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YOY, the Tokyo based design firm, unveiled its latest creation at the 2013 Milan Design Festival: canvas furniture. Not to be confused with furniture that is simply just made out of canvas, this furniture is actually a piece of canvas art that can be hung. Made from a frame of wood and aluminum with an elastic fabric stretched across it, each of the pieces appear to be two-dimensional from a distance. Come closer and you’ll discover that the chairs are actually functional, somewhat three-dimensional objects that can be sat on—although we wouldn't quite describe them as furniture.


Limitations often promote creative solutions. To create their Polígono furniture line, the Chilean designers at Losgogo gave themselves a three week deadline and severely limited their range of materials. The final pieces use only reinforced steel, usually found in the walls of concrete structures (sometimes known as rebar), and simple wood panels. According to Dezeen, Losgogo was able to create a total of 11 pieces of furniture, as well as six hanging mirrors. The designers painted the reinforced steel with a bright color palette, and included a few auxillary items, such as a wall-mounted bike rack and a simple hook to hang a coat.

With furniture, and pretty much everything else in life, the simplest answer is usually the best. Designer Erik Griffioen's Bed'nTable is a new solution to use space more effectively in a multipurpose room like a loft or studio apartment by combining a bed and a table. By having the headboard of the bed frame serve as two legs of an attached table, Griffioen manages to add a dining table or working desk to a space where it would otherwise be awkward. We think the sturdy build and storage compartment at the foot of the bed makes an idea well-suited to dorm rooms as well. [via design milk]

Every spring, titans of the design world convene in Milan to tout their new innovations—some practical, some heady. It looks like 2013 has been a good one. Here are five our favorite pieces shown at Milan 2013.

Tom Dixon’s “Mass” Collection
It’s easy to mistake the tables and shelves in Tom Dixon’s “Mass” collection for wood structures. The pieces, actually crafted from plated copper, feature “chunky” minimalist construction and the joints usually found in large woodworked furniture. According to the designer, the large construction is meant to give the furniture an authoritative role in a room. The collection, which somehow manages to make minimal metal furniture seem rustic, includes a dining table, console, coat stand, and a book stand.

'Slice' stationery holder by James Irvine
James Irvine, who passed away in February, has designed everything from furniture for Muji, to a one-off Mercedes bus for the city of Hanover, Germany. One of his last projects, a desk organizer for Discipline called “Slice” is constructed from a single piece of cork, in line with the company’s eco-minded design. The organizer comes in dark or light cork, and a little bit of the natural world in the office is always a good idea for productivity.

Konstantin Grcic’s “Traffic” Collection
Konstantin Grcic’s “Traffic” collection combines the exoskeleton of modern wire furniture with more traditional upholstery work. The line, produced by Magis, includes an armchair, a two seater sofa, an ottoman, and a chaise lounge. By using such plush upholstery cushions, the line is meant to question typical connotations (cold, uncomfortable) of wire furniture.


Kettal Village outdoor collection by Jasper Morrison
Outdoor furniture is meant to be moved. It also doesn’t hurt if it can be stacked and stored easily. The “Kettal Village” line from Jasper Morrison is an updated version of the classic stackable metal chair meant for use in the home, or commercial settings like outdoor cafe seating. And for longer meals, or just some extra comfort, there’s an optional set of slim-line cushions. The greyscale palatte is a conscious statement by Morrison, who believes outdoor furniture shouldn’t distract from the surrounding scenery. 

The Ark of Many Voices
In order to design an instrument for protesters everywhere, designer Marco Monterzino withdrew from commercial work, and instead spent his days in the Occupy London camp. During the protest, Monterzino worked as an apprentice of sorts with the on-site carpenter, learning how to use leftover wood scraps to create impromptu structures. After about a month in the camp he designed his “Many Voices” ark to help protesters solve the problem of amplification. “The Ark of Many Voices” has two roles: it’s a portable megaphone capable of repeating slogans and messages, but it features built-in recording to help archive protests.

Michael Schoner's Z Step display system wasn't designed for long term storage. The modular system can be twisted, rearranged, contorted, even flipped upside down to provide just the right surface for that instant and temporary type of storage that keeps shirts off the arm of your closest chair. For items on hangers, or fragile eyewear, the system includes a magnetic mounting system to keep everything in place. The system could definitely work in a home, but the adjustable panels, minimal design, and prominent display surfaces make it perfect for retail.

Raw Edges' offering for the upcoming Salone del Mobile puts a functional spin on the bookshelf. Booken switches the posture of book storage to expose spines horizontally, which creates an additional useable surface. Bibliophiles might worry about potential damage to the books, but small apartment dwellers will appreciate the the slim profile and extra storage in a smaller room or wide hallway. [via designboom]

Next month, the Italian fashion house Marni will show its new line, 100 Chairs, at the Salone del Mobile in Milan, Italy. The line plays heavily on backyard nostalgia by blending the vintage woven plastic aesthetic with more modern framing. 100 Chairs includes chaise-lounges, rocking chairs, tables, and dining chairs. The chairs are also responsibly manufactured: all plastic materials are recycled and, as with last year's line, all the chairs were built by a company that employs newly released Colombian prisoners as part of a rehabilitation program. The Salone del Mobile runs April 9–14, 2013.

It takes a certain panache to decorate a tiny urban pad. We live in New York City and store our shoes in the stove—we get it. And Parisian designer Philippine Lemaire gets it, too. Her convertible Itisy Table for Ligne Roset is nothing short of well-polished functionalism. Flexible segments cut out of three of four table tops join and rotate around each other to create a variety of configurations from a circular clustered dining table to a linear form suited to display. Available in American walnut or sawn oak, each top is stabilized by two solid oak legs that extend from a grey lacquer-coated stem at the joint. Those of us stateside will have to wait until June to get our mitts on the Itisy. By then, we hope to have cleared some extra space from our 500-square-foot glorified closet. 

The latest collaborations from Finnish designers Jari Nyman and Olli Mustikainen both concern firewood. One simulates the light from a fireplace, and the other provides a place to store firewood. 

Their Log lamp was inspired by the indirect light of a smoldering piece of firewood. Unlike an actual burning log, you can turn the lamp on or off by pressing the top of the lamp. The pair's Mägi bench is a minimal variation on the Scandinavian bench complete with different sized storage compartments that also serve as supports.

Mechanical Bureau by Joe Paine

Joe Paine's mechanical bureau isn't mechanized because the act of lifting a desk cover is too taxing. It's mechanized because Paine is a fan of the vintage mechanics of farm equipment from the last century. The bureau, with its extending work surface and protective cover, is also attractive to those who need to force themselves away from their laptop from time to time. With a simple crank, a heavy wood cover hides the computer stored inside, and maintains your work-life balance.

Peruse and order Paine's creations online at joepaine.withtank.com