Entries Tagged as 'Design'

Herman Miller’s Shell Shorts: A Concise History of the Eames Shell Chair

Apr 6, 2014

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We’ve been loving the latest installments of WHY, the online essay series from EQ3+ partner Herman Miller exploring why they do what they do. WHY’s most recent essay, Shell Shorts, condenses 70 some years of Eames Shell Chair history into just a few short paragraphs.


It sounded like an impossible task, but they did it!




“The story of the Eames Plastic Shell Chair really began more than ten years prior to Charles and Ray’s 1950 debut of their now iconic design…”¹ says Amber Bravo in the opening paragraph of her essay Shell Shorts.


Bravo goes on to look at the Eameses initial attempts at shaping plywood, their work with fiberglass for the original Eames Shell Chair, and then their move to molded wood and polypropelene alternatives when the original fiberglass version was deemed unsafe to produce. Bravo brings the story full circle with mention of Herman Miller’s newly reintroduced and environmentally safe Eames Fiberglass Shell Chairs, which were released last month.


A set of 12 Eames gifs (you’ve got to see these gifs!) accompany the post, offering a fun look at the fiberglass production process. The gifs act as movie trailers for a series of Instagram videos that Herman Miller released earlier this week. Follow @HermanMiller on Instagram to watch all 10 Shell Shorts.



1. HermanMiller.com, WHY: Shell Shorts, written by Amber Bravo for Herman Miller.

Visions of Urban Living: The FvF Apartment by Vitra

Mar 4, 2014

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Freunde von Freunden, translated as “Friends of Friends,” is an international interview magazine portraying people of diverse creative and cultural backgrounds. The magazine brings attention to artistic industries and provides an authentic look at the way people live and work. Just as its name implies, Freunde von Freunden started out by sharing portraits and stories of their friends. In just a few short years, the magazine has extended its reach globally, and today FvF features interviews with artists, designers and creatives from almost every part of the world.


FvF Apartment by Vitra_406100

Interior of Artbau (translated as “Old Building”), the FvF Apartment by Vitra.


Freunde von Freunden has always been about people, but you can also count on them to deliver gorgeous photography of the apartments and workplaces where these creatives live and work. The concept of international urban living is presented throughout Freunde von Freuden’s work (including their 2011 printed publication, the FvF Berlin Book) and a common thread was discovered: Suiss furniture manufacturer Vitra. In over 500 portraits of international creatives, in almost 50 cities internationally, Vitra has always been a reappearing and natural, but not coincidental, component.


Based on their common styles and experiences, Vitra and Freunde von Freudon opened Altbau, their first apartment in Berlin, last week. Altbau, translated as “Old Building,” is a 65 square metre (700 square foot) flexible and adaptable space. The apartment will offer a platform for innovative products from friends and fellow partners, and will serve as a venue for events and presentations.


We’re a big fan of Freunde von Freudon, and since EQ3 is an authorized Vitra dealer, we’re naturally excited to follow this new collaborative project. We encourage you to check out Vitra.com and FreundevonFreundon.com each month to see more inspiring examples of selected creative minds.


FvF Apartment by Vitra_406101


FvF Apartment by Vitra_406103


Image Source: All photos used with permission from Vitra.

Herman Miller Reintroduces Eames Molded Fiberglass Chairs

Mar 3, 2014

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It’s a big day for the design community! Today marks the much anticipated return of the Eames Molded Fiberglass Chairs to the Herman Miller Collection, in collaboration with the Eames Office. Also referred to as Shell Chairs, the Molded Fiberglass Chair was designed in 1950 by Charles and Ray Eames, and later discontinued in 1980 when the chair’s plastic shells was discovered to be environmentally harmful.


With advancements in safe fiberglass composition, the newly reintroduced Shell Chair is able to retain the lightly textured surface of fiberglass that everyone loves about the original, while honouring its commitment to environmental sustainability. The new chair utilizes a more environmentally sensitive material chemistry and manufacturing process. Wet glue adhesives, thermal oxidizers and other environmental control equipment have been eliminated from the production process, resulting in an emission-free product and safer working conditions for production workers. In addition, the chair’s shell is now recyclable!




The new Eames Molded Fiberglass Chairs are available in both the arm and side chair format, 8 archival colour options, and can be configured with the base of your choice: wire, dowel leg, stacking, rocker, and 4-leg.


We’re excited to offer these iconic chairs to our customers through the EQ3+ product line! Visit your local EQ3 retail store to place a custom order, or choose from EQ3’s favourite combinations online.


Learn more about the Eames Molded Fiberglass Chairs on the Herman Miller website.

