Viasit Drumback

Beat that – Drumback – a new concept in task seating

Until now, there were just two basic forms of back for office chairs. Upholstered backs are constructed with a solid back to which a pad of upholstery foam is fastened and then covered with fabric. The second type is the mesh chair. However, a new concept in task seating seeks to combine the advantages of both basic forms. The Drumback chair from Viasit is neither upholstered nor pure mesh. Martin Ballendat’s ingenious design idea was to stretch the cover fabric – similar to a drumhead – over a back component made from polypropylene. The result is a distinct and attractive design that uniquely combines the benefits of the cool comfort of a mesh back and the stability of a closed back without the need for upholstery in a fresh and contemporary look.

Viasit Drumback

The intuitive seat controls follow Viasit’s now familiar integrated button/slide system marked with user-friendly icons. To change the height of the back support, the user simply grips backwards with both hands while seated and folds the generously dimensioned clamps. The Drumback also features seat height and seat depth adjustment, adjustable 3D arm supports, and optional lumbar support. The Drumback is available in black, light tele grey or iron grey.

Viasit DrumbackThe Drumback has also received the Green Product Award 2017. The design of the back saves two components compared to an upholstered back; the inner back and the upholstery foam element. These components do not need to be manufactured, transported to the factory, glued together and later recycled. The Drumback also has environmental advantages when it comes to the conventional mesh chair. The fastening plate must be very sturdy and warp resistant to give stability to the meshed back. Composites are used to achieve this, which are usually difficult to recycle. The Drumback is different: There is less static stress on the large solid back support. It can therefore be made with non-composite, 100% recyclable polypropylene that can be turned into chair backs over and over again.

Frovi Relic

Modern Relic

Introduced at Clerkenwell Design Week, Relic is the latest bench product from Cotswold’s based manufacturer Frovi. Like Frovi’s previous bench product, Block, Relic is modular and available as dining height or poseur height. As the name implies the product apes the rustic look of a trestle table and with the option of character driven finishes. The inset trestle understructure features invisible cable management and telescopic beams allowing lengths from 1400mm to an impressive 6000mm. Power and data ports are available as an option on all table sizes.

Frovi RelicFrovi RelicRelic is available in 11 modular sizes from 1400x800mm up to 6000x1200mm and 750mm or 1050mm high. A standard height wide version offers two further sizes: 3200x1600mm and 3600x1600mm. Circular and rectangular upholstered stools complete the Relic range, with stitching details echoing the trestle leg shape.

Frovi Relic

Frovi Relic

Frames are available in a range of 23 RAL colours including Raw Steel. Tops are available as ‘Cutline’ laminate or ‘Cutline’ Fenix – providing a clean thin-cut tapered edge in a wide variety of colours or as ‘Sawn’ with a solid oak top layer bonded to a ply core with an extreme chamfered edge detail.

CDW2017

CDW2017 – Highlights

Last week was the annual furniture design fest that is Clerkenwell Design Week in London – a week long event that sees furniture manufacturers open their doors to showcase new or recently launched products and innovations and new trends in the world of furniture. Here are just a few of our highlights:

At Frovi special mention should be made of the shear abundance of new product and thankfully quantity did not mean lack of quality.

Frovi Scandi Urban

Keying into the current trend for all things Scandinavian, Frovi have introduced Scandi, a range of timber armchairs and sofas that would be equally at home in the office or hospitality sector. Likewise is the Urban sofa collection with its deep foam, webbed seat and back for extra comfort. Urban is also configurable with mix and match seat, back and bolsters if you want to get quirky.

Frovi ILK

The ILK collection continues to grow with the addition of the very stylish ILK Tilt and the ILK Two Seater. The Two Seater is available with natural or black oak timber legs or a steel sled frame in any RAL colour.

The Relic bench is a clever take on a trestle table. The steel legs feature concealed cable management and the beam understructure allows meeting or bar height versions and lengths up to an impressive 6m! Frovi have introduced a new antique character oak top for Relic and in conjunction with the optional raw steel legs perfectly creates the rustic look. A range of stools completes the collection.

Frovi Relic Jig Credenza

A nice addition to the Jig range is a modular credenza system. Optional top seat pads and fabric door handles provide a touch of colour and would help suite the product in with other upholstery items in the same space.

Over to Orangebox and the big news was Eva – the latest in a new generation of ‘light touch’ task seating with simple set up. The chair has been refined to be largely self-adjusting and requires only a few controls. It’s lightweight too, at just over 14kg. Base and supporting trims are available in black, white, polished or ‘industrial silver’.

Orangebox Eva

From Connection Seating the Co.Table represents a new style of collaborative working furniture. Comprising of a long work bench with radial ends and an adjoining poseur height end table, the Co.Table is designed to facilitate independent & coworking activities. Accessible power on a central utility rail, lighting and storage shelf are all available. Like the Connection Centro range Co.Table features natural oak legs with integrated cable management.

