We at Rapson-Inc. have had a great time working with Loll Designs on fully licensed outdoor versions of the Rapson Greenbelt Line. Prototypes of the Rapson Rocker and Rapson Lounge for Loll will be unveiled at ICFF and at our show at Two Jakes in Brooklyn on Monday, May 21.
As well as being the CEO at Loll, Greg Benson designs products for Loll Designs and is always on the lookout for fun, new areas for them to enter. When Greg came to an AIA (American Institute of Architects) convention in late 2011 to show new Loll pieces and take the pulse of architects, he met Toby Rapson, AIA. They agreed quickly that collaborating on a Rapson Line by Loll Designs would be a fun project.
As a designer, Greg was already interested in pushing Loll's expertise in working with recycled plastic into new outdoor forms. In particular, the daring lines and softer curves of mid-century modern furniture appealed to him. Toby suggested that his father's designs for the Greenbelt Line would be an interesting possibility, and he was excited to have the designs executed in recycled plastic. After Toby completed the initial renderings of the Greenbelt Line in Loll's signature material, Greg and Jeff Taly at Loll built a more detailed design using both Toby's renderings and the dimensions of Ralph Rapson's Greenbelt Line (originally the Rapson Line for H.G. Knoll). The result was not just a new line of chairs, but also a completely new system of stainless steel fasteners that help keep the swooping profile of the Greenbelt seat in both lowback and highback forms while using only sheet goods.
Even after these first strong prototypes were ready, more work was needed to meet the high standards of both companies. After some rigorous Minnesota load-testing (that is, watching a weekend of hockey while sitting in a prototype), Greg and the team at Loll worked very hard to ensure the seat had enough support in key areas and matched the feel of the original indoor versions. In the end, both companies are ecstatic with the results of the collaboration.
Toby Rapson, in particular, thinks that both the designs themselves and the strong, iterative design collaboration with Loll do credit to his father's legacy. Good design is not just a result but a process, and he thinks that his dad would agree that the iterative collaboration with Loll is a great example of how it can be done.