The 12 Best Furniture Designs of the Year

The Design Museum has just announced the contenders for the sixth annual Designs of the Year. And what their furniture shortlist lacks in comfort, it makes up in raw ingenuity.


100 Chairs. Marni designers have reworked the patterns and color palettes of traditional Colombian chairs woven from PVC threads to create a desirable, one-off range, which has been produced by Colombian ex-prisoners. Designed by Marni

The 12 Best Furniture Designs of the YearS

Photo: Marni


A-Collection. Fabricated from oak and beech, the motivation for the series was an old wooden university trestle chair by architect Berndt Pedersen. Designed by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Hay.

The 12 Best Furniture Designs of the YearS

Photo: bouroullec.com


Corniches. The idea arose from the need for small storage spaces to keep small items. Corniches are neither regular shelves nor simple horizontal surfaces, but rather individual, isolated protrusions in the environments that we create. Corniches are a new way to use the wall in living spaces. Designed by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Vitra.

The 12 Best Furniture Designs of the YearS

Photo: bouroullec.com


Engineering Temporality. Using small circular tubular steel to semi-cover over existing objects including cabinets and chairs, Tuomas Markunpoika burnt away the sculptural piece, leaving the charred steel structure behind. Inspired by the designer's grandmother's fight with Alzheimers, Engineering Temporality evokes the ideas of vanishing memory. Designed by Studio Markunpoika.

The 12 Best Furniture Designs of the YearS

Photo: markunpoika.com


Future Primitives. This collection of shelving units, in various heights and configurations, includes deckchair-shaped seating inserted into frames, as well as standing and hanging lamps and separate chairs and loungers. Designed by Muller Van Severen.

The 12 Best Furniture Designs of the YearS

Photo: Muller Van Severen/Facebook


Gravity Stool. Jolan Van Der Wiel developed a 'magnet machine', whereby he positions magnetic fields above and below a container of polarized material containing metal shavings. Gravity determines the shape of the stool. Designed by Jolan Van Der Wiel.

The 12 Best Furniture Designs of the YearS

Photo: jolanvanderwiel.com


Liquid Glacial Table. This table embeds surface complexity and refraction within a powerful fluid dynamic. The elementary geometry of the flat table top appears transformed from static to fluid by the subtle waves and ripples evident below the surface, while the table's legs seem to pour from the horizontal in a vortex of frozen water. Designed by Zaha Hadid, Patrik Schumacher.

The 12 Best Furniture Designs of the YearS

Photo: Jacopo Spilimbergo/zaha-hadid.com


Medici Chair. Three types of wood: thermo-treated ash, walnut, and douglas are joined at irregular angles, resulting in a comfortably reclined seat. Designed by Konstantin Grcic for Mattiazzi.

The 12 Best Furniture Designs of the YearS

Photo: mattiazzi.eu


Re-Imagined Chairs. This project was born out of questioning resourcefulness and attitudes towards waste. It builds on the interests in expediency and re-using the existing, and speaks to the ability to see the potential in the unwanted. Designed by Studiomama (Nina Tolstrup and Jack Mama).

The 12 Best Furniture Designs of the YearS

Photo: Studiomama


Tié Paper Chair. The Tié Chair is the design studio's second paper chair and was inspired by Yuhang Aper Umbrellas. The shell is made from irregularly shaped rice paper sheets, and the shape echoes the classic Chinese horseshoe-back armchair. Designed by Pinwu.

The 12 Best Furniture Designs of the YearS

Photo: Pinwu


The Sea Chair. The ‘Sea Chair' is made entirely from plastic recovered from our oceans' giant floating garbage patches. Designed by Studio Swine & Kieren Jones.

The 12 Best Furniture Designs of the YearS

Photo: Studio Swine


Well Proven Chair. Products and furniture made from wood generate between 50-80% waste in the form of sawdust, chippings and shavings. Combining these waste products with bio-resin turns to a porridge-like mixture and expands into a solid. With the addition of water or increased temperatures it can expand up to 700%. This material is then used to create the seat shell combined with a simple but beautiful leg structure of turned ash. Designed by James Shaw and Marjan van Aubel.

The 12 Best Furniture Designs of the YearS

Photo: jamesmichaelshaw.co.uk


The Design Museum of London's Designs of the Year exhibition will be open through July 7th, with winners announced on April 17th. For ticketing information, head here. You can see the list of finalists across all categories here.