London – The way we choose to sit is largely dependent on time and place. That means we demand many different things of our seating: we ask it to motivate better working posture at work, to provide lounge-worthy comfort at home and, ultimately, to do both in public spaces. This year’s London Design Festival showcased a variety of pieces that succeed in getting loungers, workers, diners and every other kind of sitter off their feet.
We’ve collected a list of best-in-show seating presented at the week-long event – so, to borrow the title of Paul Cocksedge’s installation (cover image), please be seated while you enjoy this read.
[+] PAUL COCKSEDGE – PLEASE BE SEATED
Supported by Broadgate, British designer Paul Cocksedge took over Finsbury Avenue Square – the largest pedestrian area in London – with Please Be Seated, a large-scale installation of undulating benches made from scaffolding planks. Cocksedge collaborated with Essex-based interiors company White & White to reimagine and reuse the building wood.
[+] THOMAS FEICHTNER FOR BENE – STUDIO
Noticing an increasing integration of professional and private life, Bene was compelled to offer a workplace system to appeal to those who often fuse the two. The company worked with Austrian product designer Thomas Feichtner to create Studio, a modular collection meant to serve a variety of different individual working patterns and lifestyles.
[+] LAYER AND RÆBURN – CANOPY COLLECTION
The fashion and industrial design worlds come together in Canopy Collection, a collaboration between Benjamin Hubert of Layer and Ræburn. Responsible fashion designer Christopher Raeburn reviewed his archives with Hubert, focusing on the past use of surplus parachutes to make garments. Canopy translates the use to four rocking chairs, each built from recycled parachute upholstery and steel frames.
[+] DELLOSTUDIO FOR M.A.H – PROTOTYPES
London-based gallery Modern Art Hire (M.A.H) launched Prototypes, a series of one-off furniture pieces designed by Dellostudio. This is the first time M.A.H – which provides a curated selection of licensed fine art for temporary use – has commissioned new work. The collection consists of a dining table, four different chairs, a coffee table, a screen and a shelving unit.
[+] TON – BARSTOOL 813
Josef Hoffmann’s iconic 1930 bentbeech chair design – the 811 – has met a modern match in Czech furniture maker TON’s barstool 813. Like Hoffmann’s original design, the 813 can be finished with cane weave, plush upholstery or a combination of the two.
[+] CAMILLE WALALA – WALALA LOUNGE
French artist-designer Camille Walala transformed Mayfair’s South Molton Street into a public living room for developer Grosvenor. Walala Lounge, to be installed for the next year, is comprised of 10 benches and accompanying planters which spread over 200 m and allow passersby to sit, rest and socialize amid bold, colourful graphics.
[+] MAX LAMB – URUSHI WAJIMA
Japan’s ancient urushi lacquer craft greatly inspired designer Max Lamb, who has created a bold set of contemporary furniture using the technique. It’s a craft that often sacrifices the raw character of the wood for a high shine: Lamb’s lacquered pieces, however, retain it. An exhibition of the work – titled Urushi Wajima – was held at Mayfair’s Gallery Fumi.
[+] BOHINC STUDIO – LUNAR HOUSE
Lunar House was a pop-up exhibition from Bohinc Studio in a King’s Cross Victorian-era townhouse. The vibrant interior set-up – designed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing – featured objects and furniture by Lara Bohinc, including the Saturn, Apollo, Orbit, Solar, Lunar and Celeste seating ranges.
[+] DAVID ROCKWELL FOR BENCHMARK – SAGE
Taking cues from the classic drafting desk, David Rockwell developed a contemporary solution for flexible work surfaces. The Sage Sit-Stand Workbench and Desk – created for British furniture maker Benchmark – has a wool felt and natural cork privacy panel that functions as a pinboard and space divider, as well as integrated power and data and an illuminated arch.
[+] SIMONE BONNANI FOR MOOOI – HANA
Italian designer Simone Bonanni created a collection of soft, round armchairs for Moooi, naming them after the Japanese word for ‘blooming’. The Hana chairs – which launched at the Dutch company’s London showroom amid a lush flower installation – are offered in a normal, wingback and swivelled version, and can be accompanied by Moooi’s new Pooof.
[+] MOLTENI&C – D.153.1
The 2012 re-edition of Gio Ponti’s classic mid-century D.153.1 chair by Molteni&C was included at I-Made, London’s first exhibition solely dedicated to Italian design. The show, which brought together iconic pieces representative of the community, was housed in the Saatchi Gallery.
[+] POLTRONA FRAU – ARCHIBALD
Furniture maker Poltrona Frau celebrated the tenth anniversary of its leather Archibald armchair in London with its appearance at the I-Made Italian design exhibition. The design of the enveloping, elegant seat – curated for show by Giulio Cappellini – is by Paris-based creator Jean-Marie Massaud.