[ coalesse ] expands its longstanding relationship with [ viccarbe ], a valencia-based furniture manufacturer renowned worldwide for contemporary lounge settings, to offer its imports collection throughout the americas. valencia’s abundant sunlight influences and inspires the warmth of the materials. the aesthetics are elegant, proportioned, innovative and timeless. coalesse exclusive north American distributor of this collection for the contract market.
now introducing several exciting new products from the viccarbe imports collection including a modular sofa collection, a high-back luxury chair and a unique table collection that adds fun and diversity to an already impressive group of offerings.
season sofa by piero lissoni is an innovative new modular sofa with a timeless design that was created to adapt to different collaborative spaces. the variety of pieces in the collection allow for infinite compositions which makes it an intuitive solutions for designers. the sofa features a specially designed technical fabric with a protection pad which contributes to its durability and stain resistance.
ace chair by jean-marie massaud is an attractive high back armchair that has tremendous visual lightness and looks wonderful in both commercial and residential settings. available with or without arms, ace features a timeless contemporary design aesthetic paired with extraordinary comfort. the structure is made from calibrated steel and the seat is covered in shape-holding expanded polyurethane foam of different thicknesses with removable upholstery for easy-cleaning. a two-tone upholstery option in leather, fabric or combined is available along with color options of black, green, yellow, red and blue for the zipper in the back.
burin table by patricia urquiola is a collection of sculptural auxiliary tables with a strong personality and unique design. available in two heights and new handle on top, burin is versatile and would be welcome addition to any space.
coalesse® engages a&d as participants at neocon 2016 / #1032 – a&d community invited to take part in the design process
coalesse, recognized for forward-looking, design-driven products that foster social connection, creative collaboration, and focus and rejuvenation, is inviting the a&d community to participate in the design process through a range of new products and custom capabilities at neocon 2016.
its showroom #1032, will feature expressions of custom capabilities that can be applied through the newly launched potrero415™ tables, massaud conference seating, and the montara650™ collection, among other products, giving a&d professionals the opportunity to discover new ways of personalizing through color and pattern, materials and features, and shape and size to make it their own and enhance emotional engagement at the workplace.
showroom visitors are also invited to participate in the design process through coalesse’s new customizer web app, which demonstrates ways of applying custom color and pattern to the groundbreaking lessthanfive™ chair. the web app and degree of product offerings make customization highly-attainable, empowering clients to be curators of a more meaningful design experience.
below> vitra & artek / #1192 // north american introductions / vitra customized applications
at neocon, vitra will present a series of projects that demonstrate how it has optimized collaboration with client project teams. this provides clients a direct dialogue and unprecedented access to vitra’s top design talent, allowing for the custom-development of new product applications for large scale projects.
below> mohawk group / #377 & 3-121
elevate contemporary spaces to inspired floorscapes through mohawk’s latest production collections. inspired by nature and designed to merge fashion with function.
below> mohawk group / moving floors collection / diagonal relief, fade relief, plane high, plane low, 656 green 24by24
designed to be dynamically moving base on the user’s point of view, moving floors was inspired by the multi-layered beauty of our cultural landscape. empowers designers to create kinetic floorscapes through limitless combinations.
below> haberdasher textiles / by laura guido-clark for herman miller / 3-321
haberdasher is an array of palettes and patterns, inspired by traditional sewing materials—and tailored for projects of various sizes and budgets. giving solids and patterns license to commingle or stand alone, haberdasher gives you license to play. mix. match. curate. collaborate. differentiate. and indulge.
above> there are 5 families each with their own identity. pins and needles: a simple pattern of pins strewn about a canvas becomes iconic in a highly graphic way. / string plaid: the crosshatch pattern creates a colorful, dynamic, and graphic twist on traditional plaid. / well suited: allows vibrant and deep colors to collaborate in a small scale, two-color nailhead pattern. / fish net: the quilted hand offers dimension and explores a large line of intense, warm, and cool colors. / tailored: the tightly woven grid texture creates a subtle surface that reflects light and contours form.
below> hbf & hbf textiles / 387
hbf has returned to its roots, teaming with esteemed designer and longtime partner michael vanderbyl to create introduce conexus, a work/lounge chair designed to function across any contract setting — offices, lobbies, hospitality environments…
designer michael vanderbyl notes, “i strive for timelessness. conexus plays with the shape of a classic lounge chair and transforms it into a more organic form that showcases the exceptional craftsmanship in the woodwork and the upholstery. the wood merges with the upholstery in such a seamless way that the piece takes on a sculptural quality, an engineering feat that hbf executed masterfully.”
below> hbf textiles highlights color, texture, yarn, and hue in spring 2016 collection
known for their artful and authentic approach to design, hbf textiles is going back to the classics for its spring 2016 collection. hbf textiles vice president of design mary jo miller started with le corbusier’s infamous lc palette of colors from the 1920s, and used these fresh shades as a catalyst for the collection.
below> tek pier / teknion / 1048
tek pier “is the first product of its kind to successfully merge wall-mounted monitors with height-adjustable worksurfaces,” said paul kruger, teknion’s director of design, architectural products. tek pier takes advantage of teknion’s altos demountable wall cable routing, structure and acoustic performance. the innovative origami mount allows for fluid positioning to share a large format monitor, maintain viewing privacy, or engage in touchscreen applications.
below> designtex / moquette / 1032a
moquette is a textile mash-up that blends a classic velvet weaving technique with the creative possibilities offered by digital printing technology. the woven structure employs a “moquette” construction produced on a modern wire loom, allowing some areas to be woven as flat bands while elsewhere selected yarns are lifted and then cut to create a short, dense pile. beginning with a simple pattern of alternating horizontal stripes of varying widths, the moquette technique adds complexity by introducing a sense of dimensionality, which is enhanced by the luxurious combination of lustrous and matte yarns. finally, the raised, plush surfaces of the woven fabric are printed digitally with a non-repeating and random color pattern.
