Formica International Exhibition: Bill Pedersen, TransFormica 2008

Another international corporate firm, Kohn Pederson Fox is like Skidmore Owens and Merrill as they are responsible for design the largest types of buildings in the world. Bill Pederson is very prolific and has designed all over the world, including the Proctor & Gamble headquarters in Cincinnati. He is almost finished with the masterpiece World Financial Center in Shanghai.

Mr. Pederson choice Solid Surfacing for his TransFormica chair was inspired by the layers of soil as found in nature in riverbeds. He layered grays, whites, blacks and natural beiges with Nickel Mica, Arctic, Pearl Mica and Black Lava Solid Surfacing.

This lounger for one or two is more sculptural than functional. It is one of the heaviest pieces and cut with CNC precision, sharp yet smooth in contrast.

Formica International Exhibition: Peter Eisenman, Chair #1 2008

Peter Eisenman is one of the founding theorists of the fragment theory of architecture or desconstructivist. Early in his career he was known for his houses, he named them simply numbered like House I, House II, and so on. As he began to build larger projects, he practiced his desconstructivist theory on spaces dedicated to design like the University of Cincinnati’s Aronoff Center for Design & Art, Wexner Art Center in Columbus, Ohio USA.

Recently completed project with great exposure is the Monument to Murdered Jews of Europe – the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin. At the present, Mr. Eisenman is working on the City of Culture in Galicia, Spain.

This is the first chair that Mr. Eisenman has ever designed, hence the name, Chair #1, just like his houses. As you can see from this drawing, Peter Eisenman’s design constructed with Artic white Solid Surfacing is very similar style of his numbered White Houses.

Mr. Eisenman created a jewel-box scale piece, small but powerful in concept. Sheets of the solid surfacing were cut through to create layered delicate grids with CNC preciseness. The top flips up to make a chair back, or down to create a small table. This piece commanded $18,000 as the first chair designed by Eisenman. The auctioneer thought it was worth much more and will go up in value.

Formica International Exhibition: Bernard Tschumi, Typogram 2008

Swiss born, NY & Paris based practice, Bernard Tscumi designed UC’s (Richard E. Lindner) Athletic Center, part of Varsity Village and created quite an impression.

Mr. Tschumi is not only an architect but a theorist and academic. He taught in Portsmouth Polytechnic, UK; the Architectural Association in London; the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies in New York; Princeton University; the Cooper Union & Columbia University, NY. His global projects include the Parc de la Villette Competition in Paris, his first major public work in 1982. He went on to design the Concert Hall in Limoges, Vacheron Constantin new Watch making Headquarters & Factory in Switzerland. Soon to be complete is the New Acropolis Museum in Athens (2009), the proposed new home of Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon.

Mr. Tschumi wanted his chair called “Typogram” to mirror the design concepts used for his Cincinnati Athletic Center. He also wanted to challenge the concept of designing with flat surfacing materials. He took the new ColorCore2 in New White and like skin, bent and rolled it into a sensuous curvy shape that was meant to be turned and rotated into different seating situations. The cutouts were surfaced in MicroDot finish while the main skin is a Polished finish to create a interesting play on shine and shadow.

The ovaline cutouts are to be practical to place cups or magazines for the user. Since the new ColorCore2 could be postformed and did not have the normal black laminate edge, the piece looks to be cut out of solid material. A solid piece designed in line with his Cincinnati building sold for $30,000.

Formica International Exhibition: Michael Graves, J Chair 2008

Next is Michael Graves, one of the founding theorists of postmodern architecture & product design. His style blends classical style with allusions and whimsy. He brought good product design to the elite, like Alessi with his iconic teapot; and as well as to the masses with everyday design for the style mass marketer in the US called Target.

Mr. Graves global projects include breakthrough architectural design with the Humana Tower in Louisville; his ‘Three on the Bund’ Shanghai wins Hong Kong Design Center “Best Design from Greater China” in 2006, and presently his team is working on Resorts World on Sentosa Island, Singapore.

Mr. Graves dedicated the chair to his good friend Jay Chatterjee, the honoree of the CAC event and named it “J Chair.” The concept was that since he was designing with Formica materials which are flat, he wanted to translate the material to the componants to make the chair easy to ship flat and reconstruct by just snapping together the tabs and holding the entire structure with pegs. Mr. Graves selected Spectrum Blue ColorCore2 and Formica Veneer in Indian Ebony.

The finished piece looks as animated and whimsical as the drawings. Mr. Graves is a great product designer, so his solution was practical and ergonomic. Due to an illness, he is now in a wheel chair and thinks about the practical aspect of sitting. He designed a swivel table that allows easy access for writing or working on a laptop. Mr. Graves piece sold for $25,000 for a limited edition of 4, but has the potential to sell millions of copies for $299.99 US.

