3 Designer-Manufacturer Collaborations Reflect Emerging Priorities

Products designed by Ilse Crawford, BOA, and Naoto Fukasawa are marked by sustainability, craft, and simplicity.

Oi Studio Custom Bar
Courtesy OI Studio

When companies collaborate closely with actual designers as opposed to marketing teams, they do so to tap into a current mood and align their products with real-life issues that concern users. A sampling of those instances quickly highlights three priorities that specifiers need products to reflect: sustainability, craft, and simplicity.


New Orleans–based OI Studio owes its stance on sustainability to founder BOA’s personal history as a native of St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. Her appreciation for lush Caribbean island life translates to a strict reliance on managed forests for sourcing and nontoxic finishes for biophilic designs.

Ch24 Beech Pewter Natural Papercord Side
Courtesy Carl Hansen & Søn

For reissues of Hans Wegner’s classic designs for Carl Hansen & Søn, London-based designer Ilse Crawford created a palette of muted colors recast for the current time’s subdued mood. The resulting First Masterpieces collection features what Crawford describes as “not easy, trend-driven, or standard decorative colors, but ones that add depth and complexity.”

24 Emeco Za Small Stools Colors Top View
Courtesy Emeco


Emeco’s aluminum seating—namely its Navy chair—already reflects the beauty of simple design. Industrial designer Naoto Fukasawa created the company’s Za stool to further celebrate that legacy and its inherent greenness. “Za comes from the soul of Emeco—made for lifetimes of use, with a minimum carbon footprint,” he says.

You may also enjoy “Tarkett Calls on Note Design Studio to Outfit Its New Stockholm Showroom

Would you like to comment on this article? Send your thoughts to: [email protected]

Register here for Metropolis’s Think Tank Thursdays and hear what leading firms across North America are thinking and working on today.

Recent Products