Lounge Landscape

What’s it all about?

The Lounge Landscape team created a seating area whose form reflects the make-up of a landscape. Lounge Landscape was presented to a larger public at the 175th anniversary of the HfG Offenbach University for Art and Design. The project received great critical acclaim from product designers, design companies, and the public. The Lounge Landscape team was awarded the “Materialica Design and Technology Award 2007.”

1. Innovation: Innovative composition of materials

Lounge Landscape is made of a novel multilayered composite material out of three dimensional polyester fabrics within glass fibre which is very strong and light at the same time. The draft evolves directly from the potential of the novel compound material that allows generating complex three-dimensional forms. By means of a mathematical method, unique object morphology could be raised. Here, the logics inherent in the material are represented by mathematical equations, which can be manipulated systematically to serve as digital tools for form-generation. Thus, a whole family of individual, differentiated objects arise from a single mother form through diversifying the equations. Each object is evaluated concerning ergonomics, statics and formal criteria. Lounge Landscape arises from a generative design method which integrates material, form, statics and ergonomics. The design therefore generates from the material itself.

2. Innovation: Surface-User Interaction

The production process generates landscape-like lounge furniture with specific characteristics that do not restrict the user to a certain way of sitting or lying. The surface geometry is also due to ergonomic criteria in the mathematic form-generation. Here, ergonomics is not defined as adapting a seat to a specific use but as offering a generated surface structure that invites users to sit, rest, lean or linger on it just as they please. Lounge Landscape encourages users to keep on changing positions and thus interacting with the surface and the other users. In the microcosm of Lounge Landscape, resting can become an individual or a social event.

Lounge Landscape was created especially for the University’s 175th anniversary. The objects were placed outside on the University’s square, inviting people to have a rest and relax on them. The objects’ design reflects the lively and communicative atmosphere of the event. The geometry and the individual character of each object allow many ways of sitting or lying on them. The objects with their slopes make us think of dunes or hilly landscapes with valleys and they visualize a place to take a rest. Depending on the incidence of light the surface changes from glossy to matt or even translucent. Due to the convex and concave surface structure, one object accommodates for several people. Deliberately, there is no clearly defined “use” for each object. Thus, Lounge Landscape breaks with the common zoning and functions of conventional furniture. The focus is on the interaction of the user with the sculptural surface: The shapes and slopes of the surface invite users to explore it and use it individually as a seat, arm-rest or back-rest. Lounge Landscape invites users to sit, lie, lean on, rest, or linger, and encourages them to keep on finding their own position on the object and in relation to the other users. Depending on the users’ positions, they can either take a short break or have a longer rest.

Semester Project 2007

Team: Nicola Burggraf, Susanne Hoffmann, Steffen H. Reichert, Nico Reinhardt, Yambo Xu
Advisor: Prof. Achim Menges
Hochschule für Gestaltung (HfG) Offenbach, Germany
Special thanks to: Elena Burggraf, Burkhardt Schempp and Wolfgang Heide


Bayerischer Staatspreis für Handwerk 2009
Materialica Design & Technology Award 2007