Fresh New Design
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Some companies really want you to see their products as finished objects. Things by Apple or Karim Rashid (for example) are designed to be self-sufficient, in a way: they don't seem to want relationships with anything but the consumer or the rest of the items in the line they came from. They particularly resist any economic context. You probably know how much an iPod costs, but the device itself gives you no clues to its value, its history, or the processes used to make it; a Rashid table will be shiny and smooth, and look like it just landed in your home from outer space. Then there are companies who want to contextualize everything they make, remind the consumer of the labor involved in production and the effort it took to ready the materials for use. (If you've noticed the repetition of the word "context," you're on the right track. ) That's the kind of company Bryce and Kerry Moore have developed. They call it Context Furniture. (Ta-da!) Bryce and Kerry met at the University of Montana, where, according to their Web site, "both were exploring communication through alternative methods," which included sculpture (for Bryce) and graphic design (for Kerry). Combining these with talent and inspiration from the study of semiotics, they already had all the ingredients of a thoughtful, interesting furniture-design studio. Context's furniture has a historical quality to it--all the exposed edges of Baltic birch plywood (which make up even the surfaces of the pieces) resemble striations in rock, or levels of debris in an archaeological dig. The shapes reflect an understanding of and engagement with design history. And it all looks so cool!