Life is getting more comfortable for global nomads who might want to personalize a generic hotel room or an anonymous workspace. Thanks to some of the new products from Pablo Designs on display at this year’s International Contemporary Furniture Fair, you can take your furniture with you on your travels. Here there were portable lamps, portable workstations and Bluetooth-powered music lanterns—with handy leather straps for ease in repositioning and, in some instances, carrying bags.
The San Francisco-based company’s founder, Venezuelan-born Pablo Pardo, is focusing on designing versatile products that can be integrated into a wide variety of settings. “It is essentially recognizing that the way we work today is very different than the way we used to work,” he says to ArchiExpo, “We are addressing the flexible workspace.”
The emphasis is on furniture that can be set up indoors and outdoors and that can be used at home and work. The eye-catching material, covering several of the most notable products at Pablo Designs’ booth this year, is a cuddly-soft nubby felt that is used on both the Lana lamp and the Corner Office. In addition to addressing today’s more comfort-oriented culture, this felt furniture also holds colors well and comes in both neutrals such as grays and charcoals as well as and vibrant reds and greens.
The Corner Office is a compact, foldable, flat-panel station with USB and AC ports that can be put away or set up in an instant. Sometimes in the open office plan of today, people want their privacy and this felt screen gives them that option. Pardo says that felt’s light weight makes for portability and also provides natural noise control. You can adjust the panels, and there is extension panel available that attaches magnetically.
The new Lana lamp is a handcrafted, 100% felt lampshade with an integrated angled LED light that won the 2015 IIDEX Gold Innovation Award. You can order it with an adjustable floor stand, attach it to a magnetic bracket, use it on table stand, or just pop it off and use the magnet to attach it to any ferrous surface. “It came from idea of having a highly flexible shaded lamp that focuses light where you need it,” remarks Pardo. “It is not a traditional ambient light that flows—it is a task light with an ambient iconography.”
The most unusual object on display was Uma, a contemporary interpretation of the gas lanterns that were used in the time of Charles Dickens. Uma is not just a lantern that emits an ethereal light, it also a Bluetooth device with a high-quality sound that includes a booming base. Discretely placed dials at the top of the device control both the volume and the light dimmer.
So what you might ask is the inspiration for this far out furniture? “We are living and working at the epicenter of the new economy in the Bay Area,” says Pardo, “and people here are not only creating new ways of working together, but also reimagining tools for those spaces.”