Spectorgroup is known as a collective of talented architects, planners, and interior designers with diverse experiences and expertise. And now, we can add furniture designers to that list. We chatted with our colleague Lucy Wang about what she’s working on, where she finds inspiration, and her recent exhibition at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) and WantedDesign Manhattan.
1. What is your role at Spectorgroup, and what are you currently working on?
I am an interior designer in our New York City office. I joined the firm in 2019 after achieving my MFA degree from Pratt Institute. I’ve had the opportunity to work on all kinds of projects, from commercial, hospitality, and retail design. I’m the lead designer on an adaptive-reuse project that’s utilizing a former retail storefront into an innovative and singular workspace.
2. Where do you find inspiration?
Moments in my daily routine – from practicing yoga, sipping natural wine, to observing moss and rocks in a forest – inspire me to create. COVID drastically changed how we live and work, and it’s still changing. However, our need for physical and mental health is constant. Whether for work or home we need environments that allow us to be comfortable, productive, and connect us to each other and nature. These concepts inspire me to design spaces that focus specifically on health and wellness, positive lifestyles.
3. How did health and wellness inspire you to create Make-A-Chair?
Being physically active and having a good balance between exercising and rest makes us healthy and happier. And furniture can support our well-being. Make-A-Chair encourages both the body to be in motion and the mind to be active. Like a jigsaw puzzle, the chair is three distinct pieces—a trapezoidal base, an exercise ball, and the main seat/back piece. The versatility of Make-A-Chair helps the user relax, stretch, and exercise as it serves physical movements and problem-solving. I designed the chair using Ashwood, a very common hardwood species in North America. Its properties, such as durability and being lightweight, promote a gentle balance between physicality and relaxation.
4. How does Make-A-Chair Work?
The chair supports thoughtful posture in its upright state and by re-assembling the pieces, a secondary arrangement encourages stretching and movement. To talk about how it works, you must look at the details of the joints. Where the base joins the seating part is a trapezoidal shape. To reassemble the chair into its second arrangement, the user would have to lift, reposition the base, and then insert it on the base. This process stimulates our mental capacity; especially if the user does not get the correct orientation on the first attempt. Most users take a few times to solve the puzzle before settling the chair into its secondary arrangement.
5. What was it like to exhibit at ICFF and WantedDesign Manhattan? Will we see more furniture designs from you?
In 2020, Make-A-Chair was honored with a NYCxDesign Award, which is presented by Interior Design magazine. Also, that year, WantedDesign selected me to participate in Launch Pad for WantedDesign Manhtattan. Unfortunately, the exhibition was cancelled due to COVID, but I was invited back to participate this year. Launch Pad is an international platform for emerging designers that introduces new concepts and showcases prototypes of furniture, home accessories, and lighting. I was encouraged and supported by the leadership at SpectorGroup to participate in the 2021 exhibition, so I spent time during the pandemic to improve the chair’s design, sizing, joints, and finishes.
Exhibiting at ICFF and WantedDesign was a great opportunity to connect with other designers and be surrounded by professionals who are passionate about furniture and architectural design. Many of the attendees that stopped by the booth interacted with Make-A-Chair. They even gave me constructive feedback and suggestions for potential improvements. Overall, it was an incredibly valuable experience and to get in-person feedback from so many industry colleagues and designers is immeasurable. I hope to incorporate many of their ideas into the next iterations of Make-A-Chair. Stay tuned!