Edited by Karen D. Singh -- Interior Design, 3/1/2007 12:00:00 AM
At first blush, it smacks of a reality-TV challenge. Design and architecture studios, from around the globe, have to create furniture, light fixtures, and fabrics destined for one whole-environment furnishings collection from Bernhardt Design. The catch? All eight teams are operating in a vacuum, unaware of their phantom colleagues. Participants know only that their designs must embody "permanence and quality. . . timelessness and simplicity." Suspense derives not from guessing who will be sent home but from wondering if the items can hang together under the name Global Edition. Thanks to Bernhardt's expertise as a design incubator, they do.
Creating simple furniture requires both designers and manufacturers "to have the passion and tenacity to experiment until they get it just right," says creative director Jerry Helling, who conceptualized the project.
Arik Levy's Milix sofa somehow finds echoes in Jeffrey Bernett's Remy lounge chair, in their wide, embracing seats. The floating feel of Shin Azumi's glass-topped Halo table didn't really inspire the weightlessness of Christian Biecher's armless Onda chair—but could have. PearsonLloyd chose a tapered line for the back of the Coast stacking chair, as did Yves Behar for the walnut seat of the insectlike Fly bench.
Debuting at New York's International Contemporary Furniture Fair, the series will comprise 20 items. Other notable contributions are two armchairs, Lievore Altherr Molina's Celon in stainless steel and CuldeSac's Whisper in maple; PearsonLloyd's Revolve lamp; and Biecher's textile series, titled Dot, Circle, and Cross.
In 1980, Bernhardt Furniture founded Bernhardt Design as a contract division, located in North Carolina's once-thriving hub. Recent years have seen the unit stretch to straddle both contract and residential sectors, largely by championing designers such as Ross Lovegrove, Patrick Norguet, and Fabien Baron. But it's as a patron that Bernhardt Design truly deserves fame—whether that entails developing a course for undergraduates at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, or cosponsoring the ICFF Studio competition for up-and-coming talent.
P.O. Box 740, Lenoir, NC 28645; 828-758-9811; bernhardtdesign.com. circle 350