the result is an intricate layering of textures and colors that evokes natural landscapes, reflecting biologist e.o. wilson’s concept of biophilia—the theory that human beings are instinctively drawn to the natural world, and thus that design following this principle provides a heightened sensation of comfort and repose. below> parentesit freestanding / by lievore altherr molina for arper / 339
arper extends the functionality of parentesit to include freestanding models for increased privacy and comfort. architectural in scale, these modules carve out a three-dimensional space for concentration or quiet conversation in shared workspaces or collaborative environments.
parentesit was created with a dual inspiration of minimalist art and classic japanese interiors. to shift this approach to an architectural scale, the screen is capable of dividing a room in half, or partitioning off a space for quiet, independent thought.
below> wolf-gordon / & 10 – 161
following dazzling installations of sculptures and interactive digital displays in past years of neocon, wolf-gordon has again transformed the market space in a new way. office_excavate re-envisions the cubicle-enclosed office by creating a colorful, open seating space that can be easily rearranged for meetings, coffee breaks, and recharging of phones and humans alike. the furniture, which can be used alternately as seating, desks, tables, or stools, will be upholstered in over 100 different wolf-gordon textiles. office_excavate is a collaboration of karlssonwilker inc., new motor, graham kelman and wolf-gordon creative direction. below> humanscale / 351
they’re not only previewing a brand new line of diffrient occasional chairs they’re unveiling never-before-seen niels diffrient designs. take a journey through human-centered design innovation and chat with founder and ceo bob king, visionary designer todd bracher and the rest of the humanscale team.
below> carnegie / 10 – 112
reflectacoustic is a groundbreaking design that controls sound and delivers heat and glare reduction through yarn, weaving and metalized backing technology. the textile absorbs and reflects back a great deal of light; all validated through 3rd party testing.
below node with sharesurface / sharesurface was designed by steelcase design studio / steelcase / 300
steelcase health research reveals exam rooms not designed for the modern healthcare experience . findings uncover five ways exam space is failing physicians, patients and family members; informs new design framework and product, node® with sharesurface
node with sharesurface features a rotating sharesurface that provides dynamic access to information, a central part of the exam experience. physicians using mobile technology are able to chart while maintaining eye contact, pivot the surface to share their screen with the patient and family for education and shared decision making, all while having mobility in the room. the chair’s back and arms allow doctors to have more conversational postures during consultation and the rotating surface arm moves out of the way for examination activities.
below> northern parallel / cf stinson / 10-1150
[ collection summary ]
• 7 new textiles, 72 colorways.
• a collection of coordinating textiles that explores the connections between michigan (where stinson is headquartered) and maine (where stinson houses their design studio).
• shared michigan/maine discoveries:
• similar geographic latitudes
• rigorous climate with diverse seasons
• inhabitants with an appreciation for nature and willingness to embrace the seasons
• michigan/maine ideals include work hard, build with integrity and if you are going to be unique – be honest. shared mindset explored through textiles that are hard working, unique, honest and full of integrity.
• made in america, small carbon footprint.
below> the doni collection / designed by giancarlo piretti for ki / 1181
if you can dream it, doni can express it. create with a fresh palette of energizing brights and sophisticated neutrals. imagine the possibilities with two-tone colors and unlimited custom color possibilities. the collection offers guest, task, tandem and stackable configurations.
rooted in david rockwell’s innovative approach to hospitality environments and public space, and inspired by his award-winning design for theater and entertainment, rockwell unscripted is a comprehensive collection of furniture elements that adapt to the spontaneous choreography of the work day.
“our interest is in getting people to look at their work environments as a stage on which movable furniture can be arranged in endless configurations. you can craft the scene around what it is you’re doing that day,” said rockwell group founder and president david rockwell.
below> lievore altherr molina’s arcel for bernhardt design / 399
the perfect combination of sitting and standing – a new style of work posture
it is no secret that changing our posture throughout the day is essential to our well-being in the office. what’s more, adapting a posture that is appropriate for the task at hand helps relieve stress placed upon the body. okamura recommends five postures for increased office productivity and efficiency. among them is the perching posture, a perfect combination of standing and sitting.
speckle is a durable and easy to maintain textile ideal for any environment.
speckle comes in four color ways and in each the warp yarn subtly contrasts with the soft pearlescent silver speckles in the weft direction.
chilewich has experimented laying speckle tiles quarter turned and found that the natural color shift between warp and weft adds a richness and level of interest to this quiet weave. speckle is ideal for spaces in which the floor is a foundation for bolder interior design elements. a sustainable solution of bold and neutral patterns.
below> wilkhahn / 7-3082c
wilkhahn’s dynamic office seating utilizes patented 3d technology to encourage health, creativity, and productivity in the workplace.
by special request of the a&d community, will show for the first time at neocon, a white, through-dyed seat shell and backrest frame.
below> arborite high pressure laminates / 7-1018
recognizing the increasingly blurred aesthetic line between contract and residential design, arborite has curated a selection of residential products with crossover appeal to create commercial stones.
above left > cityscape loft’s modern, wet cement look is ideal for urbanites in search of a low-maintenance, industrial-inspired surface. right> industrial loft evokes the glazed look of oxidized metal, combining light and dark shades with a matte texture for a chic, modern effect.
below> amble / by stephan copeland for lightcorp / 7-8062
why is amble different? amble is a light with no moving joints or articulation – in fact, the only moving part is a gravity-powered “eye.” minimalist design meets elite performance in a battery operated dimmagle led task light. created by renowned lighting designer stephan copeland, amble is highly adjustable yet has no moving joints or articulation. amble’s lean, single-form construction enables excellent adjustability and mobility through the intelligence of its shape.
below> nima / by giancarlo piretti for american seating / 10-148
aimed for the higher education market and various contract environments, nima is an inspiring multipurpose collection of chairs, providing exceptional comfort through a sophisticated minimalist aesthetic.
below> stir kinetic desk m1 / 1067a
the new m1 is a height-adjustable desk driven by software that senses your presence, learns your preferences, enables you to set goals and actively reminds you to change positions throughout the day.
