You can’t ignore Yves Béhar. Designer, entrepreneur, master brand developer, and founder of fuseproject, Yves has harnessed his creativity, drive, innovative aesthetic, and passionate curiosity into the creation of himself—certainly among his most formidable feats.
By positioning himself and his talents at the nexus of technological innovation and design, Béhar has managed to make an impact across the product development spectrum, touching on well-nigh every invention of convenience (and quite a few of necessity), not limited to televisions, laptops, juicers, home security systems, clothing, health and fitness, vibrators, and of course, furniture, fixtures, and equipment.
Arguably his most impressive work is in the latter category, especially considering his collaboration with Herman Miller. The Sayl Chair, for instance, is a contemporary re-imagining of the ubiquitous task chair. Made with considerably fewer components than other similar pieces, Sayl is a model of resource conservation and sustainability. It’s also a testament to “form following function,” as its principal aesthetic coup (the criss-crossing elastomer bands) give it the ergonomic advantage of modulated support for different junctions of the spine.
Another collaboration with HM, Public Office Landscape is a cool contender as a multi-functional and modular piece that improves workplace productivity and morale. Public provides surfaces, storage, and seating that complement and conjoin—a whole group of workspace furniture that can be customized to individual preference yet maintains a “consistent design vocabulary.” By helping to make work casual and comfortable, Public Office Landscape has contributed to the broad transformation in the look, feel, and function of the office.
Béhar has also brought his connoisseur’s eye and craftsman’s hand to HBF. The C-Collection is elegant, ergonomic workspace and reception-area furniture that seems familiar and strange at once—perhaps the hallmark of true innovation. The C refers to the furniture’s unorthodox aesthetic. When viewed from the front, the pieces look traditional and recti-linear. A side view, however, reveals a broad geometric swoop, giving the collection a distinctive look and feel.
Back with HR, Béhar’s Twist Task Light is a unique take on under-shelf task lighting. Designed to minimize its carbon footprint, Twist reduces and conserves—it’s very small, demanding fewer materials to produce; it consumes 40 to 50% less energy than traditional under-shelf lighting; and it requires minimal packaging so is considerably cheaper to ship. “One Twist LED task light supplies 60,000 hours, or 24 years, of light (at 10 hours per day for a five-day work week).” Twist is also easy to install, easy to move, and even easier to direct the light. Simply press on the clear tab to target illumination.
We’d be remiss not to mention Béhar’s many forays into technology. And while some of this bold, futuristic thinking has not panned out as successfully as he would have liked, many more have made and continue to make an impact. Perhaps the greatest success is the One Laptop per Child initiative. The unit boasts a cool, kid-friendly look and highly durable construction. No wonder the outreach has equipped 2.5 million children (and counting) with Internet access and indispensable learning tools. The units are designed for the demands of Latin America and Africa: “extreme environmental conditions such as high heat and humidity, and to support easy field repair by children and local language support.”
Samsung’s Frame is a technology of convenience, granted, but not any less compelling because of it. This is a large-format flat screen TV monitor, designed for wall mounting, that intuitively converts into a work of art when not in use. The unit is wired in to Samsung’s ArtStore, granting programmable wireless access to thousands of art works, in addition to custom user photography. The transformation is quite amazing. Frame’s brightness sensor modulates color and tone for natural illumination, giving the art a realistic look in all light conditions. You really can’t tell it’s a TV.
Yves Béhar has been on the cutting edge (and at the nexus) of design, branding, and technology for more than 20 years. His firm, fuseproject, is a multidisciplinary concern combining business innovation, branding, and product development in a comprehensive entity that does everything from delivering 3-D printed homes (3-D printed village) to impoverished communities to helping improve sleep quality with a simple headband (rythm dream). He has worked with hundreds of clients, including Herman Miller, Target, Google, Pepsi, Puma, Prada, and Johnson & Johnson. He’s been the recipient of the INDEX Award, the IDEA Award, Design Museum London’s Design of the Year Award, and the Design Visionary Award from Design Miami. Béhar lives and works in San Francisco.