'Dematerialized' Furniture for the Digital Age

Design experts say the furniture of the digital age will be dematerialized, meaning a minimalism no longer imposed by style alone but by the material necessities of digital devices. 

What's the Latest Development?


As technology has remade our lives, furniture has not kept up with the times. The minimalist style, which has become so integrated into our culture that it ceases to be a style, still seems to count as modern furniture. So today's designers are working to integrate a new aesthetic that follows from how we actually use our furniture today. Sitting on the couch and watching TV, for example, is ergonomically different from sitting on the couch and typing on a tablet computer. One example is Cappellini’s Capo Chair which has wide arm rests that are better suited for typing than lounging. 

What's the Big Idea?

While some large producers like Ikea are hesitant to roll out bold designs to accommodate here-today-gone-tomorrow technology, others realize the trend is irreversible. "What's interesting, from a design standpoint," says industrial engineer and interior designer Harry Allen, "is that the computer gets rid of so many things. You don't need clocks because they're on our phone. You don't need file cabinets because they're on our phone. A lot of things that used to take up room, like records and books, you don't need." Allen says that, bit by bit, the physical world is disappearing. 

Photo credit: shutterstock.com


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