DesignApplause will continue to add to this post as well as social shout it during neocon.
A growing trend in the commercial field right now is patterned flooring. From bold, bright patterns to subtle, watercolor-inspired designs, the new Modern Collection by Arzu Studio Hope from Coalesse features rugs from top designers, all exclusive to ARZU. Woven by skilled artisans who reinterpret the designers’ work, each rug in this collection is truly a work of art. With styles to suit various aesthetics and lasting contract durability, these hand-crafted, 100% wool rugs warm up office spaces and set the mood for sleek furnishings.
The Coalesse Design Studio carefully curated this selection that can be customized to blend and complement any space. The Modern Collection joins the successful Masters Collection, which launched in 2013, featured great world leaders in design and marked the beginning of the Coalesse/ARZU relationship.
ARZU Studio Hope preserves the centuries-old rug-making traditions of graphing, dyeing and hand-knotting, further supporting Coalesse’s ongoing commitment to craft and customization.
It’s very difficult to catch everything in this show whether in person or online. Our focus on 2014 new offerings surely limited discovery. What we did find in this year’s show provides a myriad of options for everyone’s needs as seen on our list below. We highlight several unique, innovative solutions.
[ vessel ] Designer Todd Bracher and 3M Architectural Markets engineering produce a solid quartz body that precisely controls light distribution from a single LED. Vessel comes in three lengths, six color options and two color temperatures.
zinta | lievore altherr molina | arper
[ zinta ] A bench makes it to prime time. Thanks to the exceptionally harmonious blend of wooden seat shell with softly rounded edges with partial upholstery on a light-looking frame, the bench is elegant and leisurely in appearance. It can serve as simple, single sofa or large-scale organizing principle in an open space. With a range of cushion options with diverse materials and fillings, it can serve a range of environments from residential to restaurant, lounge to office with equal ease.
avant collection | mark hiron | élan decca / photo courtesy decca
[ avant ] Designer Mark Hirons Avant’s concept of openness include the Lounge Chair, a simple, tailored Sofa and ultimately, to the inviting expanse of a 145-degree Sofa angled to support face-to-face conversation. Defined by a striking angularity, the pieces appear to expand and fan out. Avant seating is available fully upholstered or with wood veneer back that accentuates its crisp profile and sculptural presence.
[ lakendo ] LaKendo, designed by Angelo Pinaffo, is a family of chairs available with tip-up or fixed seat. Its multifunctional uses enable several easy configurations: with polypropylene, padded and upholstered seat and back or back in mesh. The metal frame has a peculiar section’s profile which makes the seat more resistant and supports others specific features such as a set for arms, tip-up seat, wheels and supports sled and bench versions. Among the accessories is available the tablet for both arms.
social chair | yves behar | herman miller / photo courtesy hm
[ social chair ] The Social Chair is the core component of the Public system, bringing new ergonomics, functionality and durability to soft seating while accommodating a range of people and postures. Public is the first office system to support casual work and provide comfort, at the desk, in circulation space, and in group areas—all within a consistent design vocabulary. Designed by Yves Behar and fuseproject.
ballo | don chadwick | humanscale
[ ballo ] Created by Don Chadwick, designer of the Aeron Chair, Ballo is a multipurpose stool that encourages users to engage in short-term, active sitting. The identical air-filled domes serve as the base and seat and pressure can be varied just like a Swiss exercise ball. Ballo helps to reduce the risks associated with sedentary behavior and improve metabolism, calorie burn and core strength. There’s also an adjustable height option.
lo and syz | eoos | keilhauer
[ lo and syz ] the syz table is one continuous table structure with a seamless flow between the cast legs and aluminum extrusions It comes in heights of 29 and 26 inches as well as a very cool and casual 15 inches. Lo is a charming seat cushion. Research has shown that sitting with the hips above the knees restores gravitational equilibrium and provides longer comfort.
berlage | richard hutten | ki
[ berlage ] The Berlage Chair was originally designed in 2004 by Richard Hutten tributing H.P. Berlage, the architect who designed the Municipal Museum of Modern Art in The Hague for the museum’s restaurant. KI reintroduces Berlage in 2014 via their Blu Sky Collection, an initiative of finding intuitive products with unique stories. The strung seat, which is done by hand means each chair by all accounts is unique.
bounce by knoll | knoll
[ bounce by knoll ] In an effort to reduce a level of uncertainty with planning an office space Knoll debuted software developed in partnership with Estimote, a tech start-up building a digital platform to bring content and context to people’s current location. Bounce by Knoll monitors, measures and analyzes space utilization and the work patterns of the office, and offers a digital user engagement platform. Using the Estimote iBeacon platform, Knoll planted seven iBeacons in their showroom that would give attendees a chance to look at occupancy levels at different stations.
antenna round big table | antenna | knoll
[ antenna round big table ] Masamichi Udagawa and Sigi Moeslinger of Antenna create a clever adaptation of their adjustable height Telescope Desk platform. We’d also like to see a Ballo-like chair pair up with it.
