Monthly Archives: June 2014

Interview with Harry Owen, designer of the Joynt chair

Born on the Isle of Wight, Harry Owen is the designer of the Joynt chair, which won an Honourable Mention at Compasso d’Oro this year. It is an innovative, surprising chair that will treat you to an unexpected experience.

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Harry, your chair just won a honorable mention for Compasso d’Oro this year…how do you feel about it?

It’s a great privilege for me to see Joynt recognized alongside some of the industries leading projects. My thanks go to Lago Studio for the opportunity they provide for young designers, and also to my tutors at Bucks New University for their support whilst developing the project.

Harry, tell us something more about the concept of the Joynt chair. How did you come up with the idea of a joynt?

Initially the idea developed whilst exploring a traditional chair making process called steam bending, where strips of wood are heated using a steam box. The applied heat and moisture allows the timber to become flexible and bend to a specific shape. However that process is both costly and time consuming, and I wanted to explore other opportunities to bend a timber frame and provide comfort. The key feature of the Joynt chair is the flexible rubber in the backrest, which is a commonly used component from the automotive industry.

Harry Owen sedia Joynt

Which needs does the Joynt chair solve?

Naturally people are always moving, and the flexible back rest provides movement and support in a similar way to a complex office chair. Ideally it can be used in locations ranging from public spaces and offices, to schools and waiting rooms. I still have a couple of the early prototypes around my desk at home.

How important is the ergonomics when designing a chair?

Ergonomics and the understanding of interaction among the user is essential when designing anything. A number of prototypes early in the development allowed us to determine comfort before deciding details of how we wanted it to look. The coloured backrest is intended to indicate to the user that something is going to happen, but many people still seem surprised when they first sit down.

Do you think the ergonomics is an essentials or a plus today?

I think many factors including ergonomics are essential and should influence the development of a product. Costs, materials, proportions and forms are perhaps equally important. I think what we tried to do with the Joynt chair however was to make something innovative, playful, and of course comfortable.

Your chair in three words?

Innovative. Fun. Flexible.

Compasso d’Oro 2014: honourable mentions for Appartamento LAGO and the Joynt chair

At the 23rd Compasso d’Oro, LAGO received two Honourable Mentions: the Joynt chair for product design and Appartamento LAGO in the project category.

Two recognitions that touch two important areas for LAGO: Lagostudio and Appartamento LAGO.

The Joynt chair, designed by young designer Harry Owen, emerged from Lagostudio, the LAGO creative workshop where each year students from the world’s best design schools are invited to participate

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The innovative aspect of this design lies in the flexibility of the seat back. At first look, the Joynt chair appears to have an ergonomically unnatural slant but, thanks to the rubber joint integrated into its wooden structure, in reality it follows the shape of the body. The seat back flexes to support the spine and is extremely comfortable.

The Appartamento LAGO project instead redefines and reinvents spaces reserved for contact between company, consumer and product. It is an entirely new living space and cultural experiment: a real flat, with real residents and entirely furnished with LAGO products, the owner of which, a design lover, opens the doors to visitors, organising and hosting cultural events, talks and exhibitions in the flat itself.

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Inaugurated in Milan in 2009, for the Salone del Mobile, the Appartamento LAGO project is proof that design today is no longer simply physical, but instead goes beyond the object: the energy, relationships and situations generated between people in the Appartamento can never be replicated anywhere else in the same way.

 

LAGO on view in Rome as an example of sustainability

A few months ago, the photographer Pippo Onorati stopped by LAGO because he wanted to photograph our company and present the photos in ‘Cambiamo clima! Gli eroi della terra‘, an exhibition dedicated to showing how ordinary people can work in a creative, innovative and socially useful way while respecting the environment around them.

Pippo Onorati is a Roman photographer, designer, director and journalist. Over the course of his professional career, he has worked with Oliviero Toscani and realised major photographic and communications projects for celebrities, publishers and big companies.

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The exhibition, which will open at MAXXI, then travel to Gianicolo and finally, from 6 June, be on permanent display at the Centro Elsa Morante, Rome, mixes the visions of professional photographers like Gianni Berengo Gardin and Francesco Zizola with those of photographers from Shoot4Change, a not-for-profit volunteer organisation dedicated to humanitarian photography.

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LAGO was chosen by Pippo Onorati for its philosophy, centred on the individual, and its search for a kind of sustainability that is not just environmental but also social. The LAGO FABBRICA (Lago Factory) is evidence of both, built in glass and wood and designed so that sunsets permeate the workspaces, as is Lean Production, which is focused on minimising waste, and projects like ‘An evolved industrial zone’ by Anna Scalfi Eghenter, which aim at revitalising the territory, and Art Waiting Room, a project that brings the value of art to time spent waiting.

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Pippo took the photos for this post while he was visiting the company. We are delighted to have been chosen, understood and expressed from an outsider’s view. It is confirmation that when design tries to transmit change, it often succeeds.

Download the exhibition catalogue.