Design

*

The Future-proof Furniture Designed to Solve Tech-related Daily Dilemmas

Published by

A vanity table optimised specifically for selfies and a rug that helps you avoid walking into walls while VR gaming were among the objects presented at this year's Milan Design Week by Singaporean designer Olivia Lee. They all formed part of her “Athena” collection of furniture and accessories, which aim to solve some of the problems created by the presence of new technology in our homes. Rather than incorporating technologies directly into the items, Lee wanted to create products that would be literally future-proof by virtue of being analogue. This means they wouldn't require software updates and could adapt to the variously sized future generations of devices.

*

Olivia Lee said of the collection: “What I wanted to do was approach the idea of a smart home differently and to try to address the new rituals and the new normals of the digital lifestyle, but through a very analogue way. So all the furniture doesn't require any electronics. It's purely a revision and an evolution of familiar archetypes to keep up with our digital needs.”

*

The Athena collection incorporates a vanity, rug, acoustic panel system and tray tables in various predominantly pastel shades. The largest piece, the Arena rug, is designed to foster virtual-reality gaming. Currently, gamers immersed in a virtual environment have little awareness of their physical positioning, meaning they can easily bump into walls or furniture. The rug is marked by a tactile pattern of sunburst-like ridges near its edges, so that people immersed in virtual environments can use their toes to gauge their whereabouts in a room.

*

Of the growing need for VR friendly furniture, Lee added: “Virtual reality is becoming more of a norm in the home as a form of entertainment, but the home and the living room are not quite set up for this wandering in an aimless space. So the idea was to have these kinds of markers, which are a reference to those pattern markers you see on pedestrian crossings. It keeps you in the safe zone and you actually feel more secure when you're in the virtual environment. It's like a bridge between the digital and the physical.”

*

Another piece is the Alter vanity, designed to be used with a set of Sceptres table accessories. These small plinths have interchangeable tops; a mirror, smartphone holders and a “glorifier” for displaying personal possessions. The accessories cater to people who like to multitask while getting ready in the morning, allowing a person putting on their make-up to also (for example) watch the news, make a video call, watch a YouTube tutorial, or record their very own. The final pieces in the collection are the Emblem acoustic system of pebble-shaped foam panels, which are designed to be pulled from the wall for temporary seating during a party, and the Dais tray tables, which provide a work surface for people who like to work on their floors, sofas and beds without missing a beat.

*

Lee is now based in Singapore after several years in London, where she studied product design at Central Saint Martins. Her previous work includes a sketch pad with grids based on the golden ratio, and a series of dolls modelled after famous designers.

Comments

More Design

*

Design

Lacoste replaces logo for Biological Diversity Day

French clothing brand Lacoste has once again removed the classic crocodile logo from its iconic polo shirts to raise awareness for International Day for Biological Diversity (22 May). Save Our Species 2 is taking place today at the brand’s...

Posted by: Industry Updates
*

Design

New Butlin’s swimming pool brings the seaside inside

A new indoor swimming pool at British family holiday resort Butlin’s is based on a beach theme and includes the world’s first helter skelter water slide. The art-deco style pool, designed by brand and retail consultancy FITCH, cost...

Posted by: Industry Updates
*

Design

Coca-Cola shows spirit with new mixers range

Coca-Cola Great Britain has launched a new range of mixers called Coca-Cola Signature Mixers, which consists of four specially-crafted drinks designed to be mixed with premium dark spirits. Coca-Cola Signature Mixers builds on the brand’s...

Posted by: Industry Updates