I just returned from the London Design Festival, a heady mix of designer debuts, product launches, exhibitions, trade shows and showroom events. With so much ground to cover in so little time (8 days), the experience was total sensory overload. It was admittedly difficult to focus my attention amid all that creative buzz but this quirky character with his leopard spotted hairdo made me stop and do a double take.
His name is John Niero, a Los Angeles based furniture and lighting designer abroad in London launching two new chairs. His company is called Just Not Normal, which reflects my personal design mantra. Steve Jobs said it best: “Designers must produce what the public has yet imagined.” Job’s words of wisdom guided me through the difficult task of curating design finds at this massive event. Niero’s work was all about the unexpected and riffs on iconic pieces.
The Corset—sober and restrained on the front and a surprising jolt of electric green on the back with its webbed corset that supports the seat by wrapping around a thin rod of stainless steel recessed in a shallow groove routered into the frame. The legs and arms are finished in powder coated steel.
His mark III chair draws inspiration from two icons of different times: the classic mid-century Eames Lounge Chair and the 1970s Lincoln Continental.
It’s made of a continuous piece of curving bent ply with a walnut veneer tapering at each end. Niero says the minimalist design allows the beauty of the wood, stainless steel and leather to shine.
Niero debuted his chairs at Tent London, one of five huge exhibitions and trade shows tied to London Design Week.