It doesn't take a looming deadline or industry controversy to send the ARCHITECT staff into email-chain frenzy. Often, an innovative or well-designed new product is enough to get us talking. These conversations become particularly useful when sourcing products and technologies to cover. Incorporated in this week’s roundup are design objects that distracted our staff members recently—namely, a chair made from party balloons, a door that folds like origami, and three eye-catching finishes.


Watermark, Deborah Osburn
Inspired by Japanese textile–dyeing techniques, California-based designer Deborah Osburn hand-dipped unglazed porcelain tiles into pools of indigo and gold verdigris dye. Over many days, each tile soaks up the rich pigments, creating gradients unique to its own composition. The Watermark collection for Clé comprises the dipped tiles (shown) as well as stroked, stained, and washed variations. The tiles can be installed indoors and outdoors, and on walls or floors.

Credit: Clé



Carbon Balloon Chair, Marcel Wanders
Dutch designer Marcel Wanders is known for using seemingly fragile materials in sturdy furniture construction, and his new Carbon Balloon Chair is no exception. The chair seems poised to float away, weighing less than two pounds and made from long balloons filled with compressed air, wrapped in carbon fiber strips, and hardened with epoxy resin, writes  Dezeen. Proof that it will remain grounded—and in one piece? Wanders’ previous works including the celebrated 1996 Knotted Chair, which comprises aramid and carbon fibers knotted into the shape of a chair and hardened with epoxy resin.

Credit: Marcel Wanders



Market, Ann Sacks
The Market collection of wall tiles from Ann Sacks uses the vivid, near-translucent hues of overlapped pears (shown), tomatoes, carrots, gourds, citrus fruits, and cucumbers to turn interior walls into a natural form of eye candy. Designed in collaboration with glass artist Tony Davlin, the series features tissue-thin slices of the fruits and vegetables dried and pressed between two glass lites. The result is both elegant and, dare we say, a little Wonka-esque.

Credit: Ann Sacks



Evolution Door, Klemens Torggler
Austrian designer Klemens Torggler gives the traditional barn-style interior door—and any door, really—a mesmerizing update. The Evolution Door features four triangular panels that are paired and bend like origami by folding inward along their hypotenuses. The movement rotates the door sideways to open or close without the need for a track.



Asterix, Christopher Boots
Asterix is a series of five LED pendants (Quadrix, shown) from Australian designer Christopher Boots that re-interprets the same Art Deco geometry in form factors ranging from simple to complex. The  angular frames, offered in silicon or carbon with copper or zinc finishes, are fitted with inlaid LEDs that face to its exterior at a color temperature of 2700K. Each pendant measures 500mm tall and 500mm wide, with the exception of Parallelogram, which is 250mm wide.

Credit: Christopher Boots



Plyboo Dimensional Lumber, Smith & Fong
San Francisco–based Smith & Fong’s Plyboo Dimensional Lumber gives architectural-grade wood an aesthetic and eco-friendly punch. Neopolitan (shown second from the top), one of the five available designs, comprises hand-sorted strips of FSC–certified bamboo coated in resin and pressed into dimensional forms to create an “artful mix” of hues, says company founder and president Dan Smith. The wood making up the darkest strands is heated at 284 F for up to six hours, cooled, then heated for two hours at the same temperature. It meets California’s Section 01350 for limited off-gassing.

Credit: Charlie Nucci