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The Week in Design: A 'Tron'-Inspired Chair and a Robotic Chandelier

selection of this week's designs
The Web is teeming with the unrealized ideas of both students and established designers who set out to produce astonishing renderings and prototypes for unusual products. Unfortunately, due to the lack of time, money, or technology, many of those products never progress from the planning stages to the mass market. But that doesn't mean we can't salivate over them, nevertheless.

This week, we only found beautiful things. The blocky -- and, we'd guess, prohibitively expensive -- 'Tron: Legacy'-inspired chair for Cappellini would fit snugly among our other fantasy furniture, like the robotic-armed chandelier by a German design student. But where to put the 3-D-extruded chairs made from old refrigerators? Decisions, decisions. See the rest of our favorite designs of the week after the break.

Tron Chair by Studio Dror for Cappellini x Disney

Tron Chair
Well, you probably didn't see this coming. High-end seating manufacturer Cappellini has teamed with Disney (and New York-based designer Dror Benshetrit) to create a blocky, abstract chair based on the landscape of 'Tron.' (Disney paired with Cappellini once before, during the Milan Design Fair.) "Raw data forms a jagged and angular landscape, serving as a muse for a chair that is comprised of intersecting layers and textures of 'digital' rock," say the designers. Several of the chairs will be hand-finished by Studio Dror, in a variety of paint-splattered configurations.

Fanuc Chairs by Dirk Vander Kooij

Fanuc Chairs
Dutch design student Dirk Vander Kooij repurposed an old Chinese production line robot called Fanuc to 3-D print chairs out of pulverized refrigerators. (Yes, you read that correctly.) The refrigerators are ground up into a fine meal, which is then melted and extruded through Fanuc, which is itself programmed with a line-by-line design. After about two hours, a brilliant (and, from what we can tell, sturdy) new chair is born from refuse. We really can't do this thing justice in our write-up; just check out the brilliant video of Fanuc in action here.

Silke by Sebastian Neitsch

silke chandelier
We were drawn to young designer Sebastian Neitsch when we recently came across his flamethrower-equipped robot. But, digging deeper, we discovered his most recent work and final project at the University of Art and Design in Halle, and it managed to best his earlier projects. Neitsch's Silke chandelier is a robotic piece of lighting that directly responds to the viewer. As you come close, a single tentacle-like arm turns to inspect you, and the other 23 servo-controlled arms eventually follow. "If you get really loud and get really close at the same time, she gets scared and moves up every single arm," Nietsch writes. Creepy (as it's eerily reminiscent of the Sentinels from 'The Matrix') but also oddly endearing, Nietsch shows that robots have potential to do more than serve as singing automatons and worker slaves. See a video here.

IOBR by Passi & Ripatti

iobr social networking box
"Social networking for toddlers." Oh boy. Your writer has made it known that, despite a devotion to tech, social networking isn't really his cup of Kool-Aid. So it's with trepidation that he approaches the IOBR, a social networking device created by two Finns to keep their respective younguns connected. The box utilizes three different blocks -- each one representing either sleeping, eating, or brushing teeth -- that each toddler can place on top, in order to send a notification to the other. And sure, that's fine. According to FastCoDesign, the designers claim the boxes are a hit with the kids. But, do toddlers need to tell one another that they're eating or sleeping? Does it help to build better social minds, better human beings? (We can, of course, ask these same questions about adults and their own tweets.) Your writer's just wondering aloud, is all. The interface of IOBR itself is rather neat.

Falling Light by Troika x Swarovski

Falling Light
Troika has always walked the fine line between art and design, and the studio's collaboration with Swarovski for the Design Miami exhibition is no different. Call it an installation or one of the most creative chandeliers we've ever seen; 'Falling Light' employs 50 ceiling-mounted LEDs that bob up and down over convex Swarovski crystal lenses. As the lights move closer and further away, light "raindrops" fall on the ground, and the mechanical arms produce an audible rhythm in sync. Check out a video of 'Falling Light' here.

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