The humble pushcart is a New York City mainstay. Walk down any street at any time of day or night, and you’re bound to see at least one dutifully transporting heavy items like cases of liquor, package deliveries, retail merchandise, and furniture. In a city where almost nobody has a driveway and many residents don’t own vehicles, toting stuff down sidewalks is just a necessary part of daily life. Of course, you’d better hope there’s an elevator available once you reach your destination, or you’ll be in for quite a workout moving things into an upper-level walkup.
A fun new line of furniture pays tribute to this essential aspect of New York life by building the pushcart right into each design. With the knowledge that you probably won’t be in one apartment for very long and will soon need to transport all of your belongings right back down to the sidewalk, the 12-piece pushcart series by CL3 and Lim + Lu is made for ultimate portability and versatility. The designers are all graduates of Cornell University and wanted to honor their alma mater’s College of Architecture with the collection. Each pushcart bears a seal on the bottom that reads “Cornell University, Founded A.D. 1865.”
Lim + Lu sees the “Push/Pull” series as an encapsulation not only of the spirit of New York but also of larger-scale globalization. The company explains, “The design journey began by examining the inherent qualities of these pushcarts and how they are used on a daily basis. They are sometimes used in an upright manner and at other times adopt a more reclined position. This bipolar characteristic of the pushcart presented the opportunity to design a furniture series that could also have multiple personalities. For example, a piece that functions as a three-seater sofa in its reclined position may transform into a coat rack when it’s upright. When a piece is in one posture, one can notice subtle hints that it can be used in another stance.”
Context is key to the success of the project, according to William Lim of CL3. “We always like to approach our designs within context. Our practice is rooted in the principles of Asian design. We blend an intuitive sense of light, balance, and proportion with contemporary solutions and innovative materials to produce designs that are versatile. That’s what we have done with this range: we have thought about the true purpose of the furniture. How it will become part of Cornell’s fabric, go beyond the primary usage, and spread out within the context it has been placed in.”
The series’ loveseats are oriented with arms on either their left or right sides, so they can be pushed together into one large seating area or pulled apart. Other pieces can function as a larger sofa, a coffee table, an armchair, a desk, a bookcase, a private padded booth perfect for phone calls, a podium, or a bar, depending on how you choose to orient them. The more you look at them and play with them, the more you realize about their possibilities. They all include built-in storage, too.