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Designer Spotlight: Josh Jakus

Anyone who’s taken a good look at TreeHugger over the past couple of weeks is likely to have seen one or more of our series of posts [www.treehugger.com] about HauteGREEN [www.hautegreen.com], a sustainable design exhibition that’s part of New York City’s Design Week. Mixed among the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF [www.icff.com]) and other yearly juggernauts of the design world, HauteGREEN showcases some of the best in sustainable design, from furniture to lighting to accessories and more. One of the many excellent designers who’ll be featured at the show who both literally and figuratively “breaks the mold” with his clever, eco-friendly designs is Josh Jakus.

Eggflat, pictured above, was designed as a sculptural tabletop piece that folds flat for storage and unfolds to function as sort of a catch-all, elegantly holding whatever you need to be handy. Like Jakus’ other work, it’s made from industrial pressed wool felt recovered from factory excess; technically, this makes it a recycled (and recyclable) product. Because it folds flat for shipping and is very light, most wholesale orders can be slipped into an envelope or small box, making getting it from one place to another a snap.

Equally clever are the Um bags, which also make maximum use of materials in a minimum of space. Topologically brilliant, the handy handbags are made from two layers of the aforementioned industrial wool felt, with a zipper sewn around the edge. When open, the piece lays completely flat; when zipped, the piece turns into an organic, three-dimensional form. It all fits with Josh’s design ideals; he’s dedicated to making experiential connections between form and function, and uses materials in their simplest form so intrinsic qualities show through and pursues a rigorous design efficiency that strives to get the most impact out of the fewest moves. In many ways, these seemingly simple designs exemplify why TreeHugger promotes good design: not because it creates more stuff (and more waste); but because its innovative techniques, materials and ideas create beautiful forms we can use every day, functional products that make our lives better, and, ultimately, solve problems.