September 4, 2009 by Robin Plaskoff Horton
“When I learned of the short lifespan of a tennis ball I instantly knew its destiny.”
The HEX Tennis Collection, green in color and concept, is the most recent line of work by Hugh Hayden Design, a young architect turned furniture designer who launched his first collection, FUNature, at BKLYN DESIGNS in May. FUNature materializes nostalgic experiences associated with childrens’ ball pits at Chuck E. Cheese and other family entertainment centers: fun and ergonomic, yet uncontrollable and messy.
His latest flexible series of hand-crafted chairs, poufs, coffee and side tables is the HEX Tennis Collection, a contemporary and playful approach to furniture that is responsible for diverting thousands of tennis balls from landfills. Hayden’s original collection HEX consists of the colorful hollow plastic balls, one might recognize from play-pen structures, once commonly found at Chuck E Cheese or McDonalds. Accordingly, kids today are likely deprived of the opportunity to frolic with friends in the depths of multi-colored balls (unless, of course, one’s parents shell out the money to rent a ball-pit for a birthday). HEX might be the next best thing- enabling children to enjoy a modified experience and adults to reminisce. Strict, a circular chair with a low-back from the HEX Tennis Collection, is currently for sale at The Future Perfect in Williamsburg.
Penn and Wilson tennis balls, recycled from indoor tennis courts within the New York City Metropolitan Area, constitute Hayden’s new sustainable collection. Discarded in like-new condition, they serve as the ultimate green design material, both reclaimed and repurposed. The creation of each piece is an 8-16 hour process in which the individual tennis balls are connected with a polyester cord. “The structure itself is a patent-pending tension matrix designed to respond to the contours of the body,” according to the designer. The collection currently includes a surprisingly comfortable ergonomic chair with a smooth curved back and a 3’ round glass-top coffee table. Hayden plans to expand the line to include larger pieces, “Someone asked me to design a couch – that’s in the future.”
Slightly bouncy tennis balls are structured into a stable and supportive design in Hayden’s HEX Tennis Collection, creating sustainable, ergonomic, contemporary furniture for the fun-loving individual. And if you are fun-loving then you might have hit the Nolita boutique of fashion label Hayden-Harnett last night for the official launch of HEX where Hayden (names are purely a coincidence) created several varied site-specific installations that beautifully blended the best of furniture and today’s best fashion accessories.