A modular cat tree for when your pet is also your co-worker!

Okay, we can all agree there is never enough cat content (barring ‘Cats’ the movie) and we always want to give our pets everything ‘they’ (read: we) dream of. I know people who would buy furniture for their cat than actually getting a coffee table for themselves. And now that we all are spending more time at home with our cats, the territory that was usually theirs for half the day is now a shared space. Your pet is also your co-worker now so it is important to keep them occupied while you focus on work and since most of us live in shared apartments or small flats, it is important that we don’t buy a cat palace but invest in a more space-saving structure like Catssup.

This particular piece of cat furniture is extremely easy to set-up and seamlessly integrates with your current home setting minus the bulkiness of a conventional cat tree. In 2020, it is all about how modular the product is and that applies to pet furniture too. With Catssup you can create a DIY jungle gym by simply clamping the different parts onto existing furniture and changing the set-up whenever ‘you’ (read: your cat) need. The best part is that it doesn’t require any floor space so if you want to lie down and WFH – you absolutely can with the extra room!

The Catssup set includes a Dot Step, a Sleeping Pill, a Space Ball, a Cloud Lounge and a Climbing Tower – I would just like to say that I strongly believe human furniture should also have fun labels like this and maybe we would be more invested in it. The Dot Step is a circular attachment that lets your pet explore vertical places with the Cloud Lounge and Sleeping Pill are resting attachments. The Space Ball and Climbing tower are play pieces to keep your cat entertained, especially during virtual meetings. All you have to do is screw and clamp for rearranging the pieces suited to different functions. The C-clamp is adjustable so it will fit horizontal boards/surfaces easily.

Pet furniture > human furniture.

Designer: Catssup.

Embrace Social Distancing with these comforting product designs

Will this pandemic change society forever? I have my thoughts. I think we’ll be a lot more careful moving on into the future, being mindful of our own health as well as the health of others. I also think we’ll see more and more companies relook productivity as something that can be done from anywhere, rather than just an office, and I won’t be surprised if a couple of designers use this time to relook how to change human behavior to allow us to be social, but safe. Before this ramble turns into a rant of sorts, we dug through the design archives to find some products that seem to embrace good design, privacy-promoting practices, and social distancing. Some of them border on introvertism, but think of it as ways to help you stay connected with yourself, rather than with others! Let’s take a look at them!

Sit in the Capsule Chair by Kateryna Sokolova for PALAU and as your behind sinks into the cushion, you notice your peripheral vision getting narrowed. Its cocoon-esque design covers your sides and your top, blocking not just vision but also absorbing audio, leaving you in a tranquil bubble as you sleep, read, or work.

The GreenFrame by Johan Kauppi of Kauppi & Kauppi is a floor screen divider, plant pot holder and a lighting fixture, all in one. Comprising of a minimalist ash wood frame, the rectangular structure can hold up to three potted plants. LED lights line the ceiling of the frame. The illuminated frame functions not only as a light fixture but helps in nurturing and growing the plants indoors, especially during winters in areas with minimal daylight hours. The frame also serves as a splendid divider, creating privates spaces in bustling offices.

Foster + Partners has launched a chair with a tall enveloping form, to offer privacy to people working, helping them escape the bustle around them. Named the Cove Chair, the design is intended to function as a mini-office. Its generously curved form incorporates a wide, comfortable seat, an integrated USB charging point, an optional mains power supply, and a table, which can be used as an informal desk.

Designed to enhance the flexibility of the modern shared workspace, the Corner Office helps define personal space and create a sanctuary for concentration. Each unit can be placed on existing table layouts in a variety of positions to accommodate both large and small teams. They can be paired up or placed singularly in seconds, and will instantly provide visual privacy, sound reduction with soft felt, dimmable task lighting, and desktop power.

Made out of fiberglass and polyethylene foam, the Helmfon helmet by Hochu Rayu cuts out all outside disturbance, giving you your quiet zen, even in a buzzing workplace (Wall Street, take note). The shape of the Helmfon helps reflect away noise from around you, and its lightweight design means it can be worn easily, or even be suspended or wall-mounted. A portmanteau of the words Helmet and Phone, the Helmfon isn’t just a noise-canceling device, it’s also an elaborate pair of headphones. Equipped with a system board, microphone, speakers, accumulator, magnifier and space on the inside for a smartphone, the Helmfon enables wearers to watch videos, organize Skype conferences and even make calls from within the helmet.

Equipped with long side panels, a high back, and soft noise-insulating fabric, the Offline Chair is the perfect spot to find some privacy! Its cocoon-like structure and the optional roof that you can attach or detach according to your convenience make it even more of a safe haven! However, what really allows you to cut off from the world is the chair’s special “Offline Pocket”.  Simply slip your phone into the pocket, and it instantly blocks off Wifi and mobile signals. As long as your phone is enclosed in the pocket, you won’t be hearing it ring or beep anytime soon. Designed by Agata Novak, this chair physically ensures you stay online.

