Dezeen's top 10 chairs of 2016

Designers are always reinventing the chair, and 2016 was no different. Continuing our review of the year, deputy editor Rima Sabina Aouf shares her favourites, including seats inspired by comics, a granite throne and a chair with its own microclimate.


Manga chairs by Nendo

Japanese design studio Nendo created this series of 50 chairs based on the abstract lines and grids used in manga-style comic books.

Each polished stainless-steel chair in the collection is intended to emulate a design element used in manga to illustrate emotions or actions.

Read more about the Manga chairs ›

DDW: Flax chair - Christien Meindertsma

Flax chair by Christien Meindertsma

Christien Meindertsma’s Flax chair won two Dutch Design Awards for its innovative use of flax fibre.

The fully biodegradable chair is made from flax fibres combined with PLA – a polylactic acid made from sugarcane or corn starch – and cut from panels that leave no material left over or wasted.

Read more about the Flax chair ›

Campione by Max Lamb for Pedretti Graniti

Campione chair by Max Lamb

British designer Max Lamb worked with experts from Italy’s mountainous Trentino region to produce the monolithic Campione chair as part of a new initiative called Trentino Collaborations.

The chair is made from a slab of tonalite rock and showcases 14 different stone-carving techniques practised by granite specialists Pedretti Graniti.

Read more about the Campione chair ›

Bertjan Pot designs bespoke Jacquard textile for Cassina's iconic Utrecht armchair

Cassina’s Utrecht armchair upholstered by Bertjan Pot

Dutch designer Bertjan Pot created a colourful new bespoke textile for Cassina’s classic Utrecht armchair, designed by Gerrit Rietveld in 1935.

Covering 90 limited-edition chairs, Pot’s BoxBlocks fabric features a unique geometric pattern in which the combination of triangles is never repeated.

Read more about the Utrecht BoxBlocks armchair ›

Pair Chair by Benjamin Hubert for Fritz Hansen

Pair chair by Layer for Fritz Hansen

Benjamin Hubert’s Pair chair for Fritz Hansen has over 8,000 possible unique combinations.

With a pressed plywood seat shell and a translucent polycarbonate backrest, the design of the stackable chair presents an update on the mid-century style pioneered by Fritz Hansen.

Read more about the Pair chair ›

Microclimate chair by Greg Lynn at the Nike Nature of Motion exhibition

Microclimate chair by Greg Lynn for Nike

Presented at Nike’s Nature of Motion exhibition in Milan, this temperature-regulating chair by architect Greg Lynn could help athletes significantly improve their performance.

The high-tech carbon-fibre chair is embedded with electronics designed to cool and heat athletes between periods of exercise.

Read more about the microclimate chair ›


Ace chair by Hans Horneman for Normann Copenhagen

Normann Copenhagen worked with Danish designer Hans Horneman to create this range of flat-packed lounge chairs, which arrive in pieces and can be easily self-assembled.

The chairs feature rounded backs that are flexible to add “a springy feeling”.

Read more about the Ace chair ›


Pacific chair by Barber and Osgerby for Vitra

Design duo Barber and Osgerby’s minimal and “visually calm” Pacific chair is their first office seating for Vitra.

Launched at the Orgatec 2016 trade fair in Cologne, The Pacific chair conceals its mechanical parts behind an extra-long rectangular backrest, which extends below the base of the seat.

Read more about the Pacific chair ›

Big-Game's Little Big Chair for Magis Me Too

Little Big chair by Big-Game for Magis

Swiss studio Big-Game was one of several to launch children’s products in Milan, with a miniature adjustable chair.

Designed for kids from two to six years old, Big-Game’s Little Big Chair features a lightweight plastic seat shell that fits over a wooden frame.

Read more about the Little Big chair ›


Tree Trunk chair by Maarten Baas

This oversized armchair that would be formed inside a growing tree trunk featured in Dutch designer Maarten Baas’s New! Newer! Newest! exhibition in Milan.

Baas’ concept Tree Trunk chair would take 200 years to produce and would be grown using a mould pressed into a tree.

