The 2016 designMENA Summit keynote speaker Benjamin Hubert uses design as a means of challenging the way we experience every day life, while carving out possibilities for the future.
The British design entrepreneur, who has recently founded innovation-inspired design agency Layer, has worked with world renown brands such as Nike, Samsung, Poltrona Frau, and Moroso, creating works that have put him on the list of designers to watch for.
Here are eight examples of Huberts work:
Pair Chair for Fritz Hansen
Benjamin Hubert’s design agency Layer has created Pair Chair, a modular seating system for Fritz Hansen, the first British designer to launch a product with the renowned Danish furniture brand. Pair Chair is a seating system with more than 8,000 possible combinations, giving architects and interior designers flexibility in specification.
The Pair Chair embraces the Mid-Century design language that Fritz Hansen pioneered, utilising a pressed plywood shell with a strong sense of fluid geometry. The traditional material of the seat shell is paired with an injection moulded polycarbonate backrest, creating an interesting tension between old and new and modernising the Fritz Hansen material palette. The backrest is moulded with 10% transparency, which elevates the plastic material by giving it a glass-like quality.
Worldbeing for The Carbon Trust
Hubert and his team at Layer looked to the future to discern the tools consumers will need to thrive in a changing world. Worldbeing is a self-directed wearable app supported by the Carbon Trust that tracks carbon usage, empowering consumers to make better decisions while driving real change.
Drawing on our UI and UX expertise, Hubert envisioned a tool with the potential to enable a community of like-minded users to inspire a movement and transform the world.
Juliet for Poltrona Frau
Benjamin Hubert designed this armchair for Poltrona Frau as a part of limited edition collection to represent its 100-year-old history and future. The brief was to utilise traditional upholstery techniques under the theme ‘a chair to spend time in’.
Hubert named his chair Juliet, which is inspired by the Italian renaissance fashion detail the ‘Juliet sleeve’ that tightly fits the arm and has a large deconstructed ‘puff’ on the shoulder.
This was used for the design of the chair’s leather upholstery. The outside of the chair utilises the flexibility and tensile strength of leather to describe a fluted traditional timber frame work where the shape of the timber can clearly be seen through the tight leather covering. The shape of the sitting area is ‘wide screen’ to allow the user to sit in multiple positions in line with how people really use and misuse furniture.
Scale for Woven Image
Scale is the world’s first super-modular stand-alone acoustic system that grows and shrinks with today’s constantly evolving workplace.
Cradle collection for Moroso
The Cradle collection, designed by Benjamin Hubert for Moroso, uses 3D knitted textiles to create a comfortable seating. Cradle is a new family of products that was launched at Salone del Mobile in April 2016 and Clerkenwell Design Week.
The new family comprises of a high-back chair, a low-back chair and a room divider, each of which were inspired by the studio’s research into the construction of mesh materials and how traditional product typologies can be re-imagined to enhance performance.
The Cradle collection utilises a new three-dimensional stretch textile developed by Layer with an Austrian textile factory. The knitted textile has high strength but low density, meaning it can offer the necessary support using a fraction of the material of a traditional mesh.
GO for Materialise
Hubert’s design agency, Layer’s inaugural project is GO, a made-to-measure 3D-printed consumer wheelchair that has been designed to fit the individual needs of a wide range of disabilities and lifestyles.
The custom form of the seat and foot-bay is driven by 3D digital data derived from mapping each user’s biometric information. The resulting wheelchair accurately fits the individual’s body shape, weight and disability to reduce injury and increase comfort, flexibility, and support.
The accompanying GO app allows users to participate in the design process by specifying optional elements, patterns and colourways, and to place orders.
Charge Tray for Bitossi Ceramiche
Layer has also created Charge Tray, a collection of slip cast ceramic trays with an integrated induction charging system for Italian ceramics brand Bitossi Ceramiche.
Charge Tray minimises the visual impact of technology in the home and enables easy wireless charging of technology devices, including both mobile phones and tablets. The trays can also be used to display and store small items.
Designed for use in all areas of the home and office, the Charge Tray collection exudes high craft rather than high tech. The trays are available in four sizes and four glazed finishes – salt, matte, crackle and soba – reflecting the rich and varied palette of the ceramics industry.
A compression moulded silicone module on the underside of each tray houses the induction charging system. The modular nature of the design provides the opportunity for Bitossi Ceramiche to update the Charge Tray collection with new charging technology as it becomes available.
Membrane for ClassiCon
Membrane is a highly engineered, ultra-lightweight chair that resonates with the flexible needs of the home of the future. Informed by qualitative research into the sports industry, Hubert created a visually iconic yet sustainable addition to ClassiCon’s portfolio.
Net for Moroso
Net is a series of small tables which utilises expanded steel, which is more commonly used in industry and architecture. The material has been manipulated to form cylinders and discs, which have been finished with powder coated paint.
In reference to its industrial origins, Net is purposefully geometric and simple in its design language. These simple forms also work to allow the user to appreciate the beauty of the material. The tables have a large surface with expanded steel perforations that give a feeling of lightness while being small enough to not allow small objects to slip through.