Phillip Schöpfer and Daniel Klapsing of 45 Kilo

Feb 13, 2014

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Get to know the guys behind EQ3’s new Mesa Dinette Table!


Phillip Schöpfer and Daniel Klapsing, the Berlin-based designers behind the 45 Kilo moniker, are self proclaimed “super normal people” who have an innate understanding of the type of furniture people want to live with. Folding together woods, metals, stone and copper into uncomplicated shapes, their aesthetic is striking but not flashy, current but not trendy, and is helping them make a name for themselves with their concise line of furniture and lighting. They cite functionality as their main inspiration and will often spend months re-building the same piece in their workshop until they strip away everything but the essentials.



Portrait of Philip Schöpfer and Daniel Klapsing of 45 Kilo


This traditionally Modernist approach to design could stem back to their education at the Bauhaus University. The Modernist breeding ground, often described as the birthplace of Modernsim, was founded by Walter Gropius and later headed by Mies van der Rohe. Since its initial closure in 1933 the school has gone through a variety of incarnations and focuses. Today the school acts as an incubator for creativity, encouraging exploration beyond the confines of strict Modernism.


However, as the building itself is a relic of the pre-war Modernist heyday, it is impossible to ignore the schools founding principles ingrained into its architecture. According to Daniel, “studying at the Bauhaus-University forces you to regard your own body of work in the wider context of art and design history. Somehow being there motivates you to create things that will last longer than yourself and that will have a certain impact.” The two designers, who describe their process as “putting ideas together, frying them up and seeing what comes out” are inspiring. They design each product as though it is for themselves – meticulously researching every material and production technique, finessing every detail and living with their prototypes for months.



Mesa Table


During our development of the Mesa Dinette Table, it was very interesting to see their process at work. Like many great designs, the table was inspired by a girl – Phillip’s girlfriend had requested a simple dining table that would allow for her to easily seat guests in her starved-for space flat. Taking her requirements and creating a simple, detail driven base that ships easily and assembles even easier, the final design is both functional and beautiful. We are excited to launch the Mesa table as the first of what we hope will be many 45 Kilo for EQ3 collaborations.


We encourage you to learn more about the designers by visiting their website at: www.45kilo.com



Base detail




This article was written by Madi, EQ3’s Casegoods Product Developer, and originally published in the 2013-2014 EQ3 Catalogue. Browse an online version of the catalogue here, or pick up a printed copy at your local store.

Warming Huts 2014

Feb 11, 2014

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Every Winter, Winnipeg’s Red and Assiniboine Rivers freeze over, transforming them into the Red River Mutual Trail – the longest naturally frozen skating trail in the world¹. Of course, in true Canadian fashion, locals have found more than one way to put this stretch of ice to good use. Events like ice bike races, curling bonspiels, Winter Bike to Work Day and RAW:almond all celebrate and capitalize on the city’s cold northern climate.


But, perhaps, the coolest event to take place on the river trail is Warming Huts: An Art + Architecture competition on ice. The international competition was first held in 2010, and has since become an annual tradition. Each year, the Manitoba Association of Architects invites architects from all over the world to submit a Warming Hut design proposal. Winning designers travel to Winnipeg to construct their Warming Huts right on the ice, and visitors of the trail are encouraged to use and interact with them.


We recently visited the trail to check out a few of this year’s designs. It was bitterly cold that day, so we really got a taste for their warming effect. Here’s a few of the Warming Huts that caught our attention, along with short interviews introducing you to the designers behind them!



Red Blanket 


Winnipeg-Warming-Huts-Red-BlanketRed Blanket, Workshop Architecture Inc. (Toronto)






Workshop Architecture (workshoparchitecture.ca) was established in 2010 out of a desire to create buildings and spaces for communities and with community input. “We work collaboratively with our clients and the people who use the buildings and have a particular focus on education spaces,” says Helena Grdadolnik, BES, M.Arch of Workshop Architecture.



EQ3  What’s the concept behind Red Blanket?


Helena Grdadolnik  The idea for Red Blanket was to make something that is visually exciting to skate towards from a distance (a visual marker against the surrounding white winter palette), but that would also be warm and inviting when you arrived close to it. The wall of thick felt sways in the wind and will protect skaters from the gales. Each of the nine panels is sized to be the width and length of a single roll of bright red felted wool. The bottom ends of these monumental-scaled panels will act as a warm blanket for people to wrap themselves in, one or two at a time.



EQ3  What challenges did you encounter in designing a structure that works in Manitoba’s harsh climate conditions?


