Nine Designers Reimagine Work/Life Furniture for the COVID-19 Era

09.25.20 | By
Nine Designers Reimagine Work/Life Furniture for the COVID-19 Era

It’s a familiar story by now, but when COVID-19 hit the world it truly changed the way people live, work and interact with one another. Workers of nearly every industry were made to adjust everything from their processes to where they do their work. We had to figure out how to work together while apart.

Nine leading international designers were invited by the Amer­­ican Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), Benchmark Furniture and Design Museum in London to create an imaginative table and seating combination. The idea behind the brief was that both furniture pieces would suit their new ways of living and working from home. Then ultimately, all designs would be installed for a show – Connected – at the Design Museum in London.

Ini Archibong \\\ Photo: David Cleveland

Designers involved in Connected are Ini Archibong, Maria Bruun, Jaime Hayon, Heatherwick Studio, Sebastian Herkner, Maria Jeglinska-Adamczewska, Sabine Marcelis, Studiopepe and Studio Swine.

Maria Jeglinska-Adamczewska \\\ Photo: David Cleveland

All nine had a choice of three sustainable American hardwoods to work with – red oak, maple or cherry. They were then invited to record their creative journeys to show how they approached and developed the project during a time of limited physical contact. The project really required both the designers and craftspeople at Benchmark to rely solely on digital communication and video conferencing to bring the designers’ visions to life. This approach required a new level of trust between the two, since the designers had no physical contact with their pieces while they were being made. The results are diverse and personal, using natural and stained finishes that bring the timbers to life.

Jaime Hayon

Maria Bruun \\\ Photo: David Cleveland

Sabine Marcelis

Sebastian Herkner \\\ Photo: David Cleveland


Studio Swine

Heatherwick Studio /// Photo: David Cleveland

Photo: Petr Krejci Photography

Photo: David Cleveland

To learn more about Connected and participating designers and partners, visit

Kelly Beall is Director of Branded Content at Design Milk. The Pittsburgh-based writer and designer has had a deep love of art and design for as long as she can remember, from Fashion Plates to MoMA and far beyond. When not searching out the visual arts, she's likely sharing her favorite finds with others. Kelly can also be found tracking down new music, teaching herself to play the ukulele, or on the couch with her three pets – Bebe, Rainey, and Remy. Find her @designcrush on social.