Dif­fer­ent Strokes

Who says wood is al­ways good? Us­ing mixed me­dia and play­ing with a range of ma­te­rial is in. By SHELLY ANAND


When Cana­dian- Amer­i­can ar­chi­tect Frank Gehry in­vented his line of fur­ni­ture made of card­board, he started a de­sign move­ment that looked be­yond wood. Other de­sign­ers ap­pre­ci­ated his idea of ma­nip­u­lat­ing dif­fer­ent light­weight ma­te­ri­als in un­ortho­dox ways where form need not fol­low func­tion. To­day, many oth­ers are choos­ing to be dif­fer­ent as they move away from cre­at­ing ho­moge­nous cu­rated homes where dec­o­rat­ing el­e­ments are mo­not­o­nous. Their fo­cus is in­stead on ec­cen­tric­ity and whim­si­cal­ity, on per­for­mance and in­no­va­tion, while play­ing with di­verse ma­te­ri­als. From mak­ing benches out of ten­nis balls to us­ing shot­gun shells to cre­ate a chair, from bring­ing to­gether book spines to make a side ta­ble and mould­ing plas­tic to shape a trendy seat, these mav­er­icks don’t shy away from giv­ing fur­ni­ture a new face and fu­ture.


Dutch duo Tejo Remy and Rene Veen­huizen def­i­nitely be­lieve in do­ing things dif­fer­ently. Re- use and re- ap­pro­pri­a­tion comes nat­u­rally to them. A look at the un­usual and un­con­ven­tional benches ( fea­tured on the pre­vi­ous page) by them that make use of ten­nis balls shows how an or­di­nary piece can be made al­lur­ing yet fully func­tional. Con­structed from dozens of small, bright yel­low bouncy felt, rub­ber balls and a steel frame, the mod­ern- day adap­ta­tion is both com­fort­able and sturdy. The de­sign­ers de­cided to make the seat­ing ar­range­ment unique by con­nect­ing the balls over again, just like the process of cell di­vi­sion. De­pend­ing on the size, these units can eas­ily seat two and more peo­ple.


The supremacy of a chair over other pieces of fur­ni­ture re­mains un­chal­lenged. What­ever the size, shape and style, it is still the first thing to be picked when do­ing up a home. A look at Brook­lyn­based Alexan­der Reh’s seat made of over 450, 12- gauge shot­gun shells and London- based Tom Dixon’s poly­mer set- up proves how this four- legged con­trap­tion’s de­sign di­men­sions have un­der­gone a sea change.

Reh’s Fully Loaded cre­ation has a per­fo­rated steel frame, gun- blued by hand and loaded with re­fur­bished, once- fired gun shells. Due to dif­fer­ent colour of the two

parts of the shells, it ap­pears mag­i­cal; golden when viewed from front and red from be­hind. Dixon’s Fresh Fat Easy chair on the other hand, smartly and con­ve­niently uses ex­truded plas­tic which is formed by hand into a re­peated link pat­tern. The clear- hued struc­ture, which is quite com­fort­able to sit- in, can fit into mod­ern and min­i­mal­ist liv­ing spa­ces with­out much fuss.


Creativ­ity is all about con­nect­ing things. This sim­ple and work­able no­tion is the driv­ing force be­hind US- based mod­ern fur­ni­ture stu­dio BRC Designs. It melds time­less and pe­cu­liar ma­te­ri­als into ex­clu­sive but sim­ple designs. The brain­child of Ben­jamin Rollins Cald­well, the la­bel re­cy­cles ma­te­ri­als and pumps a fresh breath of life into them. The spine­less side ta­ble and bi­nary low ta­ble are two such ex­am­ples from its wide- rang­ing port­fo­lio.

Made from a vast col­lec­tion of book spines taken from dif­fer­ent ar­eas of study and in­ter­est such as busi­ness, self- help, fi­nance, en­cy­clopae­dias and lit­er­a­ture, the aptly called spine­less ta­ble is up­hol­stered with brass nails that form an in­ter­est­ing patch­work sur­face. Fin­ished in a red- stained oak and high gloss black lac­quer, it has two drawer com­part­ments to take care of stor­age needs.

If this was not enough to sat­isfy the creative quo­tient of the de­signer, the bi­nary low height cof­fee ta­ble is sim­ply out of the world. Fit for techie geeks, it is in­spired by pal­lets of ob­so­lete com­put­ers and elec­tron­ics pro­cured from a lo­cal ware­house. The sur­face is lay­ered with a col­lage of moth­er­boards, com­puter chips, LED screens and hard drive disks all held in place by me­tal screws.

Don’t touch wood any­more, or rather use it spar­ingly within the home. Take a break from this age- old sta­ple when out scout­ing for es­sen­tials next time and do the en­vi­ron­ment a favour. There is a whole new world of ex­cit­ing raw in­gre­di­ents to be ex­plored that can give your turf a new def­i­ni­tion by mov­ing away from the mun­dane.

Min­i­mal­ist and in­trigu­ing, London de­signer Tom Dixon’s fresh fat easy chair is made of plas­tic

Go bal­is­tic with this hot seat, by Broklyn- based Alexan­der Reh, made from used shot­gun shels

Bi­nary ta­ble made from com­puter and elec­tronic chips ( left); spine­less ta­ble that uses books as the base ma­te­rial ( be­low). Both are by US- based BRC Designs.

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