side by side; and presentation and wall units. Scale them as you like—the exposed frames come in heights of 24, 34, 60, and 70 inches. Surfacing options are painted steel and aluminum, plastic laminate, wood veneer, cork, or felt. Then there are two lengths for pulls (full and partial) and two base choices (castors and glides). 888-443-4357; hermanmiller.com. circle 444
Of the six designs that compose the Spektra line of woven vinyl flooring, three offer an opportunity to make a statement in stripes. Prisma, Wave, and Ray combine neutrals with irregular accents of bright blue, red, and green, respectively. Besides being slip-resistant and sound-absorbent, they all refuse to fray. 46-32-153-04-00; bolon.com. circle 445
A linear pattern that looks like it came straight from digital charting equipment found on a set for Star Trek, Tech Stripe is a wool-polyester blend with just the right amount of sheen to transport earthbound furnishings. It's offered in five colorways, including Element, at 54 inches wide. 415-252-7125; lunatextiles.com. circle 446
Janus et Cie
Organic forms in powder-coated, die-cast aluminum make for amazing shadows with Forest—a bit like sunlight filtering through leafy tree branches. Fittingly, the chair is just as happy outdoors as in. 800-245-2687; janusetcie.com. circle 447
Combine recycled tires, postindustrial and virgin rubber, and postindustrial natural cork, and you get Medley, a Re-Tire resilient flooring. It's at its most vibrant in the Fiesta colorway, a mélange of magenta, ocher, yellow, purple, and gray. 800-492-2613; capricork.com. circle 449
Kravet Contract's Techno Vinyl line of upholstery is all about metallic iridescence—in gold, brass, nickel, jet, chocolate, mocha, fudge, and moss, just for starters. Tech Stripe, backed with polyester, and Tech Vibe, backed with nylon, both have a polyurethane face. 800-648-5728; kravetcontract.com. circle 450
Can you name this shelving unit? At press time, it was so new that the name wasn't finalized. What we can tell you is that the piece belongs to the new ArtCollection for Haworth. Construction is plywood, offered in one or two paint colors, and measurements are 72 inches wide by 16 high by 15 deep. 616-393-3000; haworth.com. circle 451
Art deco styling influenced the Cartography collection of modular nylon carpet. Terrain looks like the fields of a farm seen from the air. Provenance is a clean, crisp stripe. And Landmark is pure geometry. All come in 16 colorways. The backing contains 10 percent postconsumer recycled material. 706-629-7301; mannington.com. circle 452
Hinson & Company
Joroi Veclana's Ray for Hinson Lighting consists of a pendant fixture with a spun-aluminum shade and a matching canopy. Suspended from aircraft cable and electrical cord, the shade can be lacquered white, black, or red or simply polished. 212-688-5538; hinsonlighting.com. circle 454
Harlequin-patterned Rio is one of the first KnollTextiles indoor-outdoor introductions. Best suited to restaurant and lounge seating, the 54-inch solution-dyed fabric comes in eight colorways that range from red-hot Heat to neutral Sand. 215-679-7991; knoll.com. circle 453
The popular Scatter chair is expanding its horizons: Now it rolls. ScatterCaster combines a base of stainless steel with a seat of steel and maple-laminated bent plywood, covered in a cotton-polyester weave in red, yellow-orange, and blue as well as black and tan. (There's a COM option, too.) 718-786-8600; dakotajackson.com. circle 455
Gary Lee Partners's TGSF10 has such a mundane name for such stylish seating—at a dramatic 108 inches wide. The sofa's sharp modern edge is tempered by old-world tufting, and the walnut feet come in the manufacturer's standard finishes. For upholstery, specify leather or COM. 312-440-9991; tgcouture.com. circle 456