[ grip ] GRIP is a universal table suitable for all purposes. A new design inspired by tightrope walkers, the top balances on a narrow beam supported by cast aluminum legs. Grip™ gets more stable the more weighted it becomes. Bases are die cast aluminum and are available in one size. Finish offered in glass bead blasted (textured) and a selection of powder coat finishes in black, white, red and silver. A variety of top shapes and sizes are offered in all standard Nienkämper veneers and plastic laminates, as well as black linoleum.
quiet spaces by susan cain | steelcase / photo courtesy steelcase
[ susan cain quiet spaces ] Susan Cain Quiet Spaces by Steelcase offer five diverse ways to empower introverts at work. Each space supports specific postures, work modes, and expectations for quiet and privacy supported by a carefully chosen range of architecture, furniture, materials and technology. Every quiet space is designed with V.I.A. which provides superior acoustic performance and offers an atmosphere where introverts can work their best.
lite wall | jeffrey bernett and nicholas dodziuk | teknion / photo courtesy teknion
[ lite wall ] Lite Wall is a series of lightweight screens that respond to varying needs of the open office. Using magnets, Lite Wall easily reconfigures without tools or any visible connections. Varying screen heights accommodate standing, sitting, lounge and other critical datum lines in the system/office landscape. Designed by Jeffrey Bernett and Nicholas Dodziuk.
millions of colors | grethe sørensen | wolf-gordon / photo courtesy wolf-gordon
[ millions of colors ] Earlier in the year for Wolf-Gordon, Danish textile designer and artist Grethe Sørensen introduced a ground-breaking technique of translating pixels to threads. Cooper-Hewitt plans to acquire her work once its new building opens in late 2014.
[ the list ]
> vessel | todd bracher(*) | 3M architectural markets
> mimeo | bruce fifield(*) | allsteel
> colina | lievore altherr(*) molina | arper
> zinta | lievore altherr(*) molina | arper
> unos | jasper morrison | andreu world
> mitt > claudia & harry washington| bernhardt
> buzzipicnic | alain gilles | buzzispace
> acoustical sheers | mary holt | carnegie fabrics
> lakendo | angelo pinaffo | diemmebi
> airblade v | dyson
> designtex + wallace sewell collection | wallace sewell | designtex
> avant collection | mark hiron | élan decca
> lex | studios architecture | halcon
> openest collection | patricia urquiola | haworth
> suite | steffen lipsky | haworth
> triscape | todd bracher(*) | hbf
> locale l-desk | sam hecht and kim colin | herman miller
> social chair | yves behar | herman miller
> ballo | don chadwick | humanscale
> quickstand | humanscale
> trea | todd bracher(*) | humanscale
> human nature | interface
> lo and syz | eoos(*) | keilhauer
> berlage – blue sky collection | richard hutten | ki
> antenna round big table | antenna | knoll
> architecture research office collection | filzfelt (knoll showroom)
> bounce by knoll | knoll
> remix | paul wilkinson(*) | knoll
> nexus collection | kari pei | knoll textiles
> scholten & baijings textiles | maharam
> grip | randers + radius / troels grum-schwensen | nienkämper
> grain + pigment | shaw contract group
> design journey | reesie duncan | shaw contract group
> quiet spaces by susan cain | steelcase
> form + structure textiles | teknion
> journal | christopher wright(*) | teknion
> lite wall | jeffrey bernett(*) and nicholas dodziuk | teknion
> millions of colors | grethe sørensen | wolf-gordon
> overlay/underlay | kevin walz(*) | wolf-gordon
[ 1968 > 2013 ]
Who’s watching ‘the sixties’ on CNN? Here’s a little ‘office’ perspective… HM’s Public Office Landscape – 45 years – light years away from HM’s Action Office, the original systems furniture designed in 1968 by Robert Propst that started the modern open plan revolution, etc., etc.
public | yves behar – fuseproject | herman miller 2013 / image courtesy hm
action | robert propst | herman miller 1968 / image courtesy hm
note: (*) we also interviewed 12 designers so stay tuned for more details on these and other great objects.[ best of neocon 2014 winners ]
<5_MY Chair | michael young | aka carbon fiber chair || click > enlarge
We met with new Coalesse Design Director John Hamilton in Milan. We talked about the impact of recent management changes at Coalesse and their relationship with parent, Steelcase. We also were introduced to a new and amazing carbon fiber chair created by Michael Young.
[DESIGNAPPLAUSE] John, what’s different at Coalesse after the new restructuring? [JOHN HAMILTON] I think a lot has changed and not much has changed. What’s changed would not be apparent to most people unless you knew us from the inside. Management has changed but our strategy and philosophy has not. Our problem solving has not changed. When you think what we’re trying to focus on, maybe the ways we’re going to tell the story or ways that we market you would say feels a little different. But if you go back, if you knew the original intent of what we’re trying to do, it’s still the same. We still think there’s a huge opportunity for the direction that was previously set and in that mindset, not that much has changed.
[DA] What is the strategy? [JH] The world of work is changed in the way we’re all working. For a while we were trying to talk about that change, but now it’s so commonplace that if we mention it, people just nod their head and say ‘I do that’. That also means because of new technologies we all have, we’re now able to choose where we want to work and how we want to work. And now we have a greater variety of where to choose to work than in the past. Because of all multiple devices to choose from we have even more freedom to decide whether to work at the office or somewhere else. Today we’re seeing people choosing not to go to the workplace. And we are probing the reasons for that decision, why are they choosing alternative places. If we can understand why and leverage those insights we might bring people back to the workplace.
What maybe different is our partnership with Steelcase. We’re (Coalesse) part of a very large eco system or organization that’s looking at work, and workers and the workplace and things that are affecting you the whole day, and not just at one location. And we complement them really well and we’re going to find ways to demonstrate that differently or better than we did in the past.
I’ve talked to some people and they say, ‘you’re about home office or about retail, right?’ But we’re are really about the office and trying to bring a different sensibility to that space. And there’s a desire to get people back into the office to restore group synergy, that synergy that fosters greater creativity and collaboration. The office will be more comfortable, healthier, all the wellness things that we as individuals are concerned with.
[DA] John, you mention Steelcase. How do you interface with them?
