The Viridian Design Movement

From: Bruce Sterling [] Sent: Saturday, July 06, 2002 3:16 PM

Subject: Viridian Note 00322: Shopping For Furniture

Key concepts: Viridian commentary, Viridian furniture, online shopping

Attention Conservation Notice: Various Viridians weigh in on various places to get furniture online. Diffuse commentary, large number of window-shopping links. Exposure to goods in question might damage your pocketbook.


Texas hill country declared a flooding disaster area. We didn't catch a Greenhouse rain as badly as Houston did, but we caught it. Again.

Is corporate globalism coming apart at the seams? Philosophy to the rescue!

Entries in the Global Civil Society Design Contest.

From: Steven W. Schuldt <swschuldt*> etyLaptop.jpg

From: Ben Davis <bend*>

From: Joerg F. Wittenberger <Joerg.Wittenberger*>

From: Scott Vandehey <scot* >

"The computer you pull out of your knapsack looks like a cheap, beat-up spiral notebook. It's easy to imagine these as being freebie items that get given away at activist rallies or promotional events."

From: Bob Morris <bob*>

"The new Viridian contest site is up, and includes my entry. Hope you're not too flooded there in Austin."

From: Anonymous

"Sorry I skimmed so fast, I did not realize the contest was for an imaginary computer. My group has not yet done a marketing blurb or artist impressions (many of the human-rights and activist features are deliberately not all on the same sites, in order to avoid attention).

"You might find some of the ideas involved interesting. * Fully open design, no hidden spy, many eyes make shallow bugs.
* Intended to be a build it yourself, be sure there are no spies.
* Choice of power supplies, rechargeable polymer, solar, squeezie, (chem-organic or nuke waste future options)
* Dynamic internal architecture (using an FPGA), change processor via downloads. Hardware crypto capability reconfigure to harmless Gameboy if captured. never obsolete
* Data interchange over short distance radio, IR or game memory cards
* Ability for digital cash and secure conversations by taking advantage of crypto and peer2peer comms."

From: Jim Thompson <jim*>

"Count this as my entry for the new Viridian Design contest. It already exists. It ships next month."

This contest expires August 15, 2002.

Subject: Viridian furniture
Date: Thursday, July 4, 2002 3:16 AM
From: Finola Gaynor <fgaynor*>
To: <>

"All anyone needs to continue their domestic Viridian existence."



Subject: Re: Viridian Note 00321: Vultures and Furniture
Date: Thursday, July 4, 2002 9:45 AM
From: Richard Sewell <richard*>
To: Bruce Sterling <>

"This chair looks like Scandinavian madness, but it's marvellously comfortable to type in. I've sat in mine for a decade already.

"It's a lot more fun to make furniture than it is to buy it."

(((A groundswell of Stokke enthusiasm here.)))

Subject: Stokke Move Chair
Date: Thursday, July 4, 2002 10:30 AM
From: Eric Hughes <>
To: Bruce Sterling <>

"Here's my personal favorite chair. It's from the Norwegian furniture maker Stokke. They also make the Balans chair, the original kneeling chair == with rockers, which makes the whole thing work, unlike all the fixed imitators. (I also have a Balans, which I need to get reupholstered. I completely wore out both the fabric and the cushions on it.)

"The photos really don't do this chair justice. Right now I'm sitting in half-lotus on mine, and I'm perfectly stable.

"With this chair, I also use a pneumatically- adjustable variable-height table, at about 36"; typical office desk heights are at about 28". The difference is wonderful. Because my thighs never get close to a front- right angle with my back, lumbar stress is greatly reduced. It's better on my joints and on my spine. I also generates muscle tone in the back rather than atrophy.

"With any of these backless chairs, upper back and shoulder tone improves from having to support the arms with one's own body, rather than a furniture element. Significantly, by involving these muscles at the base of the skeletal-keyboard interface, it reduces wrist tendonitis by letting a larger muscle group move first.

"I've use an Aeron, and while I like them better than other office chairs, I still prefer my Move. The biggest problem is the need for a raised desk."

Subject: Re: Viridian Note 00321: Vultures and Furniture Date: Wednesday, July 3, 2002 11:10 PM From: Gregory N. Polletta <gregoryn*> To: Bruce Sterling <bruces*>

"I started a furniture company just to build things for friends. It turned into a life of its own == clients all over the place. Here is my company site and some of the best sites out there."

