Circle of life: Complete, harmonious, and unique in design

By Timi Ayeni

As Pythagoras, the Greek philosopher once said “The Circle is the most perfect shape it withholds all and everything emerges out of it. Every point of the circumference is the exact same distance from the centre. The circle has no beginning and no end, it is infinite and stands for non-existence and eternity”. Circles have been seen in design far more recently as we move away from the sharp lines and minimal visuals into softer rounder, more emotive shapes. Find out more in Circle of Life: Complete, harmonious, and Unique in Design

The circle is known as a mathematical symbol, its meanings; unity, perfection, wholeness, and infinity all associated with the sun, moon, and the earth. However, for the ancient Egyptians, it represented perfection and completeness.

Often seen as a complete shape that has no beginning and no end. In dreams, it can be seen as the doorway to the human brain’s unconscious mind. Circles are also an intricate part of nature as time occurs in repetitive cycles in the form of days, months, and years, and seasons of the year occur in repetitive cycles of spring, summer, autumn, and winter.

Its shape represents in many ways a happy-wholeness, emotive, comfortable, and complete, so after so many years of angular sharp shapes and clean lines in design, the circle in the past few seasons has made a ‘full’ return.

Round, oval, slim, puffy find it echoed across rooms, furniture, and even roads and galleries.

Aranha Armchair by Marco Sousa Santos

Aranha means spider in Portuguese and this chair follows the principle of its organic structure as the central body weight is dynamically distributed across its thin, flexible legs.

Aranha Armchair

It is made of beech, oak, or walnut wood with a round seat in rattan synthetic weave, as the construction of Aranha is a mix of digital tooling with traditional wood joinery.

Ria chair by Marco Sousa Santos

Using the stainless steel tube like masters did in the early times of mass production, designer Marco Sousa Santos turned the elementary tubular structure into a curved line visual composition.

Ria Chair

Like some technical furniture for hospitals and schools, this takes back to the design of tubular furniture which brings a strong, stackable, and charming timeless chair.

Fat Lounge Chair by Tom Dixon

Designed to hug the body allowing for multiple sitting positions, this lounge chair is upholstered using Kvadrat’s black woolen fabric.

Fat Lounge Chair

Manufactured in Europe, hand-finished and upholstered by experienced craftsmen. Made from moulded foam with a metal legs launching in high gloss black lacquer and made-to-order upholstery.

Outdoor Orbit Chair by Bohinc Studio

The Orbit Chair features dramatically inclined circular armrests that hold the round back above the larger circular seat, suggesting a moon in orbit as the armrests are arched down in a graceful trajectory to meet the front legs, enhancing the chair’s lines.

Outdoor Orbit Chair

Hana Chair by Simone Bonanni

Hana means ‘blooming’ in Japanese, which perfectly fits the design as it unfolds like a flower in bloom. Designed by Simone Bonanni, it combines timeless comfort and unparalleled distinction as it is inspired by the unfurling of a flower, which gives its unique design with organic shapes, curved lines, and a petal-like backrest.

Hana Chair

Ocean by Werner Aisslinger

Ocean is a lounge armchair of strong spirit and is a hybrid of classicism and modernity as it coexists happily with a wide range of styles.


Its design recalls the soft shapes of the iconic seats of the 60s and 70s in which protective external structures partnered with comfortable internal cushions, with the armchair seen almost as an aid to well-being rather than a merely iconic item.

In a similar fashion, the Ocean seat has a rigid moulded shell that contains and protects on one side, with soft and generously sized ergonomic cushions stretching out in welcome on the other.

Slab Bar Stool by Tom Dixon

Made in Lithuania using solid wood Oak construction, this modern slab bar stool is deeply brushed to expose the grain and finished with a black lacquer as it comes with a cast iron foot ring.

Slab Bar Stool

Gomo by Marco Sousa Santos

Gomo was commissioned in 2019 for a client’s “kinky reddish” living room. Designed by Sousa Santos in a circular shape, it was supposed to allow a 360º conversation by rotating freely on its centred leg.


Upholstered with two matching colourful Gabriel Fabrics, Gomo dates back of a 30’s cabaret pin-up seat appealing to the joy of life and a call to ‘Swirl the Wine’.

Parasol Lamp by Charlie Humble-Thomas

This innovative design by Humble-Thomas uses a guided pivot to control and fix the position, the dome can rotate on a full 180° axis, which allows it to dim and downlight a room, bounce light off the wall to create atmosphere, or simply to read in style. The piece was made from a powder-coated mild steel dome, mild steel seamless tubing, shot-peened SLS nylon, and aluminum.

Parasol Lamp

Orb Lamp by Annalisa Iacopetti

This piece by Iacopetti was made from a combination of blown glass, and recycled glass from a UK industrial lens factory that has been remelted and regenerated. Iacopetti believes that placing materials at the centre of the design process is the best approach for positive change. The light glows from its egg-shaped form.

Orb Lamp

It allows the designer to be an alchemist, looking at how materials interact holistically, chemically, philosophically, and in relation to nature as this table lamp experiments with how the use of light and colour can enhance a space.