[[JH] I’m a part of James Ludwig’s Global Design Group. We’re directly connected with them on a daily basis. In short, we’re partners with them. And because of Steelcase, our facilities in Michigan is amazing. I’m in San Francisco now and I’m a little sorry I left Michigan because after I left they implemented an entirely new space. It’s world class. We know it’s world class because we’re global. I’m a good example, I’ve spent time in Asia and that experience is felt in our design.
One of the things we talk about is ‘unfair advantage’ at Steelcase. Which means we at Coalesse leverage Steelcase’s resources. I have a researcher in San Francisco and get to partner with other researchers across the globe. My issues in San Francisco are slightly different because of nuances that we’re working on, but they’re the same issues globally because it’s about people. We’re always globally comparing traditional workspaces against alternative workspaces that we’re working on. If you talk to my direct competitors and ask them if they would like to have 30 researchers situated around the world working for you everyday that you get to leverage and 150 engineers and a model shop and a test lab, anyone would say, absolutely.
[DA] What is the Global Design Group?
[JH] We have several disciplines (design and engineering) at Steelcase which we think about as global. We have a design studio headquartered in Grand Rapids Michigan. There’s one in Salzburg France and Rosenheim Germany, in Hong Kong and San Francisco. And we work together to get an international perspective. It’s not surprising the challenges that I have in San Francisco are slightly different than those in Hong Kong. And when you study all our network locations you begin to see a pattern, where people might be struggling. We have the advantage of using our global perspective to respond. Our reach and scale gives us an unfair advantage.
[DA] Are your products tailored to different parts of the world? [JH] I think sometimes products get applied differently. Or scaled regionally. We’re starting to find there’s a more international consistency than inconsistency. The opportunity to do something that can be globally executed, we’re seeing greater and greater possibilities of doing that. The nuances are more regional. In Hong Kong, space is a greater concern. So things are tighter, closer together there. But globally we are seeing that people are responding to pillows and lounging chairs where there are more options to sit, stretch, and they are more comfortable and also more productive. And that’s what Coalesse is about, looking at alternative aspects of the workplace, adding new settings, new postures and possibilities.
[DA] I talked to Toan Nguyen and Jean-Marie Massaud last year at Neocon and would like to know how their solutions are being received. [JH] I was going to ask you the same thing. We are just shipping them and we have a lot of orders to fulfill at this time.
[DA] The designers and experts that I’ve talked to, everyone loves the concepts, the design and execution. The solutions are both unique. [JH] That’s another example of who we are, we’re striving to be unique. We have a new chair that is very unique, our carbon fibre chair. We partnered with designer Michael Young.
[DA] The chair is beautiful. [JH] You have to touch it, move it, lift it.
[DA] It’s light as a feather. [JH] Michael’s office is in Hong Kong. We were talking to him about carbon fiber and our interest in exploring the material and how you could push it and come up with a product that when you looked at it you knew it could only be done in that material. We wanted to do it in a way that really optimized the reason why you would use that material which is about lightness and strength. And it’s expensive for what it is. You want to only use as much as you need. So the Steelcase seating engineers worked with our carbon fiber manufacturer and Michael and FEA modeling to optimize exactly how much you need as you go through the visualization and the testing. We wanted it to stack four-high and weigh less than five pounds. The chair is 4.8 pounds /2.2 kilos. A box of four is under 25 pounds so shipping is inexpensive but this chair, it’s not the most expensive chair in the marketplace.
What’s interesting and the way I look at it, this is about a new product. We’ve always talked about craft and materiality as being very important to Coalesse. When you think about the time when they were exploring wood for example, they were pushing wood technology. They were steam-bending it. They were taking paper and twisting it into a rope, taking materials at that moment and seeing what they could do with it in new ways that literally push the boundaries of manufacturing at that time. Look at Eames, working with plywood and fibreglass. I believe if the Eames’s were around today they’d be playing with carbon fiber.
And there’s a real craft to shape it, join parts together, polish, paint it and then finish coat. Our manufacturing partner is an expert at finishing. If you ask Michael what he thought when he saw the possibilities, he was all eyes and ears. (DesignApplause will be talking to Michael at NeoCon 2014.) Look at the finishing, look at the transition of color, from a 2% to 8% grey. There’s a metallic one over there. We sent them a copper wire and the manufacturer matched it exactly. Another unique by-product on this chair, we’re going to enable the designer to specify what areas they want and which way. Just send a PMS chip or a sample. We can duplicate it. You get to participate. The only limitation with the process is seemingly ‘real-time’.
[DA] Is this powder coated process? [JH] No, it’s a handpainted process. It’s a craft. Everyone is going to be slightly different, unique. And yet there is the consistency that you expect. And don’t they make carbon fiber bikes and boats and those things are outdoors all day long. This chair is both indoor and outdoor. And they’re so light I can stack four of these and carry them out with one arm.
[DA] John, please hold one in the air. With one hand.
Note: The carbon fiber chair has a new name:<5_MY Chair And keep a look out for our Michael Young’s take on his new chair following NeoCon 14.[ michael young ][ coalesse ] [steelcase ]
above> Pretty sure the Carbon Fiber Chair by Michael Young for Coalesse is the production object of Milan 14. Beautiful in concept, execution and weight, or lack thereof. Design director John Hamilton could probably hold ten chairs at arms length. -interview forthcoming. Hall 16.
Sony partners with Wallpaper Handmade. 70+ one-of-a-kind objects of furniture, fittings, fashion and food. above> ‘Clerkenwell Coat’ by Wallace & Sewell, Gieves & Hawkes and Designtex. via San Gregorio 39.
