Furniture Design

Furniture Lust to Kick Off 2020 – The Woolsey Smart Desk

Four years ago I was lucky enough to be chosen for the IKEA Home Tour when they were here in Kansas City. My video got me a home office makeover that turned out really nice. All of the furniture was supplied by IKEA and the Home Tour Squad spent 3 days redesigning my office. Part of the office makeover package was a sit/stand desk that I have used ever since. BEKANT.

I have to admit I have mixed feelings about the BEKANT Desk that I’ve been using since it was installed. I’ve had to replace the drive solenoid on it twice now, and the controls to raise and lower the desk can be a bit temperamental at times. The slightest variation in pressure and the desk comes to a stop. The work surface is ample, and the motor raises and lowers the desk in a fluid fashion which is nice. The problem is that the desk feels a bit on the cheap side, and when you spend 8 to 10 hours a day sitting or standing at your desk, you begin to think about better quality, or how you can hack your desk to make it feel like a higher quality piece of furniture. The other thing that pops into your head is “Should I just replace it with a better quality desk?”

Yawn

The thing I find true about most sit/stand desks either look like they were designed by an engineer with no value on aesthetics or they have a very traditional look that doesn’t really fit with my personal style. What I want is a really nice piece of furniture with solid cable management, features, with a modern flair. So, I began my quest and while cruising the internet today I came across the “Woolsey Smart Desk” by Sean Woolsey.

The Sean Woolsey Smart Desk is available in two different materials – walnut or white oak allowing you to choose a material that works best with your current office or workspace. The Smart Desk is filled with all sorts of features I love. Cable slots so you can charge devices in the drawers out of sight. The motor control is hidden in the right drawer helping to keep your workspace tidy. The control unit also allows you to program 4 specific stop heights for different users. (very handy for me. I’m 6 foot 4 and my wife is 5 foot 4″) The motors that drive the desk give off very little noise (BEKANT is loud as hell) There is a built-in surge protector. It has a built-in QI Charger for wireless charging. Oh, and did I mention it’s absolutely gorgeous?

Click through to Vimeo to see the entire series of videos on the Smart Desk.

Just look at it. The shape is subtly rounded. Drawer hardware is removed so that the front of the desk becomes an uninterrupted shape. The monitor riser is unobtrusive. Cables are hidden away out of sight. It’s simply stunning.

Clearly, nothing has been left out when designing the Sean Woolsey Smart Desk with real attention to detail in the materials used and the little design touches which set it apart. Sean Woolsey wanted to include everything for the busy professional to stay organized with a luxurious yet functional design that offers everything you will need to keep yourself motivated and creative day in, day out.

I just need to figure out how to afford this. At $3000.00 it’s a hefty investment for sure. If I plan on dropping that kind of coin on a desk it’s going to need to become a family heirloom and something I plan on using for the next 20 years.

A 1955 Classic Reissued by Carl Hansen & Son.

Having spent the last 3 and a half hours working standing up, looking at a well-designed desk that you sit at is a refreshing break. Don’t get me wrong, I choose to work standing up, my desk can raise and lower, and I really do try to work standing for at least 4 to 5 hours a day. That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate a piece of quality design, and a desk you sit at.

Starting this October you will be able to pick up one of Poul Kjærholm’s tables originally designed for the Royal Danish Academy of Arts in 1955. Poul Kjærholm was a master at blending steel and wood together to create a minimalist yet functional form. His design aesthetic  is expressed perfectly in these two tables. Both are characterized by clear forms and light grace, the tables made a significant contribution to the designer’s reputation as a pioneer of Danish functionalism.

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Produced by Carl Hansen & Son, the tables will be available with tops made of Oregon pine or oak veneer, and with oiled, varnished or black-lacquered surfaces. The steel frame comes lacquered in black or grey. Each table can be fitted with a drawer of either oiled, varnished or black lacquered oak. The Professor Desk (PK52) is 28 inches high, by 72.4 inches long and 33.4 inches deep; the Student Desk (PK52A) is 28 inches high, 55.7 inches long and 33.4 inches deep. Both tables will be available for purchase in October.

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“Velo”, or Chair Porn. Not That Kind of Porn. Get your Mind out the Gutter.

It’s been awhile since I have posted any chair porn, so here you go. Velo designed by Jan Waterston is a solid example of how taking a good creative concept and executing properly can reinvent an ordinary item creating intriguing beauty.

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The chair has been redefined by Waterson as a sinuous piece of furniture with a sculptural, yet inviting presence. It is a demonstration of  master craftsmanship and creativity as it becomes a flowing form that wraps around the seated form. When not in use it is an object of art, a sculptural piece of wood that is visually dynamic, even though it is a static object.

Waterson says the beauty the chair was  inspired by the flowing forms of bicycles, “This relationship between body and object is echoed in bicycle design with tubes flowing seamlessly into one another, constantly changing shape, to improve function and aesthetic”. 

Velo is hand sculpted from ash and features seamless construction, which is a testament to the Waterson’s woodworking skills Each element of the chair blend into one another, making the Velo seem as though it is crafted from a single piece of wood.

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Ori

Over the last 25 years, I have never lived in a space larger than 1500 square feet. For my wife and I smaller has always been better. I know that we are going against the grain since the average size of a house in America has steadily grown from 1800 square feet in the mid-1960’s to just under 3000 in the 2010’s. The reality is though, not everyone is can afford to, or wants to live in a McMansion. World-wide the average size of a living space  is between 1000 and 1500 square feet, and in larger cities much smaller at 500 to 800 square feet. That means less room for furniture and furniture that is designed to function with multiple uses, or in ways that save space. This is where those clever students at MIT and designer Yves Béhar come in.

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A team of MIT engineers have partnered with designer Yves Béhar to develop the ORI system of robotic furniture system for smaller/micro apartments that transform at the touch of a button or via a smartphone app. The Ori system is a compact module that incorporates a bed and a closet on one side, and a home office and an entertainment suite on the other expanding and contracting as needed to give up much-needed space. (This would have been so useful in our 850 square foot loft)  On one side the bed is hidden, sliding under the bottom of the unit beneath a closet, couch, and office to maximize space. When activated, the unit moves in or out to become a bedroom or a more generous living room. One side of the unit hosts a full closet, but also contains a desk for a home office. The other side of the unit holds a media center for entertaining. Each room can be preset for Each room can be preset for your specific needs so that one touch on the physical interface or on the smartphone app will morph the room.

Ori is more than functionality. Units can be customized with a variety of finishes, materials, and colors that truly let you design your space. And the functionality means a small space can be transformed into a multi-functional home in just seconds. Beyond small apartments and loft spaces, I could see this being used in smaller vacation homes, guest houses, hotels and more.

Detail

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