Gregory N. Polletta

Subject: RE: Viridian Note 00321: Vultures and Furniture
Date: Thursday, July 4, 2002 1:13 AM
From: Xeni Jardin <xeni*>
To: Bruce Sterling <>

"May I shamelessly recommend Ambience Dore' , Inc. == a corporate furniture brokerage I launched with a partner last year. We sell new, used, and vintage furniture to growing businesses and residential design denizens, including:

"A wide selection of cool ergonomic seating. Among the chairs of note:

"'Fluid' (like Aeron, but cheaper, with comfier mesh, and a dizzying array of adjustment options):

"Groovy, classic Vitra chairs, including Charles and Ray Eames' La Chaise:

"Hip, affordable, and highly functional modular furniture from a line called Indivi. They look like spinal columns from ancient aluminum fish.

"The 'Springboard': whiteboard on casters that acts as both a table and white board. For impromptu brainstorming sessions.

"Tibetan antique monk's cabinets that date from 14th century (yes, 14th century) to the 20th century. Some of our clients have customized them for use as media cabinets. They carry a faint aroma of burnt yak butter and temple incense. They're covered in intricate hand- painted religious tableaus in organic pigments and animal glues. Each piece is one-of-a-kind and is shipped with a certificate of authenticity verifying heritage, date, and descriptive background of context and symbology.

(((I hope you Zoroastrian pallbearers out there are taking note of this.)))

Subject: Re: Viridian Note 00321: Vultures and Furniture
Date: Thursday, July 4, 2002 11:27 AM
From: Richard Butner <>
To: Bruce Sterling <>


"Like mindlace, and like you, I hanker for various furniture and design gubbish. Everything I see is always way out of my budget. Especially now that Herman Miller killed their 'Red' line. And I still can't afford a Vecta Lucy chair.

"I've agreed with some (but not all) of your points about 20th century design == the rust on the Breuer chair, etc. == but it seems to me that the main failure of Modernism (in design and architecture) was that the Big Names failed to successfully tackle Good Design for the Masses and Good Architecture for the Masses, even though these were their explicitly stated ambitions. I'm open to being enlightened, but unfortunately, a guy like me can't go out and buy a Usonian Automatic or a Dymaxion House.

"What I can buy is yet another pile of bricks that resembles Colonial Williamsburg.

"These ideological struggles in architecture are as arcane as the teapot tempests within science fiction writing. To most consumers, the opposition is not some International Style box versus some Viridian self- decomposing biomorphic glob. The opposition is Anything Modern versus their Dream McMansion (which comes in Colonial, Tudor, or Mega-Cape-Cod).

In the meantime, here are some sites:

Later pal, Richard

Subject: Re: Viridian Note 00321: Vultures and Furniture
Date: Thursday, July 4, 2002 2:41 PM
From: David Bergman <>
To: Bruce Sterling <>

"You had to know I'd chime in on this one! You can get good design and eco at the same time. However, it's a pain in the neck to find the stuff.

"Eco-stuff is still perpetuating that hippy-dippy, organic, found-object look. That's not what a good dyed- in-the-organic-wool modernist is looking for.

"There are exceptions: companies like DesignTex

Studio EG


Fire & Water (ahem, full disclosure, etc.)

Furniture New York

is a community of furniture designers. I'm the president.

Then there's the question of eco visibility. Do you want it to be apparent that your furniture is green? I doubt it, unless you're trying to make a cocktail party point. If you're the manufacturer, do you want to try to sell furniture (solely) as green? Not if you want to make any money.

Can somebody please make an exclusive list of eco- responsible furniture designers/manufacturers? I'll help.

David Bergman
David Bergman Architect/Fire & Water Lighting + Furniture

Subject: Re: Viridian Note 00321: Vultures and Furniture
Date: Friday, July 5, 2002 9:46 PM
From: Evelyn Mitchell <efm*>
To: Bruce Sterling <bruces*>, <mindlace*>

Plywood furniture:

Make your own:
Corrugated Cardboard makes quite lovely source material for furniture. Glue it together into large pieces, and sculpt. Search google for 'cardboard furniture'.

Don't forget to start a Hacking Society in new location.

Regards,, ltd
Evelyn Mitchell Linux Consulting since 1995
efm* Senior System and Network Administrators

O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O
O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O