Any designer will tell you, including Yves Béhar of fuseproject, that designing a chair is a formidable task, and an appealing one. As this clip from the Wall Street Journal notes, the appeal is particularly strong for architects. That’s because, according to Barry Bergdoll, curator at MoMA, a chair “makes space, it has support, so in the end the chair is architecture.” Like architecture, chairs are so visible, our relationship to them so intimate, that designing them can give pause.
Béhar, an industrial designer, sought inspiration for his design of the SAYL chair from a very architectural form: suspension bridges. For Béhar, the project had appeal and risk. He says, “I practiced for more than a decade and waited to tackle the work chair. And it is only after turning 40 that I feel ready for such an epic design challenge.” Part of the challenge, says Béhar, lies in the fact that “every part serves a structural or tactile purpose. Every part is about creating comfort while needing to be visually cohesive and beautiful.”
An element of risk, certainly, but ah the rewards. And it’s especially gratifying when others recognize the achievement, in SAYL’s case the latest coming from IDEA.
What does a private office have to do with a bathroom door? Privacy, certainly, but it’s not about the executive washroom; it’s about the design of private spaces in the office and on a cruise ship. In the former case, the Wall Street Journal challenged four design firms to come up with the ultimate executive office. They all worked separately, but they all came up with a common theme: glass walls.
One commentator thought this was a way for leaders to be more transparent. But who wants to work in a fishbowl? Or live in one? The same day the Journal article posted, USA Today ran a piece on a new design for cruise ship cabins. The big news was that the Norwegian Line is abandoning a “compact” cabin design that put the bathroom in the open. It seems the experience gave the phrase “sea-faring adventure” a whole new meaning. Privacy, in all kinds of forms, is a necessary part of life. In the office, some people may need floor-to-ceiling solid walls and a door. For example, Herman Miller executives work in glass-walled pods with open ceilings and doors, but the glass walls can be made opaque at the flick of a switch. Plus, the offices are small and meant for intensive work. Meetings and private conversations are held elsewhere. What do you think: Is glass the answer?