Architecting the 21st Century Treehouse

Judson's Treehouse Horizon Table

As a designer, Judson Beaumont of Straight Line Designs always looks to bend the lines, producing out-of-the-box pieces that are unexpected and add whimsy to any environment. So when Lenovo approached the creator about putting his touch on creating new opportunities for the IdeaCentre Horizon Table PC, his mind took him to the tree tops. Here’s a glimpse at what sparked his imagination. 

Q. How did you get the idea for the 21st Century Treehouse?

A. When I first thought about creating a table for the Horizon, I designed many different styles based on various age groups. Some of those original designs included adult versions, however, I am more known for children’s furniture so I was inspired to do a design for kids. With technology progressing, I was thinking about designing daycare centers, libraries and furniture that would allow children to interact, play and learn in these settings. The question I kept asking myself is “how can I create something that will intrigue them?” It’s great because the design of the 21st Century Treehouse also works as storage with the door leading to an empty space to keep toys, books and anything else. Function is just as important as design aesthetics and the storage space can also serve as an imaginary play area.

Q. Do you see the integration of technology and furniture becoming a trend, especially as there are more devices for specific purposes?

A. I definitely think so. It would be great if the trend continues; furniture has a purpose, but if we can expand on it and make it an educational design that facilitates interaction and creativity, it has the best of both worlds.

Q. Have you ever created a piece that integrates technology and furniture?

A. Prior to being tasked to create the Horizon table, I have created facades for flat screens and TVs, but this project is taking that integration to another level. The idea of facilitating a pleasant experience for furniture and incorporating it with furniture design is really intriguing to me.

Q.  What were some of the design challenges you had in creating this table?

A. I wanted a seamless look with the practicality of access. What I needed to take into account was how to build the furniture to incorporate access to power plugs for the Horizon. I needed to design something that could easily be opened and closed so I put access vents on the side to regulate the temperature and allow for air flow.

Q. What were your thoughts on Horizon when you played with it for the first time?

A. I thought it was fun and cool, and I was amazed at how user-friendly it is.

Q. How innovative is it to demonstrate the concept of a technology-infused table at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair?

A. I think this will be a successful venue to show off innovative designs with technology. Being that I have been to the show over 10 times, I’ve never seen furniture and technology work so well together as I do with the Horizon. I’m curious to see how interior designers and architects use it and what the general public will think of it. I would love to work more on it. The possibilities are endless: daycares, community centers, schools libraries, personal home uses, and waiting areas. The fact that I could design an interesting shape around the Horizon made it that much more of an exciting project!

Q. Besides tables, do you see other natural intersections for furniture and technology?

A.  I can see that integration easily in offices, company board rooms, in medical labs and even built into library areas. There are so many possibilities when it comes to integrating technology right into furniture!