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Vantage Point: May Furniture + Architecture Pairing

April 29, 2021
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In California, May finds our gaze drawn to the beach, though it might still be shrouded in fog. In Littlehampton, UK, a small outpost offers shelter for blustery beach days; Heatherwick Studios' East Beach Café.

With the goal of maximizing the panoramic coastal view, the unique architectural design was informed both by the narrow site and the roller shutters needed to protect the building at night. The resulting mussel-like form takes cues from driftwood and local beach pebbles and creates its own topography in the surrounding landscape.

Heatherwick Studio, a firm including architects, product designers, and engineers within a single practice based in London, has a collaborative problem-solving ethos and they are committed to projects that provide the most social good. This can take the form of large civic infrastructure, or smaller projects that support local communities such as The East Beach Café.

“You can make people feel valued or cared for by design alone. It's not purely about money. It's about how we choose to value human experience.”


For our furniture counterpoint the grey-green Emu Nef outdoor lounge chair stands in contrast to the rusted exterior of the café. The seine net cording and light frame provide a casual comfort for a seaside tea without obstructing the view.

The Emu Nef is designed by French designer Patrick Norguet, who has collaborated with furniture greats Tacchini, Thonet, Offect, and Kristalia as well as fashion brands such as Louis Vuitton and Hermès. His work is part of the permanent collections of museums including MoMA.

Norguet is a passionate collaborator and enjoys exploring the process, purpose, and function of his work as well as the placement and setting to inform his design.

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