Rossana Orlandi presents two venues. above> exhibition ‘Untold’ with 10 international designers including nacho carbonell – interviews forthcoming. via Gesu 5. below> at her studio. via Matteo Bandello 14.
above> Zaha Hadid debuts a collection of objects. they wouldn’t let us photograph anything so you have to see it in person. better that way anyway. via Rivoli 4.
above> London designer Sebastian Bergne with ‘Square’ for Tog – interview forthcoming. via piazza Gae Aulenti – check out the entirely new piazza.
above & below> Lasvit puts together a Milan 14 award winning installation. ‘Moulds’ by Jan Plechác and Henry Wielgus. via Standahl 35.
above & below> COS commissions Nendo to create a temporary concept store. Very minimal and storytelling. Very Nendo.
Laguntas was debuted at Salone 2013 but we wanted to the the designer of this interesting hybrid sofa/lounge, Toan Nguyen. We find him at Neocon 2013 [DesignApplause] Toan, tell us about the big idea within this product. [Toan Nguyen] The Coalesse current tagline is ‘Work and Home’ and our concept maybe brings a little of the home into the office, a little office into the home. The home is more private, typically, than in the office, and a screen concept is incorporated early and the sofa can now function as a divider. An when we’re in a more expansive environment such as common space within and office or public space such as the lobby of a hotel, an aisle in an airport, we can feel more private with this concept.
Once we address the space issue we ask how to possibly add a little more versatility which we achieve with two operative sitting positions. And maybe you need to write and you don’t have any tables and we can add a table accessory. We also offer both high and low options and the low behaves as a sectional sofa. We just have a range from a lounging to an architectural product. Once the applications are met we realize we’ve created an all-in-one tool with applications that range from lounging to an architectural product. Laguntas is really a tool.
[DA] You’ve described shape and application. Tell us about the technology, the engineering. [TN] At first glance this is a low-tech item, i.e, not made for gadgets. But the engineering of the product itself embraces technology. This collection is completely engineered, not a craft project but a complete industrial production product. We experimented with plastic: recycling, separation processes and injected several plastic pieces where metal was used before. Plastic today is really strong and light. Another innovation is a three-dimensional mesh on the panels. The metal frame under the bench is an innovation with a very thin and strong profile. A very durable fabric. The back cushion is innovative in shape and works as a complete upright back cushion or turn it around and it supports only your lower back. Two ergonomic options. The cushion surprisingly was a very long process because it’s difficult to create soft things. And no levers, knobs, motors to achieve this new shape. Simple.
[DA] I sat in the lounge and the cushion concept is unique. The down position of the cushion gives great support for the lower back. [TN] Yes, you get lower back support with minimum materials and structure and all the support that you need.
[DA] Toan, what did you learn? [TN] Many of the processes to engineer the sofa were new to me. I’ve mostly worked with Italian and German companies and this was my first project with an American brand and Coalesse has a very detailed process. It was interesting how all the challenges were addressed and overcome considering the numerous options offered in this collection. I also wanted to keep the look very clean and simple, with no visible fasteners and effortless adjustments.
[DA] We have a couple of Eames Sofa Compact’s at home, and you see springs and screws, everything, in this 1954 product. [TN] The evolution of the chair began before ’54. But the sofa’s evolution is very recent and still going on. A lot of innovation is happening right now. I feel fortunate to be designing a sofa in this period. It’s challenging and rewarding.
[DA] I’ve talked to several designers about the construction of your frame. It’s very thin and light but strong. [TN] We refer to the frame as a table. There are no springs but there is softness. And the cushions are independent. If more than one person is sitting and one moves the movement is contained with that person. Which is more important at the office than at home. The contract demands are greater as the user is quite diverse. We wanted a sofa that fits your needs but at the same time the main goal was application.
[DA] What do you see today that excites you? [TN] I enjoy working with a good team, a creative team. And the team is the design firm as well as the client. You need to find the people who really want to step forward to create a product with the right edginess. A recipe with stimulating ingredients but with a common vision. That’s exciting.
[DA] How were you brought into this project? [TN] It was very simple. I had common friend with the director of photography for Coalesse. And we met over dinner, which is the best place, to share a discussion. And from this meeting we were asked to work on a small project. Then asked again for a slightly larger project. And then we were asked to develop Laguntas. Finally.
[DA] What’s next? [TN] I usually prefer not to speak until I can touch it. There are some things going on for sure, but you will see later.
[DA] How do you reach the conclusion of a project? [TN] The first process is generating ideas and then translating ideas through sketches. Then to computer renderings which refine the shape. Next, and what I really like anyway, is the prototyping. That’s when we start to touch and I like to touch, to feel, to see. The drawings and small models only take you so far. We need to taste and touch it. Prototyping consists of making parts, stitching fabrics, testing, putting all the pieces together. Everything is a question of making.
[DA] Who’s doing the prototyping: Coalesse, you, both? [TN] We jumped directly to 1:1 scale prototyping at Coalesse. Each part was arrived at through detailed drawings. After trial and error with this part or that we arrive at 90% of the final.
[DA] A two-year process? [TN] Even more.
[DA] Is there anything that we didn’t talk about? [TN] Now that we’ve presented this product, I’m very curious about how will it be received, how will it be applied. It’s not a sofa confined to the living room where tradition gives us insight on the life of a living room sofa. That alone makes me wonder if I will try it and how that plays out. There’s the feeling that I’m not controlling things now and I’ve now passed Lagunitas along.
[DA] For me, when I’ve done something and it’s over, I’m a little sad. I grew comfortable with the process and the relationship and it’s like saying goodbye. [TN] I’m quite happy. Because I can get back in the mix. There’s so many ideas, so many projects and so few good products. You know, we both about the sadness and the happiness but I feel we’re both about the drama and the passion.
