What If Saab Had Designed Furniture?

This is a video of a design created by Joel Hesselgren titled “If SAAB Would Do A Furniture” and was a design study of the aesthetics of SAAB at Beckmans School of Art. The video is from 2007 so I am sure many have seen it but it is worth a second or third look. It always blows me away to see this kind of stuff. The practicality and the art combined, so much to what SAAB is to most of us.

http://youtu.be/nPNjZgkLJNs

In a world where many cars and products start to look more and more like each other, boredom can set it (at least for me). I hope to see once again a company that can look outside the box and design in ways that makes you “Move Your Mind”.

Look at these chairs that become a coffee table when put together. Why would you need that? Why not? I can think of many times in my own home where seating becomes an issue and here is a solution to add two more chairs by sliding the table apart. I can think of many times in the past where SAAB designers would have been asked the same questions and I hope in the future those answers will be the same, why not?

Screen Shot 2013-07-03 at 1.27.51 PM

32 thoughts on “What If Saab Had Designed Furniture?”

  1. Furniture that doubles as chairs or a coffee table is nice, but many SAAB fans are hoping for a fastback hatch that doubles as a sedan or wagon.

  2. What if Saab had designed furniture?
    1. They would have made innovative and interesting furniture.
    2. They would have been bought by Ikela.
    3. Ikela would force them to make screw-together furniture for kids dorm rooms.
    4. Ikela would spin them off.
    5. A vulture would make a fortune under the pretense of “saving” them.
    6. The Chinese would buy the rights to the name after years of legal wrangling.
    7. The Chinese would turn the factor into a cardboard production facility.
    8. The Saab faithful will continue to hope for them to make innovative, well built, and interesting furniture again.
    9. It would be obvious, if they ever do make furniture, it would have to be made of Chinese cardboard.

  3. Jason, this ties into the idea of selling Saabs at Ikea. Which I always thought was a great idea. Both companies employ a similar phillosophy. Maybe NEVS will consider some type of tie-in.

    • Hi Ralph! Thanks for your interest in my opinion!
      As you know, I am a furniture-designer and architect who likes SAAB very much. I have earlier on this site, tried to describe how I see SAAB as the car-brand which, in the highest degree, integrates Scandinavian design-values in their philosophy and design.
      Creating furniture with multiple functions is a very interesting – but also very difficult – task. As a censor in Design-schools I have seen many projects trying to do that. Some good examples, but, rather often, the solutions are more ideas then something you will use in daily life; they are too difficult to “rebuild” or they are not full-filling any of the functions very well. Most of SAABs innovations, regarding practical matters, are not like that: They work!
      What I find more interesting, though, is the question about integrity, including the philosophy behind the form. Like f.ex:
      – Not to use more material than necessary, put the material the right places and make it readable and clear in the shape.
      – Make clever and innovative solutions that are both usable in daily life and readable in the design.
      – In general; not to see design as something you add to a finished technical solution, but as an integrated part of it.
      You can read more about my design-thoughts etc. at: http://www.grumdesign.com or at: http://www.grip-table.dk
      Rune also wrote a very fine article about my GRIP-table-design, here on the site; http://saabsunited.saabklubben.se/2011/06/the-grip-table.html

      • Some very nice designs there, I specifically like your ‘Table 1995 Prototype’, hope it gets into production one day. And I 100% agree with your design principles! Cheers, Ralph

          • Hey Troels, did not know your background. Some great stuff, love the loud speaker man, the GRIP and some of the chairs and loungers!
            Is anything for sale anywhere or is it “virtual” designs?

            • Hey SandySaab! Thanks a lot! 🙂
              Some of the furniture is prototypes, but quite a lot, is manufactured by different Danish furniture-brands.
              The loudspeaker is a prototype (one-off-furniture), made for an exhibition.
              The GRIP-tablesystem is maufactured by the Danish company; Randers+Radius and thus possible to buy. (It also won the Danish Design Award 2012 and have, recently, been nominated for German Design Award 2014).

    • Hi Ralph! Thanks for your interest in my opinion!
      As you know, I am a furniture-designer and architect who likes SAAB very much. I have earlier on this site, tried to describe how I see SAAB as the car-brand which, in the highest degree, integrates Scandinavian design-values in their philosophy and design.
      Creating furniture with multiple functions is a very interesting – but also very difficult – task. As a censor in Design-schools I have seen many projects trying to do that. Some good examples, but, rather often, the solutions are more ideas then something you will use in daily life; they are too difficult to “rebuild” or they are not full-filling any of the functions very well. Most of SAABs innovations, regarding practical matters, are not like that: They work!
      What I find more interesting, though, is the question about integrity, including the philosophy behind the form. Like f.ex:
      – Not to use more material than necessary, put the material the right places and make it readable and clear in the shape.
      – Make clever and innovative solutions that are both usable in daily life and readable in the design.
      – In general; not to see design as something you add to a finished technical solution, but as an integrated part of it.
      You can read more about my design-thoughts etc. at: http://www.grumdesign.com or at: http://www.grip-table.dk
      Rune also wrote a very fine article about my GRIP-table-design, here on the site; http://saabsunited.saabklubben.se/2011/06/the-grip-table.html

  4. I like the table and video, but I also believe that form follow function. To try to find strained second uses for items seems suboptimal. Ie, a convertible wagon, or similar. What do you want your product to do, design something that does that well, execute! I don’t think the two chairs are very comfy nor the resulting coffee table very exciting, where will you sit?
    By the way, that gorgeous table looks like a Saab front grill upside down, yes?
    ..my 5c…

  5. I’m sorry but shows what a sad state of affairs we are in when we have nothing better to write about than furniture , is this the way nevs wants to create excitement about their new products???????