Note Design’s Focus divider is created for the brand Zilenzio and the panels come in several sizes. The larger size is suitable for the floor, surrounding an entire workstation, with smaller versions for tabletop usage. And the best part – it can be rolled up and stored in a backpack for today’s digital office workers who need more privacy.

When closed, the Alcove looks like any regular slim bag that’s carrying either your work files or your laptop. However, fold open the flaps and the Alcove turns into a portable workstation that gives you total privacy as you quickly get your work done on a plane, or in that Starbucks, or even in your office, to prevent your colleagues from prying into your workspace to see what you’re up to. Designed by Yared Akalou & Sergio Aleman Jr., Alcove is privacy made portable, giving you the power to turn your lap or any flat surface into an immediate no-disturbance work-zone.

The Relaxation Hoodie by Vollebak gives you the ability to switch off and recover, something we need more than ever – it’s when our bodies rebuild and our minds recharge. But we spend most of our lives plugged into tech and using downtime to push our limits. So the Relaxation Hoodie is like an isolation tank you take with you anywhere. It requires no tech and no effort. Just zip up and unplug from everything.

Featuring a solid wood frame, the Quiet Time (QT) Privacy Lounge Chair by Poppin consists of three ‘walls’ layered with foam and fiber for a fluffy, springy feel, promising to absorb all and every background noise, and creating a hidden oasis for you. The three ‘walls’ are actually two tufted surround pillows and one back pillow crafted to ensure that you’re comfort level is at its highest.

The writing desk that sort of looks like a low-key minimalist artpiece

The Pill Writing Desk really challenges a lot of fundamental notions of desk-design, if it were. With an unusual shape that’s eye-catching when closed and functional when open, the Pill manages to behave like furniture but look a little like minimalist art. The circular desk comes firmly wall-mounted, which makes it comparable to a wall-hung painting rather than a 4-legged floor-resting desk.

The desk’s pill-inspired design is divided into three units. The upper semicircle serves as a writing space with enough storage for your belongings (including your laptop), while the lower quadrants act as a pair of cabinets for other items you may need to store.

Designer: Emko

This wooden hammock was designed to be just as flexible and comfortable as a fabric one

Adam Cornish’s Wooden Hammock challenges the notion that Hammocks need to be built from flexible materials like cloth or rope. It instead, comes with a series of wooden strips, suspended together by rope, with rubber members between the wooden pieces to spread them out and prevent them from rubbing against one another. Ultimately, designed to be a rest for your spine, the Wooden Hammock takes inspiration from it, using a series of wooden vertebrae to achieve flexibility!

The hammock comes manufactured from plantation-grown Accoya plywood, letting it have the same strength as regular wood but with lesser ecological impact. The plywood gives it a unique texture around its edges, allowing you to admire the wood’s individual ply-layers.

Designer: Adam Cornish Design

Lie down and work from home without compromising on your productivity!

At first glance, the Altwork mechanical desk can remind you of the dentist’s work station but this is actually the craziest desk I have seen since I started looking for things that can up my work-from-home game. This desk is designed to suit your every need and really just whim at this point. Stand up desk? Yes! Lie down desk? Also, yes! As outrageous as it might be to spend close to $8000 on a work desk, I will admit that it would be nice to have one of these Altwork stations.

The Altwork desk claims to be the ultimate in productivity and ergonomics….and I agree, I have never seen a desk so flexible that it is practically a gymnast who also cares about your posture. This desk encourages productivity by molding itself to any position that you feel your best in. I personally love to stand and work but I don’t like being stuck in the same place, I work best when I move around and this desk allows me the freedom to do both! There is a demographic that may have health problems which makes it hard for them to sit at a conventional desk and chair in an office. This causes them to lose out on many job opportunities that they might excel at simply because there wasn’t a solution for “How will they sit in the office?” but, thankfully, technology today has given us the ability to work from anywhere and this desk’s shape-shifting form makes it a part of the inclusive design world which caters to the needs of differently-abled. Productivity and health is a universal right.

It is also healthy to keep changing our work positions throughout the day, so alternate between the usual reclining, standing and sitting but also come up with some innovative positions. Like can you do a yoga pose that is good for your back while sitting on this? Probably, yes. With the comfortable headrest and footrest, you can also nap right after your work is done. This desk is work-from-home furniture goals.

Designer: Altwork

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IKEA x Pizza Hut create a special pizza for the real pizza saver tables!

Have you ever wondered why do they place a little table in the center of the pizza? It’s to keep the cheese from sticking to the box but it is a very realistic mini table and I think it would be nice to have some chairs around it. I was clearly not the only one planning a house for Jerry (of the Tom and Jerry fame) because looks like someone at IKEA had the same thought and the iconic pizza table is a REAL THING now (I want it!) that is selling like hot cakes….or hot slices at this point!

