cornell university’s college of architecture, art and planning unveils a 12-piece versatile bespoke furniture series designed by hong kong-based architecture office CL3 and interdisciplinary design studio lim + lu for the their new york studio. founder of CL3, william lim, as well as both founding partners of lim+lu, vincent lim and elaine lu, are alumni of cornell and when engaged by the dean for this project, the three thought it would be a great way to give back to their alma mater.
this pushcart furniture can be used as a coffee table as well as a bookshelf when upright
lim + lu noted that the pushcart is uniquely new york and has become an ubiquitous part of the city’s landscape. at every turn and corner, the pushcarts are transporting goods in, out, and around the city. although it is inherently new york, the pushcart represents matters at a larger scale — globalization. the design journey began by examining the inherent qualities of these pushcarts and how they are used on a daily basis. they are sometimes used in an upright manner and at other times adopt a more reclined position. this bipolar characteristic of the pushcart presented the opportunity to design a portable furniture series that could also have multiple personalities.
the bar can be configured in an upright or reclined position
for example, a piece that functions as a three-seater sofa in its reclined position may transform into a coat rack when it’s upright. when a piece is in one posture, one can notice subtle hints that it can be used in another stance. this exploration resulted in 12 pieces of multi-purpose portable furniture. due to the bespoke nature of these furniture pieces, its context was crucial to the success of the project.
coffee table which also serves as a bookshelf when upright
william lim of CL3 comments, ‘we always like to approach our designs within context. our practice is rooted in the principles of asian design. we blend an intuitive sense of light, balance and proportion with contemporary solutions and innovative materials to produce designs that are versatile. that’s what we have done with this range. we have thought about the true purpose of the furniture. how it will become part of cornell’s fabric, go beyond the primary usage, and spread out within the context it has been placed within.’
coffee table / lectern
vincent lim of lim + lu added: ‘this has been a fun journey. as alumni we have been peering back into our old school and thought what we could give back. thinking back to our time as students and how we used the spaces around cornell to come together to share ideas. these have a nice function and form element to them. also to apply the cornell crest to the structure adds a sense of pride. unveiling these in may is a great time to coincide with the 29th annual ICFF platform for global design, where we also have a booth showing our other designs.’
the seatings together create a constant dialogue
kent kleinman, gale and ira drukier dean of cornell AAP: ‘each piece is a hybrid; a modular urban element that functions as a kind of infrastructure, mated to a customized artifact specific to particular program. taken together, they are a microcosm of cornell’s famous lessons in college urbanism.’
the seating cushions come in 4 colors inspired by le corbusier and can be interchanged
the portable nature of the multi-purpose pieces provides flexibility
sofa / coat rack
sofa / coat rack
edited by: juliana neira | designboom