Making the earth move: kinetic design trends

Space-saving, simplicity and the use of natural materials were key themes at this year’s Milan Design Week in April, but one trend that also stood out was movement.
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It was shown in designs such as London-based Philippe Malouin’s swings cut from Caesarstone, Louis Vuitton’s home collection based on a nomadic theme where hammocks and hanging chairs featured aplenty, and also Marcel Wanders’ range for furniture brand Moooi, sitting atop a white unicorn rocker.

In the loop: Lee Broom’s Hanging Hoop Chair in black, £2,950, or brass, as shown, £3,750 

However, one of the most striking installations that embodied this theme was Lee Broom’s elegant Hanging Hoop Chair. It is clear leading British designer Broom has his finger on the pulse. “I am really surprised that no one else has thought to update the swing chair,” he says about his new product. “It’s so obvious to me — it’s such an iconic object and it needed another look.”

Bright sparks: Flying Flames by Moritz Waldemeyer for Ingo Maurer, is a collection of suspended flickering LED lights on circuit boards, from £420, at Chaplins

This shift towards motion isn’t just confined to seating, though. Lighting designers Ingo Maurer and Moritz Waldemeyer have always pushed the boundaries for innovation, and their collaboration Flying Flames chandelier — made of circuit boards and LEDs — reveals the kinetic potential of lighting to come.
Another example is Les Danseuses, a fabric lamp by Atelier Oï for Danese Milano, which features a hidden motor that hypnotically spins it.

Red hot: Ron Arad’s Glider sofa for Moroso, with a rocking mechanism, shown in Blur shaded fabric by Febrik, £7,600

With this trend, it seems that design is entering a more playful mood post-recession. For example, Israeli designer Ron Arad’s new Glider sofa is inspired by the American porch swing. For Arad, it is about getting away from the sofa archetype.  “Very rarely can you get excited about a sofa,” he says.

Gear change: Two Makers’ Randonneur Chair features metal tubing, hardwood and saddle leather, £5,800

Equally, a new rocking chair from Two Makers — Simon Taylor and Andrew McDonald, who build furniture in their Kent workshop — is about the enjoyment of movement.
The Randonneur Chair, which is handcrafted from bike parts and artisan leather, is all about the experience of enjoying British craft, heritage and sport. All the effort, however, has gone into the making. “To be honest, they’re a bit of a labour of love,” says McDonald.

Flying high: West Elm Rocking Birds in natural solid acacia wood, carved and painted. Small, w20cm, £14, or large, w32cm, £29)

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