Connection Co.Table

Connection Seating have also gone down the Scandinavian inspired route with the minimalistic & durable Woodstack dining chair and the David Fox designed Hygge chair. The gentle curving contoured design of Hygge is available as a low back or high back.

Hygge Woodstack Tubes

Also from Connection is the Tubes range, a range of stools, benches and tables featuring a connected tubular structure with a utilitarian aesthetic. Silver or textured black steel tubing is standard with white or warm metallic copper finishes also available.

Boss ATOM

Over at Boss Design it was all about ATOM. Designed by Simon Pengelly, ATOM is a family of modular landscape products developed to deliver a seamless and holistic aesthetic and flexible work environments. At its nucleus is the organic and sculptural screen system that morphs between desk screen, snug alcove, visitor seating and sofa back. Low stools and an elegant and fully cable managed table system complete the ensemble.

Boss ATOM

 

Aeron Remastered

Aeron is Remastered

When Aeron debuted in 1994 it was a chair unlike any the world had ever seen. It didn’t just change how people sat, but what they thought a chair could be. But a lot has changed since then, so it made sense that Aeron should change too.

So how did Herman Miller improve one of the most iconic and beloved chairs in the world? Co-designer Don Chadwick re-examined the design criteria that led him and Bill Stumpf to Aeron in the context of today’s work and technology. By coupling co-designer Don Chadwick’s vision with Herman Miller’s latest research around the science of sitting, the new Aeron works smarter than ever before. With stronger, smarter materials, better adjustment capabilities, new finish options, and a healthier, more comfortable sit, Aeron has been remastered – ergonomically, functionally, anthropometrically, and environmentally—for today’s work, workers and work environments.

Aeron Remastered

AERON REMASTERED: NEW FEATURES

The new 8Z Pellicle mesh allows air, body heat, and water vapour to pass through the seat and backrest to help maintain even and comfortable skin temperature. The Pellicle provides eight latitudinal zones of varying tension across the seat and back to deliver increased comfort and ergonomic support where it’s needed most.

An updated tilt mechanism delivers a smoother trajectory and optimal balance point to keep people in control of their movement throughout the entire range of recline.

With PostureFit SL, adjustable, individual pads stabilize the sacrum and support the lumbar region of the spine to mimic a healthful standing position.

Aeron’s frame angle has been thoughtfully reconsidered to better support the body in upright positions and across a wider range of postures afforded by today’s work and tools.

The remastered chair offers updated user adjustments for intuitive, fine-tuning; advancements in engineering have allowed Herman Miller to scale back the amount of turning, twisting, and time spent customising a personal fit. Now the sitter can reach a custom recline with minimal effort.

Aeron is now offered in three holistic material palettes to suit modern office environments: Mineral, Carbon, and Graphite. These palettes cover all parts of the chair’s design from the castors up.

The original Aeron set new standards for sustainability and the updated design goes further by reducing the weight of the chair and achieving a Cradle to Cradle Certified Silver, BIFMA level 3, and GREENGUARD Gold Certified status.

Contact us now for a quotation or to arrange a sample.

lapalma in Leeds

lapalma in Leeds 29/06 – 07/07

Introducing our next event, lapalma in Leeds.

Thursday 29th June 2017 – lapalma in Leeds Launch Event – 5pm until late

An evening with renowned Italian manufacturer lapalma who will be showcasing recently launched products from Orgatec and Milan including the ADD modular table, sofa and storage range, Kipu, LAB and LEM stools and Brunch modular tables. The launch event runs from 5pm until late with Italian themed refreshments and nibbles. Register here.

Friday 30th June – Friday 7th July 2017 – lapalma in Leeds Pop-Up – 10am – 5pm

If you can’t make our launch event, the lapalma in Leeds pop-up space will be open 10:00am – 5:00pm each weekday from Friday 30th June until Friday 7th July, featuring opportunities to experience the lapalma range and learn about the design. Spaces will be available for you to drop-in, recharge and enjoy a freshly prepared coffee from our bean-to-cup barista machine, kindly supplied by Vantage Spaces. We look forward to welcoming you. Register here.

Wilkhahn Occo

Classic 21st Century Design – Wilkhahn Occo

In January we published an article on the new legislation that theoretically puts an end to fake classics in the UK market and in which we also bemoaned a lack of new classic designs. This series aims to showcase new designs that we think may be the classics of the next generation.

Wilkhahn Occo

First up is Occo, the new multi-functional side chair from German manufacturer Wilkhahn.