    • I wrote it myself on something I found interesting and nothing to do with NEVS, obviously you didn’t find it as interesting as I did. My writing this was purely because I found interest in it.

      • Jason: It IS interesting. But I think Saabni’s point is well taken—if there was any real news about cars (which there would/should be at this point, if NEVS seriously intends to sell cars “early 2014” as they say on their attempt at a website) then you would be bringing us THAT information. I actually found the furniture entry to be interesting—but let’s acknowledge the fact that it’s filler material because either nothing is happening at Saab,or NEVS stubbornly stays mum, much to their disadvantage. We’ve now tipped into the 2nd half of 2013. “Early 2014” extends maybe to March 31. If automobile sales are less than 9 months away, it’s insane that there aren’t press reports, news on dealerships, etc. If that “early 2014” statement is a farce, they need to delete it from their (expletive deleted) website.

        • Angelo, I don’t know if you just don’t read what I contribute here or if your comments are just frustration but I don’t normally write the bulk of the “NEWS” or articles on NEVS. I may post the odd thing on hiring or job postings but the bulk of what I write is about the community or groups and clubs and all sorts of things that interest me. If that is as you say “filler material” then so be it and I think a site like this or any, needs people like myself that will put something like this up that some may enjoy.

          • I do read what you contribute, including this article, which I enjoyed. And by “you” I mean Saabs United, not you, Jason, in particular. “Filler Material” is perhaps a negative term—-but yes, it was born of frustration that the company who now owns Saab isn’t even active enough or reporting enough to be mentioned frequently on the leading website for enthusiasts of the brand. If there isn’t news about Saab cars here—not features, but NEWS, then it isn’t anywhere. Nothing wrong with features, but we also want to know about the future of the company, not just it’s past—-or conjecture about if they made furniture instead of cars. This isn’t about you or about Saabs United. It’s aimed squarely at NEVS and NEVS management. Isn’t it about time that they reach out to us? And if this sounds stale—-let’s not add to the staleness by talking about how we just love that they aren’t promising anything—-and that’s a good thing. If they can’t do this the right way, I have an idea: They could go into the furniture business—-making every piece of furniture out of recycled materials or reclaimed wood products. They could build the furniture in factories powered by windmills and have a cafeteria featuring organic foods. Then they can turn the car business over to Mahindra or maybe sell it back to General Motors so we can actually hear about new cars and plan to buy one soon. NEVS can save the Earth and we can get a Saab.

              • Joe, I don’t understand your comment. Because I wrote this little post, I would have to assume comments are directed to me but maybe I am wrong. I don’t feel as if I am leading anyone over the cliff. In my post I say things like:

                “I hope to see once again a company that can look outside the box and design in ways that makes you “Move Your Mind”.”
                and
                “I hope in the future those answers will be the same, why not?”

                Nothing there sounds as if I am making any unrealistic promises or statements other than I hope. If it is wrong to publicly hope, then I don’t want any part of your reality.

                • Jason;
                  This has nothing to do with you specifically. Sorry if you took it that way.
                  I am speaking only in the broadest generalities based upon the current situation and business realities.
                  Hope is good, but it must be based with some degree of reality.
                  The reality is…we have -0- Zero data.
                  I wish you only the best, and hope you continue to be a happy warrior for what was once the Saab we loved.

                  • We don’t WANT any news about the cars Joe. I want it to be a surprise. It’s good that NEVS isn’t talking. I’m saving every nickle and hopefully when they bring out their car, I’ll have enough—what, 40K or so? I’m not sure if it’ll be battery powered or a turbocharged engine. It’ll probably look a lot like the last 9-3, which was nice enough. Not sure what type of warranty they plan to offer. Not sure where the dealers will be, if they’re sold in my country. But if they start taking orders, we might as well go all-in and then be surprised. I have my deposit ready. I’m telling everyone I know about the return of Saab and when they ask for specifics, I’m just telling them to have faith in NEVS because “These guys are really smart.”

                • I might have misunderstood—-but I read it as NEVS leading us over the cliff or at worst, comments such as “Oh, it’s a GOOD thing that they aren’t saying much—underpromising is good. We don’t want any news and then find out they can’t deliver.” Comments like that, propping up NEVS and their lack of enthusiasm—THAT could be leading the gullible over the cliff too. Has anyone from NEVS given interviews yet to European car magazines? I haven’t seen anything in the U.S.—-might have missed it, but I try to scan Car and Driver, Road and Track, Motor Trend and Automobile when I can—and so far, not much of anything. That might just be because there are no firm plans to return to North America. But if they plan to sell in Europe, wouldn’t they be a little more transparent at this point in time, issuing press releases and and wanting to grant interviews?

  6. An interesting snippet of Scandinavian design thinking – I hope that design flair filters through into the re-incarnated SAAB, so, sorry, saabni, but this does seem relevant, interesting and amusing.

  7. While this may be off topic, mainly because there doesn`t seem to be a topic, the current issue of “Classic & Sports Car” magazine has an interesting piece on page 170 entitled “the saloons that took the seventies by storm”. It compares the SAAB 99 with the likes of Lancia Beta, Citroen CX and is well worth reading – and with comments like “15 years ahead of its time” and ” the SAAB`s quality puts its rivals to shame” worth reading again. Interesting though though the coffee table is, this is better.

  8. Can`t help with the table, but the magazine is in newsagents now and I`m fairly sure it`s available outside the UK – couple of good pics of the SAAB too.

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