We all love this table but we didn’t know we needed it until Ogilvy at Hong Kong rolled out a campaign that invited people like you and me to go into an IKEA store and buy a SÄVA table. Yes, our beloved cheese-protecting table is called the SÄVA and it is the life-size version of the three-legged plastic table on our pizzas. The table comes flat-packed in a pizza box which is really a full-circle (get it?) moment. Also, IKEA has put an end to our assembly woes with this table, it seems to be one of the easiest pieces of furniture to put together. Since IKEA took an element of Pizza Hut, it gave the food company a chance to make pizzas with their famous meatballs and I call that a very fair trade deal! It is truly the best of both worlds – the IKEA meatballs on a Pizz Hut pizza being eaten on the SÄVA table. That scene is mere art and someone has to paint it for the golden times of the Italian-Swedish-American era.

IKEA is no stranger to doing viral collaborations, its one of the reasons for their success because they go after what people think of and make it happen. Let’s continue thinking, IKEA and something from Taco Bell, I am sure they are listening just like they did for my pizza table.

Designer: IKEA

Furniture Designed with hidden details that put your IKEA furniture to shame!

We all love furniture design, especially the ones that highlight and focus on individual details. It is the love of those details that is encompassed in this collection! Curated especially for furniture lovers, each piece in this curated collection has a story to tell by its craftsmanship!

Aero bar cart by Plataform4 for Lider Interiors shows us a more elegant version of the classic straw woven ventilated cabinet door contrasted by a simple leather pull. This merging of two extremely traditional materials in a modern avatar is guaranteed to be a show-stealer, letting you store your bar essentials while bringing a light airy feel to any room.

With an appearance that almost mimics the fragmented beauty of terrazzo, the PVC Bench by UAE-based designer Ammar Kalo relies on a new type of composite material developed by recycling old PVC drainpipes. The transparent resin reveals the multiple PVC shards in a way that seems to contrast the bench’s overall smooth, soft, organic design.

Olly Desk by Pavel Vetrov features a perfect little niche in your table desk that holds your stationery in place for you. Along with this, there is a small cut out that holds all the wires and cables from a laptop, computer or other equipment in the center of the table. Who needs to buy more organizers when your desk is so mindful of your needs? We are in love already.

Culturally, the Japanese have been known for their attention to detail while maintaining a minimal aesthetic and this same technique can be seen in Hamanshi Design’s Paraboloid Chair. Composed of a bentwood frame and a characteristic rope back, the hyperbolic form tightens up the diagonal rope back and can be optimized as per the user’s back to disperse pressure.

Meet the Big Foot Table, obviously inspired by the well-known mythical giant, this table features equally natural wooden legs! The beauty of the original wood has been maintained throughout this table, right from the cracks to the texture that is retained and even highlighted by the space surrounding the wooden legs by designer Philipp Mainzer.

This beautiful dining table joint by Philbé Design is so smooth, it seems almost too beautiful to be true. Merging those three pieces of wood almost seamlessly, this table is the perfect example of how a single tweak can elevate everyday designs!

The Polly cabinet is a versatile storage and shelving solution. Made in solid timber, the Polly cabinet celebrates simplicity combined with subtle flowing lines and as always with TIDE Design, it is the beautiful positioning of the slanted wooden legs that caught our attention!

Making its mark in the collection of small dedicated studios, we have the Oria Armchair by Rafael Moneo, designed for Hermès. The craftsmanship shines through in the natural oak frame, taurillon H leather back and traditional cane seat. We can just imagine this chair aging over time with the beautiful leather adjusting to your needs.

Modi sofa by Lars Ernst Hole of Krafted builds a bridge between rectangular and curved shapes and is inspired by both Nordic and Asian traditions. The details of this minimal joinery emphasize the minimal nature of this product.

Olof Davidsson of OD Form created this textured stool and we can’t stop wow-ing over the texture of that birchwood design.

Architecture legend, Bjarke Ingels, ‘pivots’ their couch towards the future of flexible living

Bjarke Ingels is a movie star of the architecture world, but he is also an artist and a trailblazing source of inspiration that goes beyond the structures he builds. A decade ago he started spreading the word on his philosophy of sustainable hedonism which bridges the gap between environmentalism and luxury – they can coexist and Ingels showcases that in his work. What sets him apart is that everything he creates has drawn inspirations from ideas, things, art and even games that are totally unrelated to what he is building but still shines through subtly. The latest example to prove this point is the Voxel sofa for a Danish brand, Common Seating, which is a harmony of elements from Minecraft (which Ingels loves!), Q*bert video games as well as the work of Modernist architect Mies van der Rohe.

