Two things if I may. Looking backwards, I’ve long dreamt of living in one of those glorious prefabricated boxes of furniture that make up Le Corbusier’s Marseille Unité d’Habitation; a Modernist machine for living in. Looking forward, every morning on my walk to work I nod to a profoundly disabled man cruising by 1.8m-high, eye to eye, in his iBot wheelchair. This gyroscopically controlled furniture marvel – disappointingly no longer in production – can negotiate stairs, kerbs and potholes and most amazingly rise up on its hind wheels, offering degrees of equality and independence previously unknown. The iBot hints at a smart, dynamic future – a Futurist machine for living in.
Tim Molloy, Head of creative direction, Science Museum
I have recently acquired the piece of contemporary furniture I most wanted to own: an evolved version of the Off-Cut dining tables that Martino Gamper originally designed and made out of reclaimed teak chemistry lab benches for his Total Trattoria exhibition at Aram in 2008. It is a highly accomplished formal exercise in making something balanced and elegant out of irregular elements; rough and quite startlingly crafted at the same time.
Emily Campbell, Director of design, Royal Society for the Arts
The Tongue chair by Nigel Coates. I love this chair because it is utterly comfortable, which is what a chair should fundamentally be. For me it works on two levels – functionally and emotionally. As well as being comfortable, it looks striking as well as inviting and it also has a ’cheeky twinkle in its eye’, with its kind of tongue-in-cheek design conveying a very British sense of humour.
Ibrahim Ibrahim, Managing director, Portland
The most recent piece of furniture I bought is Thomas Heatherwick’s Spun chair (available from the Design Museum Shop). Based on a spinning top, it is an imaginative and dynamic re-look at the rocking chair, at first quite unnerving but once you gain confidence it is fun for all the family. It also works very well outdoors and is made from rotationally moulded polypropylene, like traffic cones. It is also eminently recyclable. Lastly, the form rather reminds me of the famous spun sculpture of Benito Mussolini in London’s Imperial War Museum.
Sebastian Conran, Founder, Sebastian Conran Associates