Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Can you picture yourself living in this living room with that furniture? It's been created by the FRONT, a trio of Swedish designers, Lagerkvist, von de Lancken, and Lindgren.

Newsweek's art critic, Blake Gopnik, describes the artists, design concepts and technologies that are already changing the way we furnish our homes.

The Front designer in the photo is drawing a 3-D full size lamp in the air.

Using motion-capture technology from the movies to capture her movements, the film of her drawing is fed to a 3-D printer that outputs it as a " resin" object — chair, table, lamp. It may look like it's made of skeins of dried Elmer's glue, but it can be produced with other materials.

Yes -- you can sit on that chair, hang that chandelier from your ceiling, turn on the floor lamp, and sip tea on that table. (A chair from one of this group's first drawings sold at auction for more than $40,000, but now, Front's products sell for more normal prices, including a lamp for IKEA.)

This is the showroom of Martino Samper, an Englishman, who uses scraps of old stuff he finds in the street, and transforms whatever he finds into decorative, interesting looking, usable seats on which you can rest, sit, relax -- desk chairs, rockers, armchairs, all sizes and types of chairs.

Critic Gopnik suggests Samper is creating "musical chairs." This artist won an award for creating 100 chairs in 100 days. Samper says, "I'm not living to create new furniture, I'm living with the past." He thinks using leftovers makes political sense.

Meanwhile, Scottish Geoff Mann has created another technology that transforms light shapes into solid, tangible "art" -- a lamp shade, based on the pattern of a moth trapped in a normal light, created a sensation. More recently, capturing spikes of light from a fancy candelabrum, he made this piece on the right -- you can buy it for $27,000.

Mann has also materialized emotion. A table of china and crystal dinnerware was displayed at the Museum of Modern art last year -- as you watched it and listened to sounds of angry words, you could see the dinnerware contorting, as if emotion were a wind.

Design team Lanzavecchia + Wai, created a futuristic pillow -- you can hug it, enjoy the heat which emanates from it, and enjoy the glow -- yes, it actually glows.

Damakersvan, a trio of Dutch designers, created another way to protect your land. They transformed standard fencing into "lacy" fencing -- a cross between a barrier and a doily.

I am amazed by all these ideas.

Gosh, I remember when we, John Cullum and I, first began furnishing our loft, the top floor of the building which we bought later on.

John found the green leather recliner, the Danish style couch, Danish chair, and coffee table. I painted a pattern on the table and also on the wall above the couch -- a huge pattern -- I made it with colored chalk and Crayola crayons.

The piece de resistance -- the TV, a second hand one we bought from the Salvation Army for $5. (Yes, five bucks -- it got only two channels but that was enough.)

Maybe that's why the new technology that's creating a whole new look to your home fascinates me.

Will the "new" furniture catch on in America? Maybe newlywed, or unwed gay or straight couples, or groups living together, will be able to get an app for their cell phones, that will transform their empty rooms in to virtual palaces. And "virtual" will soon become REAL.
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