From a folding chair by departo to Allbird's super soft TrinoXO Tee to Issey Miyake's Bao Bao Prism Frost tote now available in a spectrum of new colors and sizes, here's a look back at the week of design drops.
When Tim Brown first founded Allbirds, he aimed to incorporate his native New Zealand’s abundance of merino wool—an underutilized sustainable material—into footwear. Five years on, and the brand has become somewhat of a phenomenon among eco-conscious consumers seeking lightweight, unfussy alternatives to athletic or casual sneakers. Allbirds is now taking a major leap forward by branching into apparel, debuting a collection of stylish yet performance-driven basics that offer a refreshing antidote to disposable fast fashion.
Bao Bao Issey Miyake has released a spectrum of new colors and sizes. The bag is renowned for its shield-like assemblage of polyvinyl triangles, which transform the flat mesh fabric into a three-dimensional form resembling a flexible piece of origami—or a whimsically designed building. The incredible feat of engineering was first introduced in 2000 when the fashion designer aptly dubbed it the Bilbao as a homage to Spain’s Guggenheim Museum, an architectural totem by the transcendental Frank Gehry whose swirling facade is regarded as a masterpiece of deconstructivism. Coincidingly, Issey Miyake opened a flagship store in New York City also designed by Gehry, which is famous for its 25-foot-high titanium sculpture known as “The Tornado.” The same way Gehry’s structures seem to have an inner life force of their own, so too did Miyake’s garments which took the form of the wearer’s body.
Task lamps these are not. Tom Dixon’s new Globe Pendants cast luminous, reflective light onto their surroundings with more energy than a disco ball. The spherical orbs, which rely on a light source invisible to the naked eye, can easily transform a room more than a new coat of paint, whether in the daylight or after dark. “We wanted something that’s transparent enough to see through it, yet still reflective,” says Dixon. For the new series of round pendants, he fit hollowed spheres of colored glass and an LED bulb, that, when switched on, reveals a series of infinite internal reflections (à la infinity mirrors). By day, it emits the perfect optical quality derived from the metallization inside the lamp rather than on the outer surface. With these shadow dancers, reflection is playful—magical, even—and intentionally emphasized. “I don’t know why you would avoid reflections!” he quips.
Stine Aas vividly remembers the fjords and mountains she grew up surrounded by in rural Norway. The industrial designer’s bucolic upbringing instilled a reverence for natural materials she now channels into her studio’s award-winning products, which often appear deceptively simple yet are rich in character. In particular, she enjoys working with wood: “It can be strong or soft,” she says. “Wood tells a story about where and how it has grown, and all pieces of wood are unique.”
When George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg set out to launch a homewares brand, they insisted it be emblematic of the peripatetic lifestyle that has been a hallmark of their own. (The design duo is known the world over for their elegantly timeless hotel and restaurant projects from the Middle East to Mexico City.) So it comes as no surprise that the idea for the Folding Chair struck during a sojourn to their vacation home in Amagansett, New York. “We wanted to eat alfresco on our balcony and noticed we didn’t have a suitable chair,” the couple says. “In that moment, we needed something simple and compact, but also attractive and mobile, to bring indoors and outdoors.”