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Stephanie Hornig
Stephanie Hornig

11 Couch Designs of the Future

Stephanie Hornig
Stephanie Hornig

Are you just gonna sit there? When you could be sprawling, cuddling, storing, or hiding? Check out 11 new concepts in sofa design.

1. Sleeping Back With Legs

The Austrian designer Stephanie Hornig describes her Camp Daybed (above) thusly: “The camp daybed is a sleeping bag with legs, on which we can relax during the day and sleep at night.” It doesn’t have much back support, but given the choice between cocooning up inside my couch or just sitting on it, call me a caterpillar every time.

2. Something for every room

Courtesy of Archello

For her final project at the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, Fanny Adams designed the ultimate Leatherman of futons. It’s a double bed, it’s a couch, it’s a storage area, and it’s a table and desk. It’s all you will ever need if you ever have to go back to living in that storage unit.

3. A couch you can actually get lost in

Courtesy of Gizmag

Created by Italian designer Emanuele Magini, The Sosia (which means Doppelganger) is Play-Doh is sofa form. You can slouch it, zip it, divide it, and hide inside of it. Actually, that is way better than Play-Doh.

4. Naptime included

Courtesy of DesignRulz

Multiplo could be your everything, especially for parties. First, all the guests at your place sit in a square and tell everyone one interesting fact about themselves. Then, with a few folds, snacks are served on what is now a table. Then, you can stack them up and play fort. Lastly, lay the whole thing out for multiple person naptime. Awesome.

5. Gone to the dogs

Courtesy of Yankodesign

INU YOCHI Dog Pod, Hound Heaven.” Your dog’s sofa is boring, too. This one lets a pooch really dig himself in and get comfortable.

6. The Origami Sofa

Courtesy of Cattelan Italia

The Origami Sofa Bed by Andrea Lucatello. It’s not so much about the comfort or the versatility (although the Origami does fold down into a funky little bed)—it’s about the triangles. You just don’t see enough triangles beautifully rendered in furniture design.

7. A Bean bag straight out of Star Trek

Courtesy of Alexander Rehn

The Cay Sofa is from Swiss designer Alexander Rehn. It’s supposed to be like a hyper-intelligent bean bag, anticipating your movements. I’ll admit the video doesn’t make the product look too inviting, what with all the rolling and flopping going on. But it does look like something straight out of the Star Trek: The Next Generation prop department, which is all some people really want in a sofa.

8. Bamboo-framed Sofabed

Courtesy of Ole Jensen Design

There is some undeniably sweet about the "We are Families" Sofabed by Ole Jensen. He used only two materials—cotton and bamboo—and made a simple couch that is actually just a pile of little sleeping mats. It doesn’t look like it’s for actual sitting, but who cares? It’s so adorable!

9. For any mood

Courtesy of Design Rulz

The Anima Causa Feel Seating System is balls. Yep, 80 foam balls all tied together and waiting for you to pile into any position that “reflects the ever changing emotional state of the body.” Set mine to “ennui.”

10. Reclining is the new sitting

Courtesy of Design Rulz

The Carousel Sofa by Andrej Statskij is more proof that lying is the new sitting. The entire piece is made from coated polyurethane foam and was inspired by carnival rides. Carnies not included, but not difficult to obtain, either.   

11. Basically...a pillow.

Courtesy of Design Rulz

The Blandito pillow, from Oradaria Design in Florence, was intended to shake up the world of “sofa morphology.” This means, I think, that sofas should not be just stupid big chairs that don’t do anything. The Blandito can be folded into a love burrito, tied into a chair, or pinched into a big soft stool. 

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Ker Robertson, Getty Images
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architecture
5 Scrapped Designs for the World's Most Famous Buildings
Ker Robertson, Getty Images
Ker Robertson, Getty Images

When an architect gets commissioned to build a skyscraper or a memorial, they’re usually not the only applicant for the job. Other teams of designers submit their own ideas for how it should look, too, but these are eventually passed over in favor of the final design. This is the case for some of the world’s most recognizable landmarks—in an alternate world, the Arc de Triomphe might have been a three-story-tall elephant statue, and the Lincoln Memorial a step pyramid.

GoCompare, a comparison site for financial services, dug into these could-have-been designs for Alternate Architecture, an illustrated collection of scrapped designs for some of the most famous structures in the world, from Chicago's Tribune Tower to the Sydney Opera House.

Click through the interactive graphic below to explore rejected designs for all five landmarks.

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George Mayerle, U.S. National Library of Medicine // Public Domain
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Design
This 1907 Vision Test Was Designed for People of All Nationalities
George Mayerle, U.S. National Library of Medicine // Public Domain
George Mayerle, U.S. National Library of Medicine // Public Domain

At the turn of the 20th century, San Francisco was a diverse place. In fact, Angel Island Immigration Station, located on an island in the San Francisco Bay, was known as the “Ellis Island of the West,” processing some 300,000 people coming to the U.S. in the early 1900s. George Mayerle, a German optometrist working in the city at the time, encountered this diversity of languages and cultures every day in his practice. So in the 1890s, Mayerle created what was billed as “the only [eye] chart published that can be used by people of any nationality,” as The Public Domain Review alerts us.

Anticipating the difficulty immigrants, like those from China or Russia, would face when trying to read a vision test made solely with Roman letters for English-speaking readers, he designed a test that included multiple scripts. For his patients that were illiterate, he included symbols. It features two different styles of Roman scripts for English-speaking and European readers, and characters in Cyrillic, Hebrew, Japanese, and Chinese scripts as well as drawings of dogs, cats, and eyes designed to test the vision of children and others who couldn't read.

The chart, published in 1907 and measuring 22 inches by 28 inches, was double-sided, featuring black text on a white background on one side and white text on a black background on the other. According to Stephen P. Rice, an American studies professor at Ramapo College of New Jersey, there are other facets of the chart designed to test for a wide range of vision issues, including astigmatism and color vision.

As he explains in the 2012 history of the National Library of Medicine’s collections, Hidden Treasure [PDF], the worldly angle was partly a marketing strategy on Mayerle’s part. (He told fellow optometrists that the design “makes a good impression and convinces the patient of your professional expertness.”)

But that doesn’t make it a less valuable historical object. As Rice writes, “the ‘international’ chart is an artifact of an immigrant nation—produced by a German optician in a polyglot city where West met East (and which was then undergoing massive rebuilding after the 1906 earthquake)—and of a globalizing economy.”

These days, you probably won’t find a doctor who still uses Mayerle’s chart. But some century-old vision tests are still in use today. Shinobu Ishihara’s design for a visual test for colorblindness—those familiar circles filled with colored dots that form numbers in the center—were first sold internationally in 1917, and they remain the most popular way to identify deficiencies in color vision.

[h/t The Public Domain Review]

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