When you think about it, the basic forms of quintessential articles of furniture—I’m talking desks, chairs, couches, stools, work lamps and pendant fixtures—largely consist of variations on a theme. As such, furniture designers innovate through the details from new manufacturing methods and materials to integrating functionality that speaks to our mobile, tech-enhanced lifestyles. This much is apparent in seing the honorees for the Furniture & Lighting category of the 2014 Core77 Design Awards.
While the selections from Jury Captain Naihan Li and her Beijing-based jury team may look familiar at first glance, closer inspection reveals that each one is customized to fit a certain lifestyle-driven need.
Professional Winner: Gesture, by Steelcase Design and Glen Oliver Loew
As more and more of us spend more and more time basking in the warm glow of a screen, so too do we spend more time in our office chairs. With these digital tendencies in mind, Glen Oliver Loew designed Gesture for Steelcase (with help from its internal design team). The jury appreciated the chair’s origin as a research project: “This project began as a global study on human body gesture and resulted in a stylish chair that will not only carry you comfortably in a work environment, but support you in every move you make while seated. Furniture design can be as advanced as any new technology we use today and an advance in office chair design has the potential to benefit thousands as our lifestyles evolve. By providing a more dynamic support to the body, this chair attempts to encourage movement while we interact with the handheld digital devices we love.”
Student Winner: SOAK Charging Side Table, by Youmin Vincent Kim
Recently graduated from the Youmin Vincent Kim‘s SOAK charging station redefines the humble side table as a ‘platform’ for mobile devices. Furthermore, the Art Center College of Design student cleverly managed to tuck the power supply for the induction charging surface into its very construction: “The leg emerging from the wall to accommodate the main power plug is an artistic solution to the inelegance of wired products. Our daily need to repeatedly charge our digital devices can now be achieved casually by leaving them on a side table—a thoughtful and functional object design that surprises you by the advanced technology embodied within a playful yet elegant form.”
Professional Runner Up: Lightwing, by Jean Marie Massaud
Lightwing brings a new level of interaction to the way we illuminate our spaces while remaining relatively inconspicuous. Designed by Jean Marie Massaud for Foscarini, the lamp features adjustable screens, allowing the user to cast a glow wherever it’s most needed. The jury noted the artistic aesthetic of the lamp: “Minimalist and elegant, this is a delicate and fluid lighting design. The history of elegance can only be enhanced by new technology, which is the case here where a clever magnetic sphere provides fluid, multi-directional movement as the light transforms from an ambient light to a reading lamp. It utilizes a new LED lighting system and technically advanced industrial production to make a bold and artistic statement in its form and in the interactive nature of the motion the lamp achieves.”
Student Runner Up: Dynamik Standing Desk, by Brian Pughe and Conor Brown
Virginia Tech’s Brian Pughe and Conor Brown have developed an interesting take on a contemporary trend with the Dynamik Standing Desk. Made from steel and wood, the desk has a sleek appeal for users of all stripes, but it’s the the strap of felt that serves as a knee rest that wowed the jury: “Clever usage of something as economical as a belt makes this desk design more than a place to lay your books. It is a simple yet effective solution to rest in public space, allowing one to fully engage with others even if the interaction will last longer than your legs can hold out. This standing desk also gives new function to an existing furniture type with minimum alteration.