Look, I know something called the International Contemporary Furniture Fair doesn’t sound especially exciting. You’d be wrong, though – we’ve seen some pretty interesting takes on the things that go under your computer come out of ICFF over the years, and this year’s fair figures to be no different. The Rochester Institute of Technology is showing off the results of their Metaproject, and there are more than a few standouts.
Metaproject is a collaboration between students of industrial design and Herman Miller, Inc., a furniture maker. The project encouraged to students to take fresh looks at the relationships between people and between people and their gadgets, and then create furniture with those new ideas in mind. The Personal Space Bar was one result.
Kat Given was the student behind this one, a bar-height desk with space under the counter for somebody to sit back and relax. The bar counter facilitates face-to-face interaction and/or drinking, and can function as a standing desk, while the underside is outfitted with cushions for someone to lay back and get work done comfortably. Plus, the people standing can totally mess with the person underneath by knocking on the wall separating the two, which should make for the occasional disembodied hand reaching up over the counter and giving its take on the situation. Sounds like a lot of fun, to be honest.
Gino Santaguida created something of a hybrid of a coat rack and a privacy booth, called the Discretion Barrier. It’s a metal frame with a privacy barrier at about shoulder height, which people can duck behind if they need to make phone calls. If you want your whole body to be covered up, and not just your head, no worries – the metal frame can also act as a coat rack, giving more privacy and making sure there’s no wasted space.
Alexander Bennett tackled the chair, creating a seat that can become two seats instantly. The idea with the Invitation Chair is to encourage spontaneous collaboration in the office – if you happen to strike up a conversation with someone and come upon a new idea, the chair can fold out to become a two-person workbench, so the two of you can get to work on making that idea reality.
There’s also Joe Colleran’s Kitchen Wall Desk, a wall-mounted desk that can also become a family-friendly chalkboard. When the desk is open, there’s space on the back of the opening to secure mobile devices while they’re charging, while the open lid can serve as a quick desk for laptops or writing. When you close it, the reverse side of the desk is a chalkboard.
These are just four of the 20 pieces on display at ICFF from the Metaproject. They all take pretty interesting looks at modern furniture (which is totally possible!), with results that don’t just look cool – they’re actually really useful!