Street-smart designers look to our ever-expanding megacities for inspiration

Incorporating Bluetooth speakers and solar panels, Atelier Teratoma’s backpack is fit for a picnic in the city. Photo Diego Ene

The urban landscape is rapidly gaining ground. By 2030 the world will be populated by an estimated eight billion people, of which two-thirds will live in cities that are currently in a constant state of construction. Street-smart designers are looking for inspiration in our ever-expanding megacities, tapping into these concrete jungles for material resources, and integrating them into the building blocks of products ranging from fashion to furniture.

For the London Design Festival’s Landmark Projects, Alex Chinneck turned an electricity pylon upside down before tilting it at a dangerous angle. Highlighting the rugged aspect of a versatile material, Daevas Design’s Inside Out lamp has a support structure in rough concrete, complemented by the mere outline of a shade in contrasting brass. Skateboard and office chair in one, Mobilité by Tim Defleur and Benjamin Helle combines function and fun.

Based on the Panama Canal and its locks, Bram Vanderbeke’s abstract furniture collection Reinforcements comprises three pieces: Block, Beam and Column. Incorporating Bluetooth speakers and solar panels, Atelier Teratoma’s backpack is fit for a picnic in the city. Studio Dror used its freestanding geometric building block, QuaDror, to design furniture that is manufactured by Enrico Marone Cinzano used locally sourced industrial scraps for Armadillo, an extendible console.

With prints that reference subway tiles and marbled surfaces, a line of apparel by Print All Over Me and Snarkitecture acts as urban camouflage. Prints for Synergy, a capsule fashion collection by Megan Sadler, feature fragments of detailed architectural drawings. Felt – the fabric of choice in Irina Dzhus’s A/W 2015 collection – represents the austerity of 20th-century totalitarianism. The stark garments in Yuri Pardi’s minimalist Monument collection are the designer’s way to explore architecture through fashion. The jewellery that Tomáš Vacek designed for Gravelli is made from concrete and surgical steel.

This article debuted in Frame #106 alongside a host of inspirational interviews and projects. Find your copy in the online Frame store.

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