Read more about the Tree Trunk chair ›

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Mid-century Iran villa by Gio Ponti faces demolition to make way for luxury hotel

One of the most famous houses by Italian architect Gio Ponti is set to be demolished, as the owner plans to replace it with a 20-storey hotel.

Built in the north of Iranian capital Tehran in the 1960s, Villa Namazee forms part of an influential trio of properties by Ponti, along with Villa Planchart and Villa Arreaza, both in Caracas, Venezuela.

The villa was previously protected by a heritage listing.

But a court has now granted the owner permission to delist the mid-century property, paving for the way for it to be demolished and replaced with the high-rise five-star hotel.


“The building has been legally taken off the list,” said Mohammad-Hassan Talebian, deputy head of Iran’s cultural heritage, handcrafts and tourism organisation, according to the Guardian.

“So the only way to save it is for the municipality to bring it under public ownership or exchange it for other properties.”

The country’s architects have launched a campaign to try and save the house.

But many see it as evidence of Iran’s disregard for its modern heritage – even through the country is currently experiencing a boom in the demand for contemporary architecture.


“This is a building designed by such an important architect,” said Leila Araghian, the architect of Tehran’s new Tabiat Bridge – a project that has won critical acclaim around the world.

“If it was anywhere else, it would have been protected,” she told the Guardian.

Gio Ponti died in 1979. His other famous architecture projects include the Pirelli Tower in Milan and the Denver Art Museum in Colorado. He also founded Domus magazine, and produced several iconic furniture and lighting designs.

All images courtesy of Hamed Khosravi/Tehran Project.

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Airbnb unveils new headquarters in a disused Dublin warehouse

Airbnb has revealed its new headquarters in Dublin, which mark the first time the company has been able to determine the architectural layout of one of its offices.

The new headquarters, dubbed The Warehouse, was designed by the company’s in-house environments team in collaboration with Dublin-based practice Heneghan Peng Architects.

Airbnb Dublin Office interior

Set inside a disused warehouse, the new headquarters have been completely designed from scratch – a first for Airbnb – and will become a blueprint for other campuses across the world.

Following feedback from staff at the Airbnb Portland office, the environments team were keen to create a space that made it easier for employees to find each other.

Airbnb Dublin Office interior

This led to the “neighbourhood” concept, which involved dividing the space up into a series of primary and secondary workspaces.

The primary workspaces consist of 29 neighbourhoods each filled with identical components – one large table, personal storage, one or two standing desks and one lounge spot.

Airbnb Dublin Office interior

The secondary workspaces include the large open atrium, kitchen area and the meeting rooms – each of which are inspired by existing Airbnb listings around the world and designed by local employees.

“The Warehouse was a rare opportunity for our team to start from scratch and further evolve the Belong Anywhere workplace philosophy that makes Airbnb unique,” said Airbnb’s lead interior designer Rebecca Ruggles.

Airbnb Dublin Office interior

“The combination of neighbourhoods with the visual and physical connection across the atrium provides just the right balance of privacy and socialisation”

The neighbourhoods are organised around a bleacher-style staircase that connects the basement to the first floor.

Airbnb Dublin Office interior

Named the Agora, after the ancient Greek term for a public open space, the staircase serves multiple purposes, including a conference space and a “lounge-style” working environment.

“Our ambition has often been moderated by the constraints of an existing structure that can’t be altered,” said Aaron Taylor Harvey, head of the environments team. “It was with the Dublin Warehouse that we finally had the opportunity to provoke the level of interaction and crosstalk that we’ve always imagined.”

Airbnb Dublin Office interior

Airbnb was founded in 2008 by Rhode Island School of Design graduates Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky as a site that would allow travellers to stay in ordinary homes instead of hotels.

In an interview with Dezeen, Chesky talked about how sceptical Silicon Valley had been that two designers could build a successful home-stay booking website. Airbnb is now bigger than most hotel chains.

