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Steel & Brass

The rise of technology has resulted in a rebellion "against the coldness of steel," reports Julie Lasky in The New York Times (1/30/14). Gaining favor are "rosy and golden metals," such as brass and copper, according to Tom Dixon, a British designer whose recent work favors warmer materials. "Steel will always be hard and gray, but brass and copper are malleable and take on a patina making them more distinctive with age … They also mix well with new technology." Where incandescent bulbs made "brass lamps uncomfortably hot … LEDs lower the temperature."

The color of brass and copper also "improves any harsh quality still found in LED light." Tim Brauns of e27 studio in Berlin, has designed "a lamp called Light Drop … for Pulpo, a German company." It is a "metal-mesh-and-glass lamp" that he says is designed for use with today’s devices. "You don’t need much light with hand-held devices and TV," he says. At the same time, most people don’t want to rely solely on the "glow of our electronics, so Light Drop provides atmosphere. New technology has given rise to a new typology."

In a similar vein, "a sofa bed by Christian Werner for the French company Ligne Roset" promotes "the idea that the family that surfs together on individual devices needs a new style of furniture." So, where a "traditional couch … is placed against a wall facing a television," the Prado sofa is "big, armless, backless" and moveable, so that "family members can sit or lounge on it, facing different directions." This, and other, designs were featured at Maison et Objet, "a trade fair held every January and September in France." Started 19 years ago, it now fills "eight pavilions."