HG  We enlisted the help of a Winnipeg-based engineer, Roy McPhail, to ensure that the design of the structure would work in the climate, particularly the high winds. Another big challenge was to try to simplify the sequence of the outdoor construction. We designed the piece so that most of the finicky handwork for hanging the blankets could be completed indoors. Nonetheless, hanging the panels from the underside of the bridge was still a big feat, especially in the extreme cold and high winds we encountered that week. Our office worked with the building crew at the Forks Corporation, Dave and Colin, who were very skilled and amazing at working under Winnipeg winter conditions.



EQ3  How do you envision people using and interacting with your design?


HG Our warming hut is hung from a pedestrian bridge near the Forks market. People skating and walking the trail can use the red blankets as a visual marker against the surrounding white winter palette for miles in each direction. When people get closer, they can skate through the blankets and cocoon themselves in it from head to toe. There are two rows of blankets, so they create an outdoor “room” which will be a slightly warmer microclimate and an intimate space along the trail. People can snuggle up in the blankets one or two at a time or if it’s a larger group, they can pull the large blankets closer for warmth.





Winnipeg-Warming-Huts-Nuzzles-1Nuzzels, Raw Design Inc. (Toronto)






RAW Design Inc. (rawdesign.ca) is a young architectural office based in Toronto. “We work in a variety of building types and scales, but like to participate in competitions like this one to challenge ourselves to think outside the box and experiment with new materials, scales, and types of structures than we normally encounter day-to-day,” says Aaron Hendershott of RAW Design.



EQ3  What’s the concept behind Nuzzles?


Aaron Hendershott  The concept behind Nuzzles emerged from wanting to invert the prototypical hut. Moving away from the idea of an introverted enclosure, Nuzzles was designed for users to nestle into a structure encompassed by a multitude of insulated appendages, all while remaining connected to the outside and its elements.



EQ3  It’s sort of cheeky and ironic that Nuzzles – a structure intended to be used during the winter – is constructed with pool noodles. What inspired this playful approach?


AH  It’s funny, there doesn’t appear to be anything more out of season than a pool noodle in the dead of winter. But they also happen to be perfect for what we wanted to achieve: they have insulating properties, come in bright colours that stand out in the snow, and they are flexible and soft. Perfect for nuzzling!



EQ3  How do you envision people using and interacting with your design?


AH  Our goal was to provide an engaging experience by creating something playful and interactive for the visitors of the Forks. We hope that people of all ages will be delighted to play in and around them, climb them and jump into them. I’m sure people will find new ways to play with them that we hadn’t thought of.



Little Red Library



Little Red Library, David Penner Architect (Winnipeg)






David Penner Architect (www.davidpennerarchitect.ca) is a 4 person architectural office that works on custom residential, multi-unit residential, commercial, educational and cultural projects. “Of late, our work has explored areas of transparency, opaqueness and layering, social engagement and education, and minimalist constructions,” says David Penner, MAA, RAIC. of David Penner Architect.


Little Red Library is David Penner Architect’s second Warming Hut design. They did a ‘rogue’ hut called Corogami in the first year of competition, which received a lot of international attention and went on to win a Prairie Design Award of Excellence. This year’s design was not part of the competition, but rather it acts as a peripheral installation to the other Warming Huts.



EQ3  What’s the concept behind Little Red Library?


David Penner  We were searching for something iconic on the one hand, which is challenging with a budget of $1000. The concept was to develop a simple but powerful enclosure to house a conventional, semi-nostalgic and easily identifiable bookcase. We were very excited by the prospect of creating a miniature interior environment of the fantastical, of the surreal. We’re pretty happy with the results.



EQ3  Your design combines, what appear to be, two very distinct structures (ie. the ice fishing shack and the little free library). How did you make this connection?


DP  The traditional ice fishing shack can in fact be a reading room, the fisherman skimming outdoorsman magazines while waiting for that elusive tug on the line. I think it was only natural for us to consider the ice fishing shack when we first started thinking about a ‘hut’, reinforced by experiences we had on a frozen Lake Winnipeg. Upon reflection, the refinement of the shack into an archetypal model, an expression of the purist form of our design philosophies, was an opportunity we couldn’t resist.



EQ3  How do you envision people using and interacting with your design?


DP  We’re hoping that one’s movement from outside to inside will be like travelling to another place, like what happens when reading the descriptions of place in a good book. We hope it will encourage people to read.



Thanks to all of the designers we interviewed! Visit WarmingHuts.com to see all of this year’s Warming Hut designs. You can also check out photo galleries from previous competitions here.

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