In Karim Rashid’s scalable seating system, a mix of straight, concave and convex elements combine to create wave-like arrangements that allow individuals seated on opposite sides to have more heart-to-heart conversations. Of course, matchmaking is rarely as straightforward as it looks. In this case, the design’s sweeping curves are made possible by innovative rigid foam construction and four-way-stretch upholstery. In another clever manufacturing move, Heartbeat’s three elements are all assembled from different combinations of the same half-components, thus reducing the number of moulds required to make them and streamlining warehouse inventory. Moreover, since the connectors that hold each element together can be quickly released, it’s easy to reconfigure an arrangement when it comes time for a lobby redo.
Project Heartbeat Designer Karim Rashid, U.S. Manufacturer Nienkämper, Canada Photo Peter Lusztyk
A typical workplace plays regular host to two types of group meetings: casual brainstorms and formal presentations. The versatile Tam Tam table proves equally adept in both scenarios. When collapsed, it serves as a compact whiteboard for sketching concepts. Unfolded, it expands into a full 323-by-120-centimetre meeting table with the professional presence to impress even the most discerning of investors. Of course, the table is just as well suited to the educational or hospitality sectors, which often require extra work surfaces at a moment’s notice. To facilitate speedy set-up, Tam Tam can be transformed and fastened into place by just one person, while large-diameter lockable castors ensure it wheels between rooms — or into cramped elevators — with similar ease. If only brainstorm sessions moved so quickly.
Project Tam Tam Designer Arter & Citton, Italy Manufacturer Ibebi, Italy
Long ago, rammed earth construction — the process of pouring soil into wooden forms, then compacting it under great pressure — was used to construct the Alhambra in Spain and parts of the Great Wall of China. Today, designer Eric Haskins employs the technique to create chairs that foster both community and architectural education. Since producing his first Rammed Earth Chair using pneumatic tools, he has collaborated with a University of New Mexico professor and his architecture students to build subsequent editions by hand. Each year, the class determines the seat’s colours and pattern, stirs wheelbarrows filled with soil and mineral oxide concrete colourants and compacts the final mixture over five hours using tampers. To achieve the chair’s flat seating surface, each one is formed upside down, with a salvaged piece of steel rebar inserted to facilitate its eventual flip. The finished product is then donated to a local public space, where its natural materials will slowly and sustainably return to the earth over the decades ahead.
Project Rammed Earth Chair Designer Eric Haskins Design, U.S.
A trio of wonders: Karim Rashid’s Heartbeat for Nienkämper, Arter & Citton’s Tam Tam for Ibebi and Eric Haskins’ Rammed Earth Chair.