Great Story, Great Design

A story behind a design adds that extra layer of uniqueness making a good piece into a more special one. It connects you with the designer as well as with others who can empathize with the story – this is why great design can strive to be universal. Personally, Saana Hellsten’s Slider Stool was at first just nice, simple, and clean. I enjoyed the larger seating area, its overall shape, and the thinner back support. But, I wouldn’t have bought this design if I saw it on sale.




However, after reading the motivation and story behind the chair and understanding why the piece is called the Slider Stool, my feelings changed completely for the better. Hellsten describes the design saying the seat is representative of a slider in which you sled on during the winter snow days and the white steel legs are representative of the snow. It should bring out the fond memories of the viewer’s childhood. She also diagrams a fun collage of the ‘versatility’ of this chair.


The Slider Stool is the third most popular design at 43%. Vote for it if you would like to see it on the market!


The Cradle Chair

At first glance, this hemispherical chair (if you can even call it a chair – it’s more of a curved bed) may seem like something whimsically pulled out of a child’s imagination. However, the Cradle Chair, designed by Richard Clarkson, is much more than just a ridiculously comfortable piece of furniture.




The motivation behind the Cradle Chair is actually from individuals suffering from Autism and Rhythmic Movement Disorder (RMD). In his portfolio, Clarkson states, “It is about creating a safe, comfortable, and relaxing space in which the user can dissipate the overstimulation of their senses… We had a strong focus creating a solution for sufferers of RMD but the chair is not exclusively for them and will bring relaxation, comfort, and calmness to anyone who uses it.”


This is Industrial Design at its finest. Clarkson not only created something for the masses that looks aesthetically pleasing and feels warm and inviting. But it is also disruptive in its form, which brings even more people to stare at it and eventually want to experience and buy it. But on another level, this piece serves a very specific purpose – it satisfies the needs of the the clients, who in this case are those with Autism and RMD.

What do you think?

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Bucketfeet & Unbranded Designs found at Block37

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Bucketfeet, it is a startup that has a similar mission to Unbranded Designs’ – to help artists and designers bring their work from concepts to the market. Bucketfeet, instead of working with furniture, collaborates with shoe designers. To find out more about the company’s inception and its more personal stories, check out their anecdotes here!


Fortunately for us, Bucketfeet was searching for tables to highlight their canvases and featured shoes in their pop-up store located in Chicago’s Block37. They were eventually able to check out some our designs and had a special liking for David Greene‘s FOLD designs – a series of stools, chairs, and desks that are all  pattern cut steel, hand-folded, powder coated in countless different forms, and assembled by David and his team in Chicago. They really appreciated the uniqueness, simplicity, and yet sharp features of the FOLD tables. As a result, the Chicago startup grabbed some tables and are now using them in their Block37 pop-up store!

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Coffee table (40” x 40” x 18”), Stool (12” x 12” x 30”) Console Table (46” x 12” x 36”)

If you have time this holiday season, go to Bucketfeet’s store in Block37 and check out their awesome shoes and our equally awesome furniture!

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The Single Cord Lounge

The Single Cord Lounge chair is definitely a fun piece that I would buy to place in my apartment. The piece utilizes the materialistic properties of rope, such as its tension and yield strength, to create a reliable and interactive seating arrangement. The frame is made out of a single board of ash. Interestingly, the rope is only one 100 ft. cord as stated by its designer, Josh Shiau, who is currently and Industrial Design student at RISD.



The-Single-Cord-Lounge_05_1383948033On a different note, this piece reminds me of another chair that utilizes a cord and its material properties as its seating arrangement. It is the Carnaval Chair and was designed by Guido Lanari. Both chairs are warm and welcoming but I cannot see them going into the same environments. Shiau’s chair can be placed in a home, apartment, or any sort of residential area whereas I can see Guido’s design being placed in a office and more corporate setting.



Tell us where you think these two chairs would be most ideal and if they can be placed in the same setting!

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Three in One

At first glance, the Three in One by Unbranded member, Kai-ning Huang, seems like a regular curved wooden chair. But it is much more than that. It is truly a fun, interactive, and practical piece that I could really see being sold on the market tomorrow.



It starts off as being once solid wooden chair that can be disassembled to form two more identical counterparts. The user simply pulls off the sides of the original piece, creating two miniature L-shaped seats with cushions. The original chair still retains in its original form but is now stripped of material and appears to be more naked, modern, but still welcoming. The overall curvaceous form and light colors add an extra dimension of security and invitation to the user, which definitely limits the environment this product  can be placed in. Ideally, I can see this going into a smaller home or apartment for a younger aged user who wishes to save or simply create their own space.