For Wilkhahn, designers Markus Jehs and Jürgen Laub have come up with a chair and table range which is perfectly coordinated with one another. Occo combines enormous versatility and a vast choice of design options with a clear and immediately identifiable design language. Occo was launched at Orgatec last October and is already winner of a 2017 IF Design Award.

Wilkhahn Graph & Occo

Occo shares a family resemblance to the Graph chair (left), also by Jehs & Laub

The characteristic shape of the seat and backrest shell is reminiscent of the Wilkhahn Graph chair, also by Jehs & Laub, and is a perfect complimentary product. The seat itself is very rigid, but the back is exceptionally flexible due to its shape and the different thicknesses of the material. Four frame types, three types of cushioning and six shells produce a total of 72 variants that respond to virtually all functional and design requirements.

Wilkhahn Occo

Occo Options:

4-leg, metal or wood, 4-star glides or 5-star castors. All metal legs and star bases are available in chrome as well as textured matt finishes: white, black, grey, grey-beige, orange-red or blue-grey.

The seat shell is dyed polypropylene available in white, black, grey, grey-beige, orange-red or blue-grey.

An optional felt seat pad is available for some chairs in the range in anthracite, light mottled, graphite, mango, verde or deep water with further fabric choices available throughout the range.

Wilkhahn Occo

 

 

 

Blurred Lines

Now more than ever, we are seeing the lines blur within design…a cross pollination of materials, furniture and space utilisation has become noticeable between sectors. Workplaces are moving away from desk based environments and are embracing softer, more homely finishes and third space furniture. Residential developments are looking more like luxury hotels, while hotels are now introducing schemes that resemble communal apartment style spaces. Not to mention that in Tokyo, you can now stay in a hostel that masquerades as a bookshop.

Furniture design is progressing in tandem with this industry change, and in recent years, new furniture trends have been emerging to keep up with this shift. Old classics are being made over with a fresh face and manufacturers are now offering a wider range of finishes. The classic Bertoia Side Chair now comes in a more playful plastic version and last year we wrote about Walter Knoll’s revamp of some mid-century Turkish designs…the Burgaz, Rumi and Fishnet chairs. Not only that, Fritz Hansen also welcomed back the Drop chair after a 50 year hiatus. These pieces could reside happily within a restaurant or hotel setting, or just as easily suit an office, meeting or reception space.

Features such as two tone fabric, metallic, coloured and timber legs are more frequently offered as standard options now, making furniture more flexible than ever. These details are filtering through all sectors of design and have largely been embraced by manufacturers such as FroviNaughtone and Connection. Each boast a wide selection of finishes in their portfolio, creating a smorgasbord of options suitable for application across multiple sectors. Some of the most adaptable ranges available are the Ilk family of chairs (Frovi), the Always selection of chairs and lounges (Naughtone) and the Dixi range, from Connection.

In a move to broaden their appeal in the leisure and hospitality market, Walter Knoll have chosen to forego the recent trend of gold in favour of hand textured brass. Their unique brass pieces were showcased at IMM in Cologne last month with the 369 chair, Joco and Oki occasional tables. Walter Knoll feel that these items provide a warmth that was previously lacking in their collection, making them suitable for residential and hotel applications.

So, whether it’s chairs for an office meeting space, restaurant stools, or lounges for a hotel lobby, the blurred lines of furniture design now make it easier than ever to find just the right piece for any space.

The Gold Standard

Maybe it’s due to the inspiring swag of gold medals Great Britain won in the Olympic games last year; or perhaps it’s the recent release of the movie Gold; or maybe it’s just because everyone wants a little more sparkle in their lives…whatever the reason, gold is making a resurgence. In the furniture world, 2017 seems to be the year of the bling (in stark contrast to Pantone’s colour of the year, Greenery).

Just announced last month, Fritz Hansen’s Choice 2017 is a new interpretation of Arne Jacobsen’s iconic Series 7. Based on the rich, yet delicate colours of the Japanese cherry blossom, these two, limited edition chairs ooze with understated luxury. Both the deep-red merlot and pastel nude options are complemented perfectly by their rose gold frames…giving them just the right balance of glitz and sophistication.

In contrast to this subtlety, Knoll have dared to go all out in conjunction with the wave of gold furniture releases. To celebrate its 50th (golden, of course) anniversary, the entire Platner range is now available in 18 karat gold plated options to dazzle even the most tarnished of gold cynics. And if that isn’t enough, Knoll have also released the Bertoia Diamond Chair in a stunning 18 karat gold version, to commemorate the designer’s would be 100th birthday.

Artemide seem to be taking on the same ‘go gold or go home’ approach as Knoll, with the release of the Tolomeo Tavolo Micro in yellow gold. Adding to the extensive Tolomeo family, this desk based, gold version of the classic lamp is a limited edition, making it all the more precious.