The Voxel sofa is, in the simplest words, made to adapt to the environment and the user’s needs. Bjarke Ingel’s firm, BIG, looked into how they design their architectural projects like their Lego House, 79 & Park apartment block and the 2016 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion when creating the modular sofa system. The team made a grid of pixel-like blocks to form the seats and called it Voxel. The name and aesthetic of the sofa come from the word’s actual meaning which is a graphic and interface design term for ‘3D pixel’. Voxel will look and mean something unique to every individual user and space.

Voxel can be moved, repaired, flipped, added on to or reduced with ease based on its surroundings. It represents the future of modern furniture – pieces designed to serve the user with multiple functionalities with a form that fits in every room. The sofa system is built with four major parts – armrests, backrests, seats, and legs, and all of these can be interchanged and assembled in multiple ways.  The pieces connect with simple metal cylinders that slide into holes and give it its modular essence. “The grid-like system creates a family of units that can be configured into multiple seating scenarios, from single-unit couch to large configurations,” says Jakob Lange, partner at BIG. With the rapid evolution of our culture and lifestyle, Voxel has the ability to mold itself organically to any ecosystem.

The sofa’s design reduces waste by encouraging owners to exchange or repair separate parts if needed, instead of throwing the entire piece out. Voxel is made on-demand and shipped directly from the workshop to ensure it only produces what is necessary and manages waste responsibly. Voxel promotes Bjarke Ingel’s idea of flexibility and sustainable living in its own didactic message of being able to modify and adapt to where we are in the moment with our core values intact. Lang goes on to say, “If it were a person, [it] would be able to move, flex and adapt to different configurations, making it agile in any environment – at home or at work – and responsive to any individual. The person can really grow and live with this sofa long-term.”

Ingels has always viewed architecture as the art and science of making things that fit the way we want to live our lives, it is a constant evolution of ideas. I’ll leave you with this thought inspired by Bjarke Ingels – sustainability is not a moral sacrifice but a design challenge and we have the tools to design ecosystems that optimize the flow of people, resources, economies even…so why not give back with the power to create?

Designer: BIG Group

Logitech and Herman Miller team up to design ergonomic gaming furniture

Plenty of gaming chairs look cool, but whether or not they're actually good for your back is another question. Furniture company Herman Miller and Logitech's gaming hardware brand Logitech G want to change that. They're teaming up to create a line of...

Phillipe Starck’s Broom – A sustainable chair that swept away industrial waste like magic

Here is some food for thought – what if our leftovers could be turned to functional furniture that looked food? I mean good, that looked good! Phillipe Starck is a French designer which means he eats really good food and has managed to turn the leftovers into some really good chairs called the Broom for Emeco. Global food waste (aka leftovers) is twice as high as predicted reports CNN but leftovers don’t necessarily mean just food – it is any waste that ends up in the trash and the solution to waste management lies in creative, sustainable design. The Broom is a fine example of just that! Recycled, recyclable and designed to last – this is where rubbish becomes responsible.

The relationship between Phillipe Starck and Emeco is what turned the company from just a US Navy supplier to a coveted furniture design brand. “Working with Emeco has allowed me to use recycled material and transform it into something that never needs to be discarded – a tireless and unbreakable chair to use and enjoy for a lifetime,” says Starck who believes every creator has a duty to the society. Emeco uses recycled aluminum, recycled PET, reclaimed wood polypropylene, eco-concrete, and cork. In fact, the Broom chair is made of 90% reclaimed waste polypropylene and wood fiber that would normally be swept into the trash – hence the name!

Broom is the ingenious result of a design collaboration that both avoids and eliminates waste. It is made from a compound of industrial waste from lumber factories and industrial plastic plants – 75% waste polypropylene and 15% reclaimed wood that usually ends up in the trash. It checks all the boxes for sustainable furniture with its three-fold environmental impact – less energy, less waste, and less carbon. “With the Broom chair, it is about less and more. We chose less – less “style”, less “design”, less material, less waste, less energy. And so, the Broom chair became so much more” says Starck when talking about the design process to make a chair that does more than being a surface to sit on.

The Broom comes in 6 colors, can be stacked easily, perfect for outdoor use and very low maintenance (honestly, just clean with soapy water and wipe with a soft cloth).  The wood particles create a speckled texture that gives the surface a warmer, more natural touch, each chair will have its own unique textured pattern. Wood is good, polypropylene is not so good, but the combination made from the two gives us a material that lasts like synthetic but has the spirit of nature. This is sourced from woodshops and plastic producing worksites, it is then cleaned, compressed and transformed into a wood composite that works for the environment instead of harming it.

“Imagine”, says Philippe Starck, “a guy who takes a humble broom and starts to clean the workshop and with this dust he makes new magic” and we bet JK Rowling will agree that brooms are truly magic.

Designer: Philippe Starck for Emeco.