Pushcart Furniture Series for Cornell University, New York City AAP Studio

Cornell University's College of Architecture, Art and Planning unveils a 12-piece versatile bespoke furniture series designed by Hong Kong renowned architecture office CL3 and award-winning interdisciplinary design studio Lim + Lu for the college's New York studio.

Founder of CL3, William Lim, as well as both founding partners of Lim+Lu, Vincent Lim and Elaine Lu, are alumni of Cornell University's College of Architecture, Art and Planning. The two design studios were invited to design pieces specifically for Cornell University's space located in the financial district in Manhattan. When engaged by the Dean of the college for this project, the three thought it would be a great way to give back to their alma mater. 

Lim + Lu noted that the pushcart is uniquely New York and has become an ubiquitous part of the city's landscape. At every turn and corner, the pushcarts are transporting goods in, out, and around the city. Although it is inherently New York, the pushcart represents matters at a larger scale- globalisation.

The design journey began by examining the inherent qualities of these pushcarts and how they are used on a daily basis. They are sometimes used in an upright manner and at other times adopt a more reclined position. This bipolar characteristic of the pushcart presented the opportunity to design a furniture series that could also have multiple personalities. For example, a piece that functions as a three-seater sofa in its reclined position may transform into a coat rack when it's upright. When a piece is in one posture, one can notice subtle hints that it can be used in another stance. This exploration resulted in 12 pieces of multi-purpose portable furniture.

Due to the bespoke nature of these furniture pieces, its context was crucial to the success of the project. William Lim of CL3 commented- "We always like to approach our designs within context. Our practice is rooted in the principles of Asian design. We blend an intuitive sense of light, balance and proportion with contemporary solutions and innovative materials to produce design that are versatile. That's what we have done with this range: we have thought about the true purpose of the furniture. How it will become part of Cornell's fabric, go beyond the primary usage, and spread out within the context it has been placed within."

Vincent Lim of Lim + Lu added This has been a fun journey. As alumni we have been peering back into our old school and thinking about what we could give back.

Kent Kleinman, Gale and Ira Drukier Dean of Cornell AAP commented- "Each piece is a hybrid; a modular urban element that functions as a kind of infrastructure, mated to a customized artifact specific to particular program. Taken together, they are a microcosm of Cornell's famous lessons in college urbanism.”

Photography by Garrett Rowland and Nirut Benjabanpot