AAD012 Comfort Contextual Research

Contextual research for ‘Comfort’.

I chose these designers because of their beautiful style of furniture and their core fundamental principles.

Karim Rashid.

Karim Rashid can be considered one of the biggest and most influential names in furniture design today. Rashid is well known mostly as a designer of edgy yet beautiful furniture, producing independently or for design powerhouses such as Martela, Vondom and Bonaldo. Sometimes referred to as the “Master of plastic fantastic” (Starr, 2019) he invokes various styles from geometric to bubbly, practical to fantastical and monochromatic to vibrantly colourful pieces that instantly transform any office, bedroom or lounge space into the epitome of fashionable 21st century style.  As well as furniture, Rashid has strong footholds throughout the art world and has designed luxury goods for Christofle, Veuve Clicquot, and Alessi and other things such as: lighting, high tech products, surface design, brand identity and even packaging.

Rashid regularly lectures at universities and conferences where he purports the importance of design in everyday life. Believing that design should be more accessible and that “For the longest time, design only existed for the elite and for a small insular culture. I have worked hard for the last 20 years trying to make design a public subject.” (Rashid, 2013). Rashid has documented his work over that 20 year period in his latest monograph, XX (Design Media Publishing, 2015). Rashid is “determined to creatively touch every aspect of our physical and virtual landscape.” (Starr, 2019) and it is quite evident that he has done exactly that.

One of Rashid’s works named the Koop chair, is very similar to the chair I am designing as part of this module and was designed to be one of his comfiest yet. He decided to experiment more with the egg shape as opposed to my more raindrop shaped chair, however they both have similar shaped back rests and a similar overall concept. His rationale is that the shape is “not submissive to slumping spinal columns” (Rashid, 2013). I found it amusing when I came across his quote; “I wanted the Koop chair to create an organic womb-like space.” (Rashid, 2013), not because of some infantile toilet humour but because I also had this in mind when designing my chair. I even featured the imagery of embryos and pregnant women as part of my mood board. Rashid and I, along with comfort, relate these things with serenity, privacy, purity and peace. His ribbed cushioning and solid shell with bright tones splashed over them, make this an attention-grabbing chair that invites you to want to sit in it.

Charles and Ray Eames

Charles and Ray Eames met whilst Ray was assisting Charles and Eero Saarinen at the Museum of Modern Art’s ‘Organic Furniture competition’ where they won the two first prizes by molding plywood int complex curves which was a relatively new technique at the time. This led tho them being recruited by the American Army to design splints, stretchers and experimental glider shells. They designed a molded plywood furniture set in 1946 that was produced by Evans Products however production has now been taken over by Herman Miller Inc. The furniture set featured a molded plywood chair that was called “‘the chair of the century’ by influential architectural critic Esther McCoy.” (Eames, 2021).

By far the most impressive thing the Eames’s ever produced, in 1949, was their own home in California. This was part of a program sponsored ‘Arts and Architecture’ magazine, which tasked designers and architects with producing an entire home that would serve as a beacon of practical and affordable, yet highly stylish inspiration for post war American housing design. The winners’ houses, would be left on display for other designers, architects and building developers to refer to and take inspiration from. Charles and Ray’s innovative design and use of materials made the house an architects mecca and it is considered one of the most important post-war residences anywhere in the world.

They are perhaps best known however, for their chairs. The highly popular ‘Eames chair’ and ‘Eames lounge chair’ are equally as legendary in the furniture world as their house is in the building design world. ‘The Eames chair’ could at one time be seen everywhere, serving as a lounge, kitchen or office chair because of its highly versatile design and multitude of styles available with interchangeable legs and optional armrests. It is also available in a variety of bright poppy colours or sleek monochromatic and industrial colours. ‘The Eames Lounge chair’, is exactly what it sounds like, a lounge chair. Even though this was designed in 1956, you would easily believe that it was designed last week and it would have no problem competing with contemporary designs. It has a bold and iconic shell, with a soft interior that ‘fits [oneself] like a glove’. This chair is iconic and will stand the test of time for decades to come.

The Eames chair:

The Eames Lounge Chair: