An Ode to the Cube: Presenting Newcomer Yübe Cube's Eco-Friendly Customizable Furniture To Fuel The Trend Towards Flexible, Democratic Design

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Yübe Cube's eco-friendly customizable furniture fuels the current new craze for flexible modular furniture based on cubes. Historically, one of the simplest geometric forms known to man, the cube, has occupied a unique place in art, design and architecture throughout history. As cities constantly changed shape and size in response to new civilizations and prevailing local materials, the basic dwelling cube became elongated, decorated and frequently given elaborate extensions and architectural furbelows. Now that we can make objects, buildings and furniture out of a multiplicity of new materials, the cube seems to be making yet another fashionable comeback, this time on a personal, more democratic basis.

An Ode to the Cube: Presenting Yübe Cube's Eco-Friendly, Customizable Furniture To Fuel The Trend Towards Flexible, Democratic Design

By Graham Vickers

Yübe Cube (http://www.yubecube.com) modernizes the cube with its flexible design that allows customers to build furniture systems to fit their unique storage needs and aesthetic sensibilities. (http://www.yubecube.com) Using the cube as a building block towards home or office organization and storage, Yübe Cube's design elements are in much the same spirit as the cube has been used historically. One of the simplest geometric forms known to man, the cube, has occupied a unique place in art, design and architecture throughout history. Its natural rigidity meant that it naturally became the basic unit of many types of house. The conical tepee may be even more rigid and resistant to wind loading, but living in a small pointed dwelling has its limitations. Pyramids may have been stable and durable, but they were not for living in, they were for being dead in, and their internal spaces bore little relation to their dramatic exteriors. In the end, it was the basic cube that prevailed in most cultures to become, literally, the most familiar unit and template of organized dwelling spaces.

The Cube in Life and Architecture
As cities constantly changed shape and size in response to new civilizations and prevailing local materials, the basic dwelling cube became elongated, decorated and frequently given elaborate extensions and architectural furbelows. Yet, whenever a new art or architectural movement came along seeking relief from the decorative excesses of some previous style, it was simple geometric shapes that usually resurfaced as the basic currency of practical design: the cylinder, the cone and, of course, the cube.

A relatively recent example of the back-to-basics approach was the Modern Movement in architecture which, as a natural outgrowth of the short but influential Bauhaus period in the early and mid-1900’s, railed against what it saw as the fanciful excesses of Victorian art and Edwardian Art Nouveau. The defining unit of the Modernists’ response was the plain, usually rectilinear, enclosure: an austere, unadorned box. What was Mies van der Rohe’s famous New York Modernist landmark The Seagram Building – completed in 1958 – if not a vertical series of stacked cubes? What, in fact, did Manhattan’s entire skyline become in the 20th century but a series of cubes reaching for the sky? Europe too had its love affair with Modernism and it was no coincidence that one of the most influential art movements of modern times appeared there and took the cube as its aesthetic unit.

The Cube in Extreme
Simply put, Cubism rejected the straightforward photorealistic representation of objects, replacing it with a new analysis that broke up and reassembled the subject’s elements in chunks with the intention of showing many facets of the subject at the same time. It was in part a response to the fact that photography could now do the job of realistically depicting things. As a result, it was reasoned, the figurative painter needed to find a new way of looking at the world. Short-lived as a movement, Cubism proved highly influential and its traces can still be seen today.

The Cube in Contemporary Furniture Design
Now that we can make objects, buildings and furniture out of a multiplicity of new materials, the cube seems to be making yet another fashionable comeback, this time on a personal, more democratic basis. Perhaps it is the result of a trend that began to emerge in the latter part of the 20th century when young people began to express their own sense of style by buying bright, colourful, inexpensive and often adaptable furniture instead of giving house room to the heavy and oppressive pieces that traditionally had been handed down through the generations. Terence Conran championed the concept in the UK with Habitat, and the Segals contributed in the US with Crate and Barrel. The current new craze for flexible modular furniture based on cubes can be seen as driven by much the same spirit.

Presenting the YUBE® CUBE (http://www.yubecube.com)
The newcomer, Yübe – recently introduced in the US – seeks to take the basic cube idea as far as possible, combining maximum simplicity of assembly with a stylish look, green-friendly materials and highly flexible configurations. Developed in the US in association with a German instant furniture company, Yübe’s cube-based furniture system is attracting a lot of international attention and may well prove itself to be the leading system in the sector. If so, it will be neither the first nor the last to promote the humble cube as classic component of comfortable and practical living. Visit http://www.yubecube.com. Yübe Cube is a product by Delta Design corporation, which knows the art of storage (http://www.theartofstorage.com)

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Jeff Greenstein
Delta Cycle Corporation
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