[ toan nguyen ] was born in Paris in 1969 and graduated in Industrial Design at ENSCI-Les Ateliers in Paris, in 1995. After experiences in several design studios in Paris, Barcelona and Milan and notably ten years of collaboration with Antonio Citterio as design director and design partner, signing products for many brands such as Axor-Hansgrohe, B&B Italia, Flos, Fusital, Guzzini, Iittala, Kartell, Metalco, Skantherm, Technogym or Vitra, Toan Nguyen founded his own design studio based in Milan in 2008.
Toan Nguyen Studio is a multidisciplinary Atelier focused on design development in many different design fields, from furniture to technological products, in partnership with leading international companies based in Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and USA such as Accademia, Coalesse, Dedon, Fendi Casa, Gruppo Busnelli, Laufen, Lema, Moroso, Urmet Group, Varaschin, Viccarbe and Walter Knoll.
The Bellows Collection designed for Walter Knoll has won a Red Dot Design Award in 2010, Antero, designed for Laufen, has obtained the Red Dot Design Award 2012 and Lagunitas, designed for Coalesse, has won the Best of Neocon award 2013.
[DesignApplause] Jean-Marie, tell us a little bit about the project you’re working on for Coalesse. [Jean-Marie Massaud] We are working with Coalesse on a liberal amount of products. which are not just products. Today, companies realize that work is being rephrased, today it’s about work and life. You see, the space and timeframe for working has changed, and Coalesse is trying to provide solutions that’s linked with this new way of living and working.
Some of us either have to work or if lucky, choose to work. My life today is to work on vacation and it took 15-years to accomplish this. I have been working this way for two years. I live near Saint Paul De Vence, in the city of La Colle-Sur-Loup. Part of my team is in Paris, part of my team is in Brittany.
[DA] How big is your team? [JM] We have 15 people, not so much, but involved in big projects in architecture and the car industry. And these are few projects, not so many. I live alone with my family and I don’t have any people that are working with me in La Colle-Sur-Loup. And I work with my graphic tablet, receiving and sending drawings. I’m linked everyday, but I live on vacation.
I’ve proposed that my team also work on vacation. A lot of them want to stay in Paris, in Brittany. And they are not students, which was another kind of life scenario. They are efficient professionals, not obliged to be a prisoner of an office tower at work.
And so we tried to develop with Coalesse this idea, because it’s natural for them. It’s can be said, it’s a philosophy in which they believe. And when they came to visit me, I told them my dream is to be able to work and also be able to enjoy simple dalliances. So after I drop off my kids to school, I have a coffee. I’m looking at the sea, looking at the mountains. There is the snow.
During the coffee, I discuss with the waiter – he knows me – “Voila! What are you doing?” “I don’t know.” And: chat, chat, chat, chat. After half an hour, it’s done. And then I have to communicate. So I come back to the Wacom tablet, usually, to sketch. Or, when I have a very good connection with the iPad a video conference is possible.
And once I send the sketch to my office I’m free! And because I’m free I might do some sailing. And in this space my brain, packed full of many things suffers little constraint but just thinking about what’s next. I am always writing notes. While lying on the bed when I’m at the hotel or after I go do a run like I did this morning, I write more notes. And the work of the day is done.
[DA] So you write many many notes. You draw with a tablet, you have an Ipad, do you write digital notes or on paper? [JM] I have – what do you say – a love for notes? My office manager tells that I have too many papers. My system works for me though I’m still waiting for an iPad with a graphic sensitivity.
[DA] There are applications and pressure sensitive styluses for the iPAd. [JM] Not quite, yet. What I would love, let’s say, during a video conference, sketches could be sent, corrections made on the tablet and then sent back. It would eliminate the need to refine the sketch on paper and scan it. I could correct the exact curve, or exact section… I had this same conversation with Jonathan Ives three years ago. There’s a market. My freedom is linked to this product!
[DA] You want to do everything while on that boat! [JM] That would be fantastic!
[DA] Tell us what your doing with Coalesse. [JM] Our first attempt was to put the task into perspective. Coalesse creates classic furniture that’s relevant for the work space or home. I told them the best lounge chair in thw world is the Eames chair from Herman Miller. There’s no other product so smart and competent. If we are to do something – another one great one – maybe it’s not about the architecture, maybe it’s about the integration of your way of living, the sensitivity of the finishes. And so the final customer or the architect specifying the project, makes this product their own because of the link to life, to work. All of this made possible, not with a high-tech solution but with a lounge chair with an ottoman.
The chair is kind of an evolution. It now has a movable work surface in which to place an iPad, to…
[DA] Take notes. Jean-Marie, this chair is designed for you! [JM] Yes yes, quite possibly. There’s a light in the canopy. A hands-free clip-on device holder. We can video conference in this lounge. A further evolution is maybe the need of intimacy, because if I am in a hotel, a creative agency, there is need for quiet space with little visual disturbances so we pull over the canopy.
If we reconsider the space of walking in an office or a dorm, the space has to be thoughtless. It only has to look like your private place, because more and more people want to feel- how do you say- to feel love more than efficiency. (laughing) So we developed these kinds of ideas.
And the ottoman is more than that (removing the cushion), it is storage space.
And the hood is very light. And there’s no need for electrical wire because of bluetooth, a wi-fi area. The beauty of the hood is how minimal and simple, a really elegant small space.
[DA] The acoustics under the hood is really good. Very little outside noise and we are in a very noisy showroom. You know it looks very twenty-second century. [JM] Yes, but at the same time, the space is neither the mechanical expression where you feel it’s an office, and yet it’s the office of the familiar, something very natural.
[DA] Jean-Marie, what did you learn from this project? [JM] Many things, but of interest to me, firstly, I learned to work with American companies. Yes. Working with Coalesse and the collection involving many pieces and several design destinations. No offense here but my experience working with European and an American company, the cultural differences became apparent first hand.
