PSFK’s Future of Home Living report signals our first large scale interactive exhibition that is open to the public in an apartment and exhibition space at 101 Apartments in Chelsea from now until August 16th. The showcase is a carefully curated collection of products, services and concepts that are a demonstration of the trends in the Future of Home Living report.
One of the products that is featured in the exhibition is the Camille Wall Desk created by Glenn Ross, architect and founder of canadian firm Vurv Design.
PSFK spoke with Glenn about the ideas behind the product, design and what he thinks will be the next trend in home living.
What was the inspiration behind the Camille Wall Desk?
Actually, the cantilever hinge inspired the whole design; I love kinetic furniture. The desk materialized as a densely programmed home for all the little crap that’s always laying around. It’s great to be able to close all that stuff away.
How has your training in architecture influenced the look and utility of your furniture?
I have an obsession with built-in and wall mounted pieces: little pieces of interior architecture. That, and a love for lightweight, easy movable pieces that can be easily moved to reconfigure a space.
And how do you see furniture interacting with the architecture of a home?
For me, furniture is part of the architecture of a designed environment. I don’t really distinguish between architecture, interior design and furniture design – it’s a continuum of the same core design principles – although the practice of each is totally different.
A lot of your furniture is made of wood.
Our connection with wood, more than any other building material, is emotional. It brings so much warmth into a space. And it has a lot of impact in a minimal space. Wood is alive.
How does this material highlight the design of your pieces?
I work a lot with wood veneer. If you think about it, it’s incredible. They slice wood about a millimeter thick and glue it together into plywood sized sheets. This surface has all the inherent beauty contained within the original piece of wood, but now it can be applied as a surface treatment. It’s a way of maximizing the beauty density in a piece of wood. Veneer also lets me create curves that are virtually impossible using solid wood. We are drawn to and love to touch curved surfaces.
Are there other materials that you enjoy working with?
Dirt. I’m not very good, but I love working in the garden.
How do you see furniture changing in the next five years?
We are witnessing a revolution in the relationship between makers and consumers. Social media is to artisans what farmers markets are to organic farmers. The social web has created all kinds of new environments where artisans and consumers can get to know each other. And like farmers markets, people are starting to realize that there is value in spending more, and buying less. There is a growing niche of people who want to know who made their world.
Will handmade minimal pieces continue to dominate?
I hope they will start to dominate. Wouldn’t that be nice? Imagine a resurgence of North American cottage industry. I have a dream that we will see the dominance of a manufacturing middle class again. Those of us who can afford to buy these pieces should. As long as there is pressure to be more thoughtful about how one consumes, handmade pieces will be increasingly valued.
How do design and utility interact in Vurv furniture? Which is the dominant feature?
Function first, form second. I was taught that good form is usually a result of a well functioning piece. If a design doesn’t function well, then it is not a good design, no matter how cool it looks.
Do you think that design is leaning more toward aesthetics or utility at the moment? And will that continue in the future?
Aesthetics and utility are not mutually exclusive. Utility is beautiful. Especially when it is combined with carefully chosen materials. I think the recent appreciation of mid-century modern pieces as antiques has re-sparked an interest in modernism and minimalism in general. With more and more urban dwellers, and their smaller spaces – modern and minimal furniture will continue to dominate in these spaces.
What do you think are the three trends shaping the future of furniture design?
First, materials that have meaning: live edges, re-purposed materials, hand finishes, etc.
Second, more beautiful minimalism. Our smaller spaces require a more highly curated approach to our furnishings. Everything must function well, and be beautiful. And third, small scale production runs: the rise of North American design studios. There is an increasing importance in providence as a reaction to the emptiness of rampant consumption.
RSVP below to take a tour of the exhibition at 101W15th.