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Bean Series 2 Multi-Purpose Table by Bean Buro

Home > Winners > Design #34630 >Interview
Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Bean Buro (BB) for A' Design Awards and Competition. You can access the full profile of Bean Buro by clicking here. Access more information about the award winning design Bean Series 2 here.



Interview with Bean Buro at Wednesday 16th of April 2014

FS: What is the main principle, idea and inspiration behind your design?
BB: The design was commissioned by a creative agency (Cheil Hong Kong) for their use in an office conference room. Therefore the piece should be playful and innovative to reflect the creative agency’s brand values. Our main intention was to get away from the traditional preconceived idea of what a corporate conference table should be. Therefore we created a set of wiggly table shapes that are carefully designed to be sculptural while practical. Its re-configurable flexibility creates surprises, and break down the otherwise strict atmosphere of corporate conference room. The inspiration of the table came from the wiggly French Curves and jigsaw puzzle cuts!

FS: What has been your main focus in designing this work? Especially what did you want to achieve?
BB: The large meeting table would be the central sculptural piece in an office conference room. Flexibility was an important aspect of the design: The three parts of the table can be reconfigured for a variety of overall seating arrangements for small cluster meetings to large meetings. We wanted to achieve a more relaxed setting to encourage users’ creative thoughts during meetings.

FS: What are your future plans for this award winning design?
BB: The success for this award winning design will hopefully attract new projects that may allow us to further develop the ideas into future incarnations. We would like to explore the concept with other materials, forms, and sizes. We believe our skills in articulating the concept for multi-purpose settings, including F&B, retail, hospitality, and more.

FS: How long did it take you to design this particular concept?
BB: It did not take long as we did not have to start the ideas from scratch, this concept for this table had been trialled and tested as an incarnation of furniture ‘Bean Table’ for another home office project, therefore, we could directly develop and tailor some of the ideas for new functions. As this project was designed for a specific client with a clear purpose, it took a lot of effort and design iterations to achieve the best design that would suit to the client’s needs. Overall, it took about one month to design, and about another month to find the right manufacturer and get it prototyped and manufactured.

FS: Why did you design this particular concept? Was this design commissioned or did you decide to pursuit an inspiration?
BB: This design is the second edition of the ‘Bean Table’ series, and considered as part of a stream of continuing furniture and installation research at Bean Buro.

FS: Is your design being produced or used by another company, or do you plan to sell or lease the production rights or do you intent to produce your work yourself?
BB: The bespoke design was a special commission and currently used by our client Cheil Hong Kong. Bean Buro owns the design and our options are wide at the moment, we may consider to sell or lease the production rights, and may also consider launching the Bean Table series in the market. We are happy for interested parties to get in touch with us to discuss possibilities.

FS: Where there any other designs and/or designers that helped the influence the design of your work?
BB: Bean Buro’s principle designer Lorene Faure was previously an associate and senior Architect at CRAB studio (Cook Robotham Architectural Bureau) in London. During that time, she was directly influenced by Sir Peter Cook at CRAB, in the notion that a piece of furniture could emancipate from the traditional typologies using new technologies in a subtle but humorous way. Bringing such skills and sensitivity to Bean Buro, we believe our work can further develop in the cross cultural settings of Hong Kong China with the western world.

FS: Who is the target customer for his design?
BB: Customers whom believe good design can bring value to their environment, while appreciating some humour in the design.

FS: What sets this design apart from other similar or resembling concepts?
BB: Although the curves of this design look random, a lot of thought has been put into the geometries. Indeed, these tables are like a jigsaw, they can be playfully re-arranged into four configurations to adapt to different functions, from one long arrangement for large-scale meeting, to smaller clusters for small-scale meetings. To make these configurations easy to arrange, Bean Buro designed visual colour edge bands at the male and female curves provide easy understanding of how the parts should come together. The result is a unique balance of playfulness and functionality, with a humours narrative. Therefore this sets the design apart from other similar or resembling table concepts which were generic in stylistic approaches.

FS: How did you come up with the name for this design? What does it mean?
BB: Bean Series 2 was named after our practice: Bean Buro. Bean stands for Between Exchanges of Architectural Narratives, because our practice is believes that architecture is an emotional, spatial experience constructed by both the user and the author. The notion of ‘narratives’, or ‘stories’ puts the user as the driving force behind our designs. The joke to this is also that the shape is a bit bean-like!

FS: Which design tools did you use when you were working on this project?
BB: The table shape was digitally designed using CAD and 3D modeling softwares, where each curve is determined as a result of various users seating arrangements simulations. Small scale and part 1:1 prototypes were also built as part of the design process.

FS: What is the most unique aspect of your design?
BB: The most unique aspect is the curvy ‘jigsaw’ aspect that can be rearranged into different configurations.

FS: Who did you collaborate with for this design? Did you work with people with technical / specialized skills?
BB: This project was design by Bean Buro, and manufactured with the help of our main contractor on this project who has joinery workshops in southern China with advance skills.

FS: What is the role of technology in this particular design?
BB: Technology played a great role in this particular design, as it allowed us to make sure all pieces would fit together wheremale and female curves could match up perfectly, and to visualise the effect of each configuration. The 3D modelling also allowed us to export very precise files for the manufacturer. It allows for greater control over the result. However, Bean Buro is conscious for technology to not overtake the human expressions of the design. The digital design and fabrication is used in a very subtle manner.

FS: Is your design influenced by data or analytical research in any way? What kind of research did you conduct for making this design?
BB: This design is influenced by Bean Buro’s on-going research on atypical furniture typologies, and the social behaviour that result. As part of the research we had initially mapped the multiplicity of conversations between individuals and as a group sitting at a normal table, which then allowed us to have a better understand of how some of the relationships can be separated into small clusters – this had lead to the idea that small curves can allow intimate conversations while still being considered as part of the large shared table.

FS: What are some of the challenges you faced during the design/realization of your concept?
BB: The main challenge during the design stage was for the concept of a non-traditional conference table to be accepted by the corporate client and users. This was overcome by the engagement process with illustrative concept materials, and once the concept proves to be aesthetically pleasing and practical – the design was loved and got the go ahead! In terms of a technical challenge, due to the nature of the geometries the veneer table top needed special manufacturing processes. One challenge was deciding on the appropriate finishes for the color-coded edges; for durability and aesthetic, we chose protective laminate edge bands around the perimeter edge.

FS: How did you decide to submit your design to an international design competition?
BB: We believed we have fresh ideas: offices are changing, breaking out from the more rigid, corporate solutions: our design for this conference table was an attempt to push the boundaries and questions new ways of using our workspaces. We think workspaces of the future should be more playful in order to stimulate creativity, and more flexible to cater for our complex contemporary lifestyles.


FS: Thank you for providing us with this opportunity to interview you.

A' Design Award and Competitions grants rights to press members and bloggers to use parts of this interview. This interview is provided as it is; DesignPRWire and A' Design Award and Competitions cannot be held responsible for the answers given by participating designers.

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