Airbnb Dublin Office interior

British designer Ilse Crawford, who was one of the designers that installed their interpretations of ‘home’ in London’s Trafalgar Square, told Dezeen that Airbnb is causing a sea-change in attitudes towards design by allowing people to experience stylish interiors first-hand rather than via magazines and websites.

Earlier this year, the company launched its own design studio, creating a house of the future for a Tokyo exhibition as its first project.

Photography is by Donal Murphy.

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10 homes that feature colour blocking from Dezeen's Pinterest boards

This week’s Pinterest roundup features 10 homes from Dezeen’s Pinterest boards that demonstrate how colour blocking can be used to add personality to residential interiors.


House For Agnes, UK, by Tigg Coll Architects

Exposed I-beams in this London house in London were painted bright red by designer Tigg Coll Architects. They introduce a playful character into the property’s otherwise traditional interior.

Find out more about House for Agnes ›


Kennington House, UK, by R2 Studio

Blue, green and yellow all feature in the kitchen of this renovated 19th century house in London. The previously dark and narrow property also features a stairwell that graduates from red up to orange.

Find out more about Kennington House ›


Apartment AB, Austria, by Kombinat

Slovenian studio Kombinat added coloured tiles to the walls of this Vienna apartment to highlight storage areas. The kitchen wall features pastel green tiles behind shelving units, while blue and pink tiles line a hallway where the owners store their bikes.

Find out more about Apartment AB ›


Chipinque Monterrey, Mexico, by Studio Jakob Gomez

A bold yellow storage area acts as the transition area between the living room and bedrooms of this 1970s apartment in Mexico. Architect Jakob Gomez chose the bright colour to make the space stand out.

Find out more about Chipinque Monterrey ›


Fin House for Roksanda Ilincic, UK, by RA Projects

RA Projects introduced a bright blue steel staircase to contrast with the minimal interior of this London house. It was designed for fashion designer Roksanda Ilincic and her husband Philip Bueno de Mesquita – although the pair later decided to sell.

Find out more about Fin House ›


Apartment Filippo, UK, by Studio Alexander Fehre

A fixed table and benches form the dining space in this London apartment by Studio Alexander Fehre. The seating is finished in bright crimson, creating a vivid contrast with the monochrome wallpaper.

Find out more about Apartment Filippo ›


Piso Pereiv44, Spain, by Miel Arquitectos

Miel Arquitectos added various bold pops of colour to this bright apartment designed for visitors to Barcelona. The focal point of the space is a continuous wall interrupted by fluorescent green storage spaces.

Find out more about Piso Pereiv44 ›


Basanaviciaus, Lithuania, by AKTA

The kitchen, dining and living room of this apartment in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius features colourful furniture, which are offset by black-metal details. Elements include green kitchen cabinets, a velvet blue sofa and a textured red chair.

Find out more about Basanaviciaus ›


Tin House, UK, by Henning Stummel

Skylights illuminate the warm-hued rooms of Henning Stummel’s self-designed London home. Rich orange cabinetry and walls feature throughout, chosen to complement the natural hue of the home’s russet steel cladding.

Find out more about Tin House ›


Canari House, Canada, by Naturehumaine

Canadian studio Naturehumaine transformed a 1930s building to create this contemporary home, and used colour-blocking to articulate circulation. The focal point of the interior is a stark black and yellow staircase with geometric cut-outs.

Find out more about Canari House ›

Follow Dezeen on Pinterest ›

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Grimshaw overhauls student union at North Carolina university

Grimshaw has completed the renovation and expansion of Duke University’s West Campus Union in Durham, North Carolina, where the UK firm has added a glass box in the centre of the historic building.

The university‘s union building and surrounding areas were updated to reinstate it as the heart of the campus.

Duke University West Campus Union by Grimshaw

First opened in 1931, the West Campus Union was designed by American architect Horace Trumbauer’s office as a hub for the university.

It formed part of a masterplan by Frederick Law Olmstead, the landscape architect behind New York’s Central Park.

Duke University West campus by Grimshaw

Grimshaw‘s reconfiguration of the building involved retaining and preserving Trumbauer’s original stone facades – complete with ornate window tracery and gargoyles – but adding a new central core.