One suggestion for this piece was to add a table between the two removable side-seats so that it can be a complete set. What other advice can you give Huang or is it perfect the way it is?

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Minimal Coat Rack for the Younger Generation

Many designers have played with the idea of a coat rack from hooks on a wall to a stand with protruding arms to awkward tables that don’t really seem like coat racks at all. This design called “Coat Rack for Bonnie” by designer Annabelle Nichols definitely surpasses all previous designs in its simplicity and minimalism.


This design focused on four main object: keys, shoes, books, and coats. One of Nichols overarching goals in this project was to create habits from design – she aimed to find a home for these objects that are easily overseen and strive for attention in an overclutterd house. At first glance, you may be a bit lost at how such an ’empty’ structure could house all of these objects, but that is the beauty of it. The piece is made only out of four main components – white steel, wooden dowels, a wooden shelf, and 3D printed porcelain bowl. And another perk of this design is you only need for screws to assemble everything. The dowels are simply placed through the colinear holes of the steel frame and wooden shelf, creating a liberating and whimsical nature to the piece.





What setting do you think this would be best in? College dorm, urban apartment, high rise in Chicago? Tell us what you think!

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New Partnership with IIDA for RED Awards

We are very excited to announce that Unbranded Designs will be partnering with the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) Illinois Chapter for their second annual RED Awards, Recognizing Exemplary Design! IIDA is an international organization for Interior Designers that has chapter in 58 countries, offering numerous benefits to its members, including but surely not limited to networking events, portfolio workshops, and exclusive opportunities for professional development. More details and information about IIDA as a whole can be found on their infographic.


The RED Awards is open only to Illinois professionals and students and is organized into 15 categories, including the new Furniture Design category in partnership with Unbranded Designs.


“The submitted designs will be voted upon by our peers, colleagues, friends, and the general public during the month of March, 2014. Unbranded Designs will promote the top three finalists. The first place winner will be recognized at the RED Awards ceremony and Unbranded Designs will explore the opportunity of manufacturing and selling the winning design through their company.”  – IIDA Illinois

For more information about the RED Awards, visit their website here!

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Upcoming Announcement

Hey guys, we have some very exciting news that we really want to announce ASAP but unfortunately we are are not allowed to just quite yet. On the other hand, we can tell you that it will definitely raise the bar of the designs submitted to Unbranded and that our community’s awareness will skyrocket. We should be able to give you more details in the upcoming week so be on the lookout!

Hope you all have a good weekend!


Unbranded Designs Team

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Nadia Anochie: Leading the Submissions Category

Nadia Anochie is one of Unbranded’s designers who graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in 2010, majoring in Industrial Design and minoring in Furniture Design. Her portfolio exhibits a wide range of styles ranging from her submission on UD, Falling Chips, to a translucent lamp in the shape of a human heart entitled Extracted Love.


Unlike some of our designers who bases their pieces on the manufacturing processes or commitment to materials, Nadia’s inspiration rather comes from the desire for her product to connect to as many people as possible. A connection that is not just an understanding between the designer and consumer but rather some sort of heavier bond. She aspires for her pieces to reach the viewer on a personal note to create an immediate and subtle affinity.



Read about Nadia’s design here and vote for it to get it to the next level of refinement! She only has 35% more to go!

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Dining with Birds

The utilization of nature into furniture design or any other man-made structure always gives me a sense of awe and sublimity. It’s a combination that calms me for reasons that I’m unsure but can spectate that it is because nature is ultimately the greatest designer, and to incorporate it into one’s creation in a way that works is clever and beautiful.

Gregoire de Lafforest designed this table which also serves as a birdcage. 

From afar and even up close, this piece is beautiful aesthetically and the idea that you can eat with birds sitting right beside you gives me some unusual sense of freedom. The birdcage holds a pool for water and an artificial tree designed as organically as possible to look and feel as natural as possible.  The tree is made out of metal, the clear tubes out of glass, the table out of wood.


gregoire-de-lafforest-cage-archibird-02Yet, is this table really something one would buy to put in their kitchen or living room? Yes, it is gorgeous. Yes, it gives you a good tingling feeling in your stomach. And yes, the idea is original. But, did Lafforest have the well being of the birds in mind? Who will clean the bird’s waste? How will it be cleaned? Is metal really the best material to be used for the tree? These are just some of the questions I asked myself.

Tell us what you think about this piece in the comments below!

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