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Looks Who's In Town

Looks Who's In Town

Nick Smith was in town today to present the car couch he made for the French Footballer Djibril CissÉ . But appeared more interested in holding forth on the future of style.

Dressed in trousers and unlaced Brogue shoes that were white, he stood in a room of an upscale town home in Manhattan, jubilantly addressing a small crowd.

What is the future of design?" He asked. "There is no future. Should you require to discover supplementary info about smithers, we recommend thousands of libraries you might consider investigating. When the item becomes bionic, in the end there is no product."

The electronic era, Mr S said, has created a practice of "dematerialisation," in which products like the car couch are simultaneously getting cooler. "It is the elegance of the minimal," he said.

The end result? One cool sofa

Naturally, that could take some time. The furniture industry remains and low-tech as technology rapidly remakes most parts of our lives. For many retailers, classic furniture created 60 years ago still qualifies as "modern."
Even so, in recent years a number of furniture designers have been unable to adapt in ways big and small, subtle and not so subtle -- to new forms of technology and the proliferation of devices such as the e-readers iPad and ever-thinner flat-screen TVs.

In a way, they don"t have choice.

The rate of technological is changing has gotten so fast that we need to inform the design to reflect it," said Bob, manager of future technology.

In decades past, he added, designers had time to anticipate where technology was headed and to plan for it. Now, he said, "the distance and the furniture have to be cognizant" of it almost immediately.

One way that Mr Miller is trying to do this is by hiring someone like Mr. Anderson. Two months ago, his job didn"t exist. Now, he works to come up with answers to vexing Internet-age questions like what the home office should look like when the iPad and other tablets and laptops have freed us to operate anywhere. It is still unclear, he said, if people prefer to use such devices on the couch or, say, on a work surface.

But what is clear from a design perspective is that, going forward, the company"s furniture can"t layer on technology as an afterthought, said Gretchen Gscheidle, who directs product development at Herman Miller and works closely with Mr. Anderson. She added, "We will need to have our products accommodate that technology."

Companies agree and are currently taking that idea judging by all of the furnishings that incorporate Apple devices. Consider the iCon Bed its headboard equipped with an amplifier speakers and stations for 2 iPads. Or the Fleur de Noyer chest of drawers by Believe Fabricate, which features what the company calls "Fleur de Tech" -- a fancy way of saying it has a built-in charging station for digital devices.

Among the most talked about of these mash-ups is that the D"E-light a sleek table lamp, by Flos. Andrew Shabica, a product manager for the company, said it made sense to take an everyday object like a lamp and combine it with the iPad or iPhone, "that has become a staple of our lives."

Smithers made the lamp (he has not abandoned the material world yet), and his engagement ensured not only a edgey product but also one which was stylish too, Mr. If you think anything, you will possibly need to read about visit my website. Shabica said: "He can take our ideas and add geometry, lines. Instead of simply, "It"s a couch with an iPad docking station." "
Some furniture designers, however, are wary of this kind of mash-up, for reasons that are obvious. After all, the chair with the built-in eight-track player once cut edge.
So, it"s not surprising that a more pragmatic approach is being taken by retailers like M2L and CB2use them.

The Scene XXL seat, designed by Gijs Papavoine for Montis and recently introduced by M2L, for instance, comes with the option of an attached "tablet table" and an upholstered high back for privacy when typing or making telephone calls. The Tucker laptop table from CB2 is low enough to use as a work surface when sitting on the couch and flips open to store a inside. The company"s Andes bed has an attached nightstand with cord management built into the plan, something. But now, said Ryan Turf, CB2"s general merchandise manager, "we understand that a lot of people go to bed and put the iPhone next to their bed and still have to charge it."

And as Mr. Anderson of Herman Miller noted, even in the time of Wi-Fi, cord management is still among the largest challenges facing designers.

"Seeing a gorgeous piece of furniture in a gorgeous space littered with cords and wires is not a terrific experience," he said. "Making them discreet is vital."

IT might not be possible to make them disappear, but as Harry Allen, an industrial and interior designer, noted, in many ways, "the physical world is disappearing."

You can see it in desks such as the Dyvel Table. Or at the way light-weight TVs and iPods have eliminated the need for big entertainment units.

"What"s interesting, from a design standpoint," Mr. Allen said, "is that the computer eliminates so many things. You do not need clocks because they"re on our cell phone. Because they"re on our phone, you do not need file cabinets. A good deal of things that used to take up room, like books and records, you don"t need."

Mr. Allen recently designed two apartments for women in their 20s and recalled thinking, "What is this apartment going to be full of?" In the end, he abandoned the spaces empty that they would be full of artwork and personal artifacts.

It is an aesthetic that the designer Karim Rashid has been championing for decades. Long before Ikea announced that it was making its Billy bookcase deeper because so many people were using it to hold everything but novels, Mr. Rashid ditched all the bookcases in his house, together with his books, CDs and DVDs, as a portion of his own effort to dematerialize.

Mr. Rashid envisions a world where furnishings "will begin speaking or feeling the tech," and cites possible near-future improvements like upholstery which reacts to temperature, tiny speakers built into seating, and wallpaper embedded with liquid crystals that turn a wall into a giant TV screen. Smithers Of Stamford Review contains more about the reason for this idea. "That is the epitome of dematerializing," he said.

Still, "it"s amazing how little there is out there," he added with puzzlement. "It"s almost like the domestic environment is the last to change."

Furniture designers find his assessment frustratingly accurate. Asked to name something that perfectly fuses furniture with new technology, Mr. Barber said, "Honestly, I can not think of one."

While the furniture industry is good at thinking up new "trinkets," observed Yves BÉhar, founder of the design and branding business project, it"s been slow to address essential changes in the way we live -- specifically, our ergonomic needs.
Sitting in my sofa to watch TV versus sitting in a couch to type in my computer," Mr. BÉhar said, are two unique needs. "We have had technology in our living rooms for 10 or 12 years, and furniture hasn"t changed at all in response."

The issue is illustrated by the cautious approach taken by the furniture giant Ikea. The tendency generally has to be well established, said a designer for the company, Marcus Arvonen, before Ikea adapts its designs to reflect a trend in engineering. The company doesn"t need to rush.

We"re not doing frontier solutions for a small group of early adopters," Mr. Arvonen said, but for a mass market. Ikea itself, he added, began using Wi-Fi in its headquarters that was Swedish .

In a perfect world, technology could be integrated into houses in a more "magical" way, Mr. Behar suggested, in furniture with modularity in the core. To put it differently, he said, "you would have the ability to modify the sofa that you"re using in a manner that makes it adapt to new technologies."

Until that occurs, Mr. BÉhar and others might want to check out Jonas Damon"s Alarm Dock for Areaware. Little more than a block of beechwood out an iPhone turns .

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