Formica International Exhibition: Massimo Vignelli, CuboSeat 2008

The tenth and final chair is not a chair but three chairs to create any seating landscape you would want. Massimo Vignelli and his wife Lella are multifunctional designers know for their corporate identity, graphic, product and interior design. Both Italian born, NYC-based designers participated in the original Formica ColorCore competition, so we were very honored when they choose to work with the upgraded ColorCore2.

Massimo Vignelli designs in the modernist tradition, focusing on simplicity through the use of basic geometric forms. Mr. Vignelli’s graphic imagery is seen in the most important places of the world like the Guggenheim in Bilbao Spain, the Rome Termini airport and the infamous NYC Subway system.   He has completed corporate identities for Benetton, American Airlines, Knoll and more. Focusing on furniture, Mr. Vignelli and team has designed for Knoll, Casigliani, Poltronova and Bernini to name a few.

Massimo Vignelli selected graphic Black, Folkstone gray and New White in MicroDot finish to create three blocks with a “bite taken out of the corner” as Mr. Vignelli says. This is the basis for “CuboSeat” as he named the chair.

The three CuboSeat blocks are to be rotated, turned, moved into any position and the resulting composition still maintains it’s graphic-like concept. Massimo is loved by his peer group, but very practical in execution. The first set of three sold for $30,000.

Formica International Exhibition: Zaha Hadid, Cirrus 2008

Zaha Hadid, as you all know, is London-based architect who designed the Center for Contemporary Art (CAC) in Cincinnati. She was the key architect for the Formica project and her design demanded the highest value due to it’s complexity, size and her name value. The CAC was her first building in the US and she was the first woman to design a museum in US.

Zaha is the most internationally “hot” conceptual architect today. In 2004, she was the first woman to win the architectural Pritzker prize.

Her breakthrough project was the Vitra Fire Station in Germany, but now her projects span the globe from the Bilbao, Spain master plan, to the Performing Art Center in Abu Dhabi to the upcoming London Olympics.

Ms. Hadid’s design used our most basic and popular product, laminate in Polished Black. The laminate was glued to black stained medium density fiberboard, but intricately CNC cut into undulating layers of waves. The complex connection joints are art in of themselves.   The Cirrus design was conceived with the most complex design computer software that helped drive the fabrication.

Formica International Exhibition: Laurinda Spear, Trelleaf 2008

I introduced you to Laurinda Spear of Architectonica earlier as she designed a unique collection of laminates for Formica in 1997. Laurinda is a Miami-based architect that practices unconventional modernism, both abstract and romantic, playful as well as dramatic. She won the prestigious Rome prize 1978 and went on to build global projects in South America, Europe, Asia as well as her home town of Miami. Her breakthrough project was the Atlantis Condominiums, famous for its hole pierced through the center and accented with a palm tree and colorful graphic elements. Pictures on the slide show the Banco de Credito in Lima, Peru; Festival Walk in Hong Kong; Center for Innovative Technology in Virginia. After her Formica laminate project, she went on to design commercial textiles, architectural glass, furniture, watches and fashion under the division ‘Laurinda Spear Products.’

In her Trelleaf submission for Formica, she actually submitted 4 different color schemes. Both the CAC and Formica selected her Lemon-Lime version as it added the rare color in this furniture collection which is mainly white, gray and black. This is a innovative use of a new product introduced in Formica North America called ColorThru Compact and ColorCore2. Two different colors of the ColorThru Compact, Organic Green & Cafe act as the structure and the newly flexible ColorCore2 in Spectrum Yellow and Lime is woven for the seat.

This piece had challenges to achieve structure but still maintain lightness. This piece sold very quickly to the youngest bidder for $30,000.

Formica International Exhibition: Buzz Yudell, Sunergy 2008

Buzz Yudell of Moore Ruble Yudell has a passion for architecture that grew out of a synthesis of artistic and social concerns. Mr. Yudell’s firm are master planners that pioneered the use of client and community workshops in the design process. Mr. Yudell designed UC’s Student Life Center and is the process of very large plans for Grangegorman Campus planning in Dublin in 2011 and the master plan for Berlin’s Karow Nord region; in China master plans & housing for Tianjin and Chen sin bi an, Chongqing to name a few.

Mr. Yudell created a very practical lounge design called ‘Sunergy’ with the North American ColorThru Compact in Black and Café.

The ½ inch ColorThru Compact sheets were CNC cut into elegant members that when bolted together with horizontal rods create a very usable, durable lounger. One of the most comfortable chairs, this piece sold for $32,000. It was the mass market favorite.