Transformer Designs: Transforming the Way We Think About Stuff
One of the things TreeHugger tries to promote most diligently is that good sustainable design, while being green and fun to look at, can solve problems as well. While all of the designers we mentioned yesterday [www.sundancechannel.com] do that in their own way, there’s one trend that we’ve been seeing more and more of lately: transforming furniture.
Answering the basic question of “Why have two when you need just one?”, transforming or transformer furniture is just what it sounds like: designs that changes shape or form to serve more than one function. Most often, we’ve seen it in furniture, but that still leaves a lot of room for interpretation: it can be simple or dramatic, something as functional as a sofa/table combination or as conceptual as a chair whose metal frame “melts” to go from task chair to lounge seating and back again (really!). Akemi Tanaka [www.sundancechannel.com] is one such practitioner, creating some pretty groovy furniture that goes from seating to table and back again with just a quick flip. Need a couch? You’ve got it. Need a coffee table instead? Got that, too, all in the same piece. It saves resources, saves space, and can even save money (two pieces of furniture are more expensive than one, usually).
The Ulo chair by recent industrial design grad Ian Watson [www.embryo.ie] is another, even funkier (and cooler, we think) example of this phenomenon. Employing internally lockable “flex joints”, the chair goes from task chair to lounge chair in one smooth, rubbery (almost melted-looking) motion, with spring-loaded locks used to keep the chair stable in either position. It sounds wacky, but you really might just have to see it to believe it, and we recommend you do so, right here [www.youtube.com]. It doesn’t look like it’d be stable, but because of a couple ingenious design inventions, it might be the chair you’d choose if you could only have one chair to sit in to work, eat, read, watch TV and relax.
Want more? TreeHugger has a treasure trove of transforming designs [www.treehugger.com] in the archives to dig through. For just about anything you want, there’s a version that transforms, and is more than meets the eye.