“These historic elements now frame a transparent atrium that provides a focal point for the building and surrounding academic precinct,” said the firm, founded by Nicolas Grimshaw in 1980.

Duke University West campus by Grimshaw

Large blackened-steel portals were inserted into the existing stone walls to create links between the wings and the atrium, improving circulation.

“This new network of connections creates a buzz of movement and interaction around the building, cultivating a palpable energy that defines the revived student community,” Grimshaw said.

Duke University West campus by Grimshaw

Steel and glass balconies provide seating areas below gothic-style wooden roof trusses, while a series of glass bridges create links between previously hard-to-reach rooms.

The union houses a range of dining facilities – boasting 12 venues that serve different international cuisines.

Duke University West campus by Grimshaw

Original cafeteria style kitchens in the centre of the building were removed and replaced with exposed cooking stations.

Dining areas spill out onto Crown Commons – an outdoor space to the south of the building that also includes a beer garden.

Duke University West campus by Grimshaw

Conference rooms, small group meeting areas and multi-purpose spaces are spread throughout the building for the university’s clubs and societies to make use of.

“The renovation and expansion of West Campus Union marks a significant architectural intervention that aspires to connect, preserve, and sustain student life,” said Grimshaw, which is also working on a high-rise school on the outskirts of Sydney.

The firm’s proposal for London’s Heathrow Airport was recently given the go-ahead, while its other ongoing projects include a pavilion for the Dubai 2020 Expo and a horse “theme park” in South Korea.

Photography is by James Ewing.

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Unclutterer’s 2016 Holiday Gift Giving Guide: Wrap up

Order a copy today of ​Never Too Busy to Cure Clutter​ by Unclutterer’s Editor-in-Chief Erin Rooney Doland.

2016 gift giving guideThis wraps up the 10th anniversary of the Holiday Gift Guide here on Unclutterer. I hope this series of posts inspired you to give uncluttered, organized, and/or useful gifts this year. To recap:

And speaking of “wrapping up” here is an interesting video on using furoshiki, a traditional Japanese wrapping cloth that can be used for wrapping gifts. If you’re handy with a sewing machine, consider uncluttering a closet and converting a favourite shirt, dress or blanket into re-usable gift bags.


Feel welcome to explore our previous Gift Giving Guides for even more ideas: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Post written by Jacki Hollywood Brown

Unitasker Wednesday: Angry Mama Microwave Oven Cleaner

Order a copy today of ​Never Too Busy to Cure Clutter​ by Unclutterer’s Editor-in-Chief Erin Rooney Doland.

All Unitasker Wednesday posts are jokes — we don’t want you to buy these items, we want you to laugh at their ridiculousness. Enjoy!

angry mama oven cleanerIt is important to clean your microwave oven regularly. Mould and other bacteria can grow on the food remnants left inside your microwave and contaminate other foods you cook. Besides, it will look and smell terrible. You should clean your microwave about once a week or when needed, such as immediately after a food spill.

You could use the Angry Mama Microwave Oven Cleaner. This five-inch tall figurine is made from non-toxic plastic. You fill Angry Mama with vinegar and water, turn on your microwave and the steam created will loosen baked-on residue leaving your microwave looking clean and smelling fresh.

A glass bowl filled with vinegar and water heated in the microwave oven will also do the same job. Also, by using a glass bowl you already own, you won’t have the large plastic figurine cluttering up your cupboards and perpetuating the myth that the only reason to clean your microwave oven is that your mother is angry.

Post written by Jacki Hollywood Brown

Being productive with Nextdoor, for uncluttering and more

Order a copy today of ​Never Too Busy to Cure Clutter​ by Unclutterer’s Editor-in-Chief Erin Rooney Doland.

About a year ago I joined my local Nextdoor community. For those who aren’t aware of Nextdoor, it’s a “private social network for your neighborhood.” Nextdoor is currently available in the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands.

