Furniture and bikes

Miscellaneous 11

As you may have seen in a recent post, I enjoy spotting occasional bike content in the design magazines and catalogs that I regularly read. Yesterday, I was looking though the latest issue of Republic of Fritz Hansen (kind of a magalog for the company), and saw a picture and a short mention of the Biomega Boston bicycle. For those of you not familiar with Fritz Hansen, they are a Danish furniture manufacturer that has been around since the 1870’s. Several of the products that they have produced in the last half century or so have becomes icons of modern design. In particular, I am a big fan of the original 3-legged Ant chair designed by Arne Jacobsen in the early 50’s. But enough about furniture, that is not really the focus of this blog… or is it? I do think that all designers, regardless of the type of products they design, should know something about the design history of furniture. I recommend the book 1000 Chairs to anyone who designs any product for a living. Like the Ant chair, the Seven, or any of the other Fritz Hansen classics, the Boston bike, designed by Jens Martin Skibsted, is an example of good Danish design. All of the details seem to be carefully thought out. I think that the integrated wire lock in place of the downtube is a great idea. Not only is it a good feature, but also it visually works well with this very clean semi-folding design. All this Danish design talk makes me want to book a trip to Copenhagen. I have never been, but it is definitely on my list of places to visit.

11 Comments

  1. Fritz November 10, 2006 at 2:18 pm -  Reply

    I gotta admit, I’ve never thought of a connection between furniture and bike design before.

  2. James November 10, 2006 at 5:04 pm -  Reply

    It’s a bit of a stretch I know, but think of it this way. Both bikes and chairs are beautifully simple, straightforward products. Unlike many of the electronic gadgets that industrial designers work on these days, a bicycle or a piece of furniture serves a fairly specific purpose.

    The real point of this post is not just about bikes or chairs. I want to reinforce the idea that it never hurts to occasionally look outside your industry for inspiration. Bike designers, as well as designers in any industry, should be exposing themselves to all kinds of ideas, materials, and manufacturing processes. Just get out there with an open mind and take in everything you can all the while thinking about how it relates to the projects that you are currently working on. What could be more fun?

    A great example is the Ibis Mojo, which was created by a designer from Pottery Barn. I can’t think of a better success story in the bicycle industry to illustrate the importance of a fresh creative perspective.

  3. Jeppe November 11, 2006 at 6:27 am -  Reply

    The connection is very real, I think. A nice bike is like a piece of furniture designed to bring with you.

    If you ever go to Copenhagen, I’ll be happy to show you the town from a bike saddle :-)

  4. James November 14, 2006 at 5:51 pm -  Reply

    Hey Jeppe, thanks for the comment. seeing Copenhagen by bike sounds good. I’ll let you know when I finally make it there.

  5. Anonymous November 19, 2006 at 3:27 pm -  Reply

    Certiaqnly there is a relationship. Look no farther then the “Wassily Chair” Marcel Bruer was indefinatly insipred by the bent hollow tubing being used by bicycles. I would argue that their is simply forma relation as well such as structural trussing used beatifully by Charles and Ray Eames i9n thier fiber glass chairs with steel baese and equally by the early Moulton folding bikes -thathertz

  6. Freudian Slip November 27, 2006 at 3:34 am -  Reply

    I saw an episode of one of those house shows and they integrated a house layout around the person’s pride possession, their bike. It was pretty cool.
    Matt

  7. Jonathan January 21, 2007 at 3:31 pm -  Reply

    Just stumbled across your blog. In my London gallery – ROCKET – we are currently exhibiting DANISH BY DESIGN. This exhibition focuses on classic Danish furniture architects – like Poul Kjaerholm, Arne Jacobsen, Hans J Wegner, Herbert Krenchel and others – but also by coincidence we are exhibiting the Copenhagen bike from Biomega….so personally I think there is definitely a connection between furniture and bike design! Jonathan Stephenson http://www.rocketgallery.com

  8. Anonymous April 25, 2007 at 6:44 pm -  Reply

    “A great example is the Ibis Mojo, which was created by a designer from Pottery Barn.”

    Eh, that’s a jump. Roxy didn’t create the Mojo… she created… to some degree… how it looks.

    Also, the tome that unifies bike and furniture design is Flessibili Splendori. A book on Columbus.. yes that Columbus.. and their early furniture. An amazing book.

  9. James April 26, 2007 at 7:23 am -  Reply

    Point taken about the Mojo, but styling is still very important if you want to sell product.

    I’ll check into that book. Thanks for the tip.

  10. sherlock February 27, 2008 at 5:25 am -  Reply

    That’s very cool.

  11. aircraft support June 30, 2008 at 2:42 pm -  Reply

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