New Tricks, Old Dogs


Vitra, the Swiss furniture company, has commissioned some new design from familiar old names such as Frank Gehry, Jasper Morrison, and Ron Arad . Vitra held the first commission twenty years ago and this second time 'round it is interesting to note how many designers are using sustainable and environmental materials and how the green theme has infiltrated the show. First off is Frank Gehry who does a new chair and footstool out of cardboard and calls it "Little Beaver". Then Jasper Morrison has done a cork chair and side table (or foot stool) out of blocks of recycled wine-bottle corks--with no screws, adhesives or veneers. He said that he wanted his chair to "look like it was made by Eskimos (if they had cork trees of course)".

Naoto Fukasawa has created a series (pictured) of the same chair made out of different materials: cork, straw, felt, and stone, among others. The Campana Brothers are back with a large metallic hanging which contains pockets--furniture for the walls.


Tokujin Yoshioka has taken the kimono as his inspiration and has created a chair by wrapping a kimono around a metal frame. Alberto Meda has made a mobile wall which is 6 feet high and accordion shaped. Called a "performative screen", it stores up solar heat all day and releases it by night. He sees it as a technical object as well as an object which "mediates our relationship with the environment".


Shiro Kuramata is a revered Japanese designer, and in his memory, a picture of his metal mesh chair from 1986, "How High the Moon", which seems to float above the ground. :: Vitra Edition Via :: Design Museum

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