As a locally focused network, Nextdoor won’t have messages about national politics. The following are the kinds of messages I usually see:

  • Lost and found pets: dogs, cats, and chickens
  • Other lost and found items, including keys, phones, and jewelry
  • Items for sale (or items being given away for free)
  • Items people are looking for (usually free or inexpensive)
  • Requests for a good painter, plumber, handyperson, house cleaner, etc.
  • Notices about local events
  • Notices about local road closures

As with any such network, taking time to use it effectively will pay off. If you’re using Nextdoor (or considering such use in the future), please keep the following suggestions in mind.

Choose your notification options carefully

Nextdoor lets you choose to get emails about every post from your neighborhood (and top posts from nearby neighborhoods), no emails at all, or something in between. You can also choose to get a daily digest, and the contents of that digest can be customized a bit. You can also select which “nearby neighborhoods” you want to see messages from, whether that’s via email or on the Nextdoor website or mobile app.

You can also choose to get mobile alerts about urgent items: missing children, natural disasters, etc.

You may not be sure which messages you want to get at first, so just make your best guess and then adjust as necessary after you’ve been in the network for a while.

Use good subject lines

Just as with email, you will make everyone’s life a bit easier if the subject line makes it obvious what your message is about. I get a lot of Nextdoor emails every day, and I want to be able to quickly scan to see which ones may be of interest.

I saw a message this week with the subject line “Hi all” — which wound up being someone who was looking for a vacuum cleaner. A subject line saying “Wanted: vacuum cleaner” or “Need a vacuum cleaner” would have been a whole lot better.

Similarly, a lost and found message entitled “Lost bracelet at or around Farmers Market” is much better than one that just says “bracelet.”

Include good photos when relevant

Just as you would with Craigslist, be sure to include good photos if you’re offering something for sale (or even for free). Even if it’s something where the looks don’t matter (such as tickets to an event) or something pretty standard (like a Kindle), a photo can help because the message will look better in the online listings.

This is one area where I want to commend my neighbors, who have generally done a good job of this. One person even included a picture of the “free clean dirt” being offered — which got taken pretty quickly!

Also consider photos when posting about lost or found items or pets.

I haven’t yet used Nextdoor to give things away, since my local freecycle group usually works fine for that. But I have some china to get rid of, and I just might try selling it on Nextdoor.

Post written by Jeri Dansky

The perfect souvenir

Order a copy today of ​Never Too Busy to Cure Clutter​ by Unclutterer’s Editor-in-Chief Erin Rooney Doland.

A while ago I was visiting the site GoThreeTwentyFour. It was created by Stephanie and her goal is to visit all 324 (now 325) countries on the Travellers’ Century Club list.

In one of her blog posts, she recounts how she was in Cyprus on the beach where the mythical Greek goddess Aphrodite emerged from the sea. Stephanie’s first thought was to take one of the small, smooth stones as a souvenir but she did not. It was one of her biggest regrets about her visit to Cyprus. It was this experience that got her thinking about the traits of the “perfect souvenir.”

Stephanie indicates that a souvenir should have at least four of the following characteristics.

  • Useful – You need to use the item you purchase. Eat the candies. Display the artwork.
  • Collectible – Consider purchasing the same or similar item in every location but make sure you are clear on how to develop the collection.
  • Personal – This should be something you identify with on a personal level, not just a fridge magnet with your name on it.
  • Local – There should be something about the item that you can’t find anywhere else.
  • Connective – The item should be a reminder of the place and the people you met along the way.
  • Practical – It should be affordable and easy to take back home.
  • Unique – Don’t shop at the same chain stores as you have at home. Get something that has its own story.
  • Quality – Make sure the souvenir is durable enough for you to enjoy for a long time.

These tips can be applied when you’re buying souvenirs for friends and family too.

Stephanie says a rock from the beach in Cyprus would have had at least five of the characteristics of a perfect souvenir. She feels that the important characteristics for a souvenir might be different for each trip and different people might give the qualities varying degrees of importance.

Here is a quote from Stephanie, an idea that we at Unclutterer approve of:

“The goal is to skip buying something that will be a waste of money and recognize when you totally need to grab the rock on the beach.”