So even though all that glitters is not gold, these pieces are beautifully glamorous interpretations of their classic counterparts…and definitely worth their weight in gold.

Farewell to Fakes?

From tomorrow the repeal of section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patent Act 1988 means that furniture designs in Britain are protected from unlicensed manufacture for 70 years, up from 25 years. Classic designs such as Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona by Knoll, Arne Jacobsen’s Egg Chair by Fritz Hansen and the Eames Lounge chair by Vitra are once again fully copyrighted. Retailers selling unlicensed copies will be liable to fines up to £50,000 and jail terms of up to 10 years.

Copyrighted Designs

Just some of the many designs that will once again be under copyright protection in the UK: Eames Lounge Chair by Vitra, Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona by Knoll Studio & Verner Panton’s Swan by Fritz Hansen

A quick google search reveals quite a lot of vehement hostility aimed at the new law and its promoters, with some branding the likes of Vitra, Knoll and Herman Miller as ‘thieves’. Many of the naysayers are members of the general public who wish to furnish their homes cheaply and care little for the manufacturing provenance of the product or its future value. They complain that it shouldn’t cost for example £4500 for a lounge chair or over £1000 for a dining set for your home. Whilst this may be true the problem is less about individuals (although this all adds up) but well known national and multi-national brands who are buying fakes en masse for roll-outs in offices, cafeterias and restaurants. Even well known supermarkets have got in on the act with special promotions.

Of course, many of these commentators display a complete ignorance of the design, research and development process and its costs and seem to think that tooling never needs to be replaced. Nor do they acknowledge the cost of promotion without which these classics would be unknown failures and there would be no market for the replica manufacturers. They also fail to acknowledge the continual development that genuine manufacturers put into these products as well as investment in R&D for future products. For example, Verner Panton’s ‘Panton’ chair by Vitra has only fairly recently been sold as originally intended due to material limitations, the Bertoia Side chair by Knoll Studio is now available with a much more cost conscious plastic shell and the Eames Lounge Chair itself was improved upon after release, not being fully realised until the mid-60s.

An oft touted defence of replicas is that the Eameses stood for accessible and affordable design for the masses. However, the replica market is largely filled with poor quality products made with cheap Far-East labour in factories with dubious environmental credentials. Was that really what Charles and Ray Eames stood for? It’s also well known (but conveniently ignored by many) that Charles and Ray Eames themselves fought against fakes, even going so far as to create a ‘Beware of Imitations’ advertisement for Herman Miller in 1962.

Furniture Innovations & Developments

Recent furniture innovations: Joyn benching and Alcove sofas by Vitra kickstarted the agile working revolution. Continuous development: the Aeron by Herman Miller now released as a Remastered version and the Bertoia Side Chair by KnollStudio now available as a plastic shell.

Is it time for 21st Century Classics?

Herman Miller can hardly be accused of resting on their laurels, especially in the task seating market with innovations and developments such as the Aeron (a new revised Aeron Remastered has recently been launched that utilises up to date materials and mechanisms), Mirra, Embody, Sayl, and Keyn chairs. Vitra also continue to sponsor new designs and designers, with innovations such as the Alcove sofa and Joyn bench by Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, two products that have been massively influential in the changing work patterns of the early 21st century office environment.

The key here though is the focus on innovations in the office environment. New – and more importantly affordable – design in crossover lounge and dining furniture that may be used in the office or the home seems less prevalent.

We love mid-century design but it’s too often used as a default, redefined or copied. Has this led to design stagnation? Certainly, there is still innovation in the furniture industry but new designs are often overlooked by architects and interior designers in favour of the safe option. There are already many good modern designs and designers out there but it’s difficult to get new designs recognised when the market is flooded with cheap copies of classics.

Responsibility

Why should the fakers circumvent the processes of design, research & development, prototyping and promotion? With the new legislation comes new challenges. Whilst some of these companies will seek to find loopholes to circumvent the new legislation (we have heard of one company importing to Ireland where fakes are not illegal and then 3rd party freight forwarding to the UK) it would be hoped that others will choose to focus on new products and to employ the next generation of designers to create their own design classics. This is certainly a challenge, but not one without rewards for the bold.

Specifiers, architects and designers must also play their part and seek beyond the obvious. Part of this is through education and here companies like ourselves must be pro-active in engaging with the design community to impart a broader product knowledge.

Finally, the responsibility also lies with the consumer. Just like more and more people inform themselves of the ethics of what they eat or what car they buy, they should also think about how they furnish their homes.

We’ll end this article with an unashamedly mid-century quotation from Charles Eames himself, taken from Herman Miller’s Design Q+A.

Q: What designs would tend toward ephemeral or towards permanence?

Eames: The good stuff is permanent, the bad stuff goes away. (1959)