First of all, for me with this experience there were many more people involved on this project. In general, European meetings tend to be smaller, maybe two or three. But this collection, at times maybe 15 people in a meeting and I learned to be more clear in the detail of the message I have to give, because we are doing a lot of meetings. And everybody is very good at method, a very strong method in order to be sure that everybody (15 brains with their own culture and knowledge) shares the same content.
And it was interesting how to fertilize ideas together, with different cultures with the same vision, the same stakes. The vision was simplicity, to create some evolution, and not for the day after tomorrow. To be elegant, but in a sensitive way, not just to be efficient or just to be smart. Just to be elegant. And a merger of all things in today’s world, the work, the play, a way of living. Very cool and I love this feeling of being cool. Really.
[DA] Tell us a little about your philosophy, how materials seem to drive your solutions. The Toyota Me.We is a good example. Do the materials come into play with a project like this?
[JM] Material is just one part of the puzzle we need to accomplish a vision or project. Design adds value in this respect because design is about creative synthesis, and there are a lot of stakes we wish to unite. There is of course, the quality of the service we want to provide. There is usually an economical scenario we need to factor in. So we have to do things which are smart, we can share and to create value.
There is, the technical means and the technical states about lightness, about doing better with less, about the world’s soul which speaks to sustainability. So materials are super important.
For example, the hood on the lounge is made of synthetic felt. It’s made of reclaimed materials, and we see it mostly in a car, the ceiling, the doors. Actually the construction of the canopy, is very much like the ceiling of a car. The synthetic felt is easy to work with and do not forget, our brain is programmed to associate felt with acoustics, noise dampening. The cover on the lounge not only has good acoustics but it persuades your brain too. When you see it, you’ll understand. It will be quiet inside.
[DA] Tell us about the Massaud Collection. [JM] I think the chairs are quite unique. And there are so many office chairs! For me it wasn’t a question of good taste or bad taste, I wanted to provide some sort of affordable solution of – a chair being a chair. The solution has to be elegant, but it’s about doing business. It’s using the same shell, the same little wire frame for all options.
And we do a lot of things with this principle. The collection doesn’t look plug-n-play, but it is. It’s a flexible collection which gives you, the person, many options to choose your condition, choose your identity. And these options both mix and match, there are low solutions and high solutions. The same with the armrest. And far from the very technical office chair.
The low chair is very low and the armrest disappears to make it more – could be like the shoulder bag for a girl. This chair for the female, it’s my favorite.
[DA] Yes, I like the armrest. Very stylish. Very efficient. [JM] Efficient but not too arrogant.
[DA] Can you tell us a little about the Toyota Me.We concept car? [JM] For me, this is an urban car concept which implies what you might expect. First, your eyes tell you it’s not about arrogance or sharpness of the shape- it’s friendly. It’s for the guy walking the street and seeing the car, it catches his eye. It’s for the user who isn’t scared anymore about the scratch or the maintenance of the scalp. Your eyes tell you don’t worry.
[DA] So the anti-crisis car. [JM] Yes! There are dozens of materials or processes that are smart and we have to choose. The car appeals to many because we have many options to choose from. It has an aluminum frame and renewable bamboo floor and also recylable polypropylene panels with not only color options but texture options. After enough scratches and maybe dents simple replace a panel. The material here was a big part of this vision. You have to crystallize this vision in matter. Material is very important.
1/2> lounge with hood
6> height adjustable, swivel tablet | cord pass through at base for charging devices
7> ottoman storage
8> low-back executive
9/10> mid-back executive
11/12> high-back executive
Jean-Marie Massaud is a French architect, inventor and designer. He was born in Toulouse, France in 1966. Massuad graduated from the École Nationale Supérieur de Création Industrielle – Les Ateliers, Paris in 1990 and began working with Marc Berthier. In 2000, he co-founded the Studio Massaud with Daniel Pouzet and expanded his interests in the fields of architecture. [ massaud ] [ coalesse]
Neocon 2013 in its entirety represented an incremental slightly better statement overall than previous iterations. Nothing breakthrough, though not of no consequence as there were several trends worth mentioning.
[ trends ] 1>Less playful, more formal….but not too formal.Patricia Urquiola‘s couch – conference seating with high backs for semi-privacy. The lines, and surfaces are shifting towards the more organic, while colors remain subdued with lots of white.
2>Fusion of office and home. Some showrooms used the word ‘crossover’ future but I like ‘indie’ as in “independence’ where the worker has a great deal more freedom to choose their working environment. Toan Nguyen‘s Lagunitas Lounge system looks like a living room sofa when in a home environment. Is the contract business model aiming at the residential environment for growth? I think so…
3>More personal space. Ties in with “indie” where at Steelcase there were pod-like rooms which could be customized by each visitor, or private phone and video conference space, chairs with extra high backs and sides, some even enclosed.
mood pod provides personal ambiance control | steelcase | 2013
[ brands ] Coalesse > working with established ‘design’ designers on the way to become the “Moroso” of the contract business. note: more details via interviews with Massaud and Nguyen coming soon.
Designtex > creative repurposing of materials. Loop to Loop is the first (and greenest at this moment) upholstery made from recycling already recycled textile waste. note: more details via interview with ceo Susan Lyons coming soon.
A discreet yet powerful accessory. The PowerPod by Scott Miller and MINIMAL is designed to be a dual function tray and power outlet.
At first glance, you see whatever is contained in the three triangular compartments. However, remove the upper part of the accessory tray from the base and you have smart tabletop access to six power outlets. Other features include an energy-saving on/off switch with an indicator light to reduce vampire power consumption, a built in surge-suppression and integrated circuit breaker. The neutral milk and silver finish melds with nearly any room décor.
Full dimensions: 6” x 5.86” Max Load: 120V, 15A, 60HZ Voltage Protection rating: 400V Surge Energy Rating: 1700 Joule
designer: scott wilson, minimal producer: coalesse material: aluminum period: 2010