We would like to thank Stephanie for allowing us to share her infographic with our readers. Please visit her site, GoThreeTwentyFour for more details on the “Perfect Souvenir.”


perfect souvenir

Post written by Jacki Hollywood Brown

How to hire a professional organizer for the holidays

Order a copy today of ​Never Too Busy to Cure Clutter​ by Unclutterer’s Editor-in-Chief Erin Rooney Doland.

Holiday organizing sometimes means calling in a professional.

The winter holidays represent a busy time for many people. In addition to the day-to-day tasks of running a household, you may take on:

  • Traveling
  • Hosting visitors
  • Planning/hosting a party
  • Decorating the house
  • Shopping
  • Cooking

…and so on. Add to that the general cleaning, laundry, maintenance, homework, etc. of a typical month and it’s very easy to get stretched way too thin. When that happens you might consider hiring a professional organizer. This extra set of hands can be a real life-saver, if you approach it carefully. Here are a few tips for finding, hiring and getting the most out of a professional organizer around the holidays.

Find the right organizer for you

Hiring the right organizer for you isn’t as easy as firing up Google and contacting the top result. There’s a lot to consider, starting with trust. This is a person who will be working in your home, and potentially be working with stuff you don’t often share with strangers. The truth is just about anyone can call themselves a “professional organizer.” There are, however, a few steps you can take to find a trustworthy, qualified professional.

Your best option is to start with an industry association such as the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO). There are NAPO members all over the world however, many countries have their own associations. See the International Federation of Professional Organizing Associations (IFPOA) for an association in your country.

Most associations require their members to have a certain amount of training and carry insurance before they can be listed on the association website. Additionally, members must adhere to a strict Code of Ethics.

It is also a good idea to ask around. Perhaps a friend, relative or coworker has used an organizer successfully. Create a list of two or three likely candidates and then schedule interviews.

Spend twenty or thirty minutes to spend talking with each candidate. Many will offer this type of consultation for free. During this chat, you can get to know his or her personality, experience, credentials, history and organizational philosophy. Get even more specific by asking about:

  • How long have they been in business?
  • What type of organizing do they specialize in?
  • What do they charge and is there a written contract?
  • Do they prefer to work alone or with others?
  • Can they provide references?

Professional Organizers in Canada (POC) has a great list of Frequently Asked Questions about hiring an organizer that may be helpful.

Once you’re satisfied with that I think of as the “technical” aspect, move on to the tricker questions, like:

  • How do they deal with clients who have a strong sentimental attachment to items?
  • Can they remove items marked for donation?
  • Will they purchase organizing items like baskets and bins or is that my responsibility?

A consultation can help you get the kick-start you need, find the right person and most importantly, identify the person you’re going to get along with.

How much will an organizer cost?

Rates for a professional organizer can range from about $50 to $100 an hour, and most have a 2–3 hour minimum requirement. You’ll want to know if he or she charges by the hour or by the project. Rates may vary between geographical areas and travel charges may apply depending on your location. While it’s possible to find that person who will work for $20 per hour, that “bargain” might not deliver the results you’re looking for.

Other considerations

This one might sound silly, but ask if they have advertising on their car. Perhaps you don’t want the neighbors to know you’ve brought someone in. Most organizers have confidentiality agreements to protect your privacy. If the organizer doesn’t mention this, raise the subject with him/her.

Also, know just what type of work you’re looking for. In this instance, you might want help with prepping for a party or organizing holiday decorations. Therefore, someone who specializes in bathrooms or kitchens might not be your best choice.

Pro organizer or personal assistant?

Perhaps you want to go in the other direction entirely. That is to say, hire someone to take care of the little errands while you stay home and organize the party, put the decorations away neatly and efficiently, etc. In this case, a personal assistant may be what you need. Websites like can help you find one.

In any case, best of luck with getting it all done. Hiring an organizer or assistant can be a great way to reach your goal and enjoy a more stress-free holiday. Let us know how it goes.

Post written by David Caolo