Dancing Queen Lamp by Victor Vasilev

Designed by Victor Vasilev, It is a suspended lamp with a flexible compositional structure that allows different light layouts. The composition’s pivotal element is a central horizontal body that encloses the LED light source and supports ten thin metal cylinders of different diameters designed as adjustable spotlights.

Dancing Queen

The spotlights, usually conceived as technical components, become a decorative element in this lamp because of their irregular design in size and positioning along the central support as it resembles a suspended sculpture and creates fascinating lighting harmonies.

Iride by Bellucci Mazzoni Progetti

Iride is a lamp that renews the archetypal form of dome lighting using a contemporary language as there are two suspended lamps with different sizes for a chosen and sought-after lighting effect which gives the lamp harmony, ensuring uniform diffusion and visual comfort within rooms.


The central opaline glass diffuser becomes an element with personality, drawing the stylised shape of a drop in the centre of the minimalist dome on which it rests.

Medusa by Andrea Quaglio and Manuela Simonelli

Medusa is a glass table lamp, created from the elementary principle of incorporating a metal dome into a cylinder. The dome contains the light source and the glass cylinder delicately spreads the light onto the lamp’s supporting surface.


It reverses the relationship between support and lampshade as the support does not uphold the lampshade but contains it as the dome, which houses the light source, is suspended in the cylinder by an elegant glass fold that allows formal and refined cleanliness.

Luna by Occhio

A new series of floating, celestial-inspired glass designs that can be controlled by a contactless gesture by the hand.

Luna by Occhio

Designed by Axel Meise, Occhio’s new patented ‘fireball’ light source, is set within a partially mirrored glass sphere to create a soft, glare-free yet powerful effect as it comprises wall, ceiling, table, and suspended designs. As a result, Luna invokes the illusion of a floating luminaire that appears to be suspended in the air as if by magic.

It can be controlled by touch-free, intuitive gestures with the move of one’s hand, the lighting can be switched on or off, dimmed, brightened, or set to a new colour temperature. An accompanying app, Occhio Air, can also adjust Luna’s setting, allowing the collection to invoke a myriad of ambient lighting experiences and moods.

Stelo Glasses by Ambra Dentella

Designed to challenge the aesthetics of the traditional martini glass, each handcrafted piece of the stelo glasses is hand-blown and aims to instill a sense of mischief and misbehavior as these martini glasses are designed to be held by the stem to prevent your hand from warming up the cocktail.

Stelo Glasses

Yet, as many people hold the conical part of the glass instead, this design embraces that rule-breaking attitude that allows the form to be driven by behaviour rather than convention; an object that celebrates the special every day instead of an object reserved solely for special occasions.

Tank and Bump by Tom Dixon

Tank by Tom Dixon

Tank takes its sculptural cue from the functional shapes and volumes of scientific glassware.


Minimal yet decorative for a multiplicity of purposes of drinking, pouring, storing, and displaying food and drink, the range forms bold building blocks of table-top architecture all of which echo the circular lip top.

Bump by Tom Dixon

Bump is a family of minimalist, borosilicate vessels designed to serve as the ritualistic instruments of everyday drinking and hosting.


Delicately handmade with subtle levels of green and grey tonal translucency, Bump offers an elegant approach to the alchemical processes of tea making, mixology, and floral arrangements.

Layer Spoon Set by Thomas Wheller

Made from soft green timber destined to be discarded, this layer spoon set was gathered by local tree surgeons and then milled, steamed, pressed, and trimmed. 

Layer Spoon Set

Through innovative techniques and industrial design, this piece repurposes potential waste material into one of the most practical, useful everyday objects which is a spoon.

Bowy by Cassina

The Bowy side tables along with tapered forms and indoor sofa was designed by Patricia Urquiola in 2018 and came in an outdoor version as the tables can be stacked or arranged perpendicular to each other to furnish open-air living areas.‎

Bowy by Cassina

Echino by Zanotta

Designed by Sebastian Herkner, renowned for his particular sensitivity toward glass, he designed a pair of small tables where the glass’s strength and durability are axiomatically used for developing the concept of the entire product.‎

Echino by Zanotta

The Echino small table features two different sizes which are complementary since can be placed side by side as it has three barrel-shaped legs made of three layered blown glass.

Myon by Gabrielle Oscar Buratti

Myon is a range of tables and coffee tables featuring simplicity of construction and a strongly geometric form as the graceful power of its design presents slim circular surfaces that contrast with the solid and imposing cylindrical bases which the dining tables, in pleasing generous sizes, feature a structural symmetry between top and base.


The coffee tables have an off-centre base and are available in various sizes and heights, making Myon ideal for use in front of or at the side of the sofa.

Kipferl Marble Table by Bohinc Studio

The Kipferl marble coffee table features dripping sculptural batons for its legs, which are reminiscent of sponge fingers.

Kipferl Marble Table

Those curve around the table top, a semi-circular crescent of three rows of rounded profiles supports the circular tops at each end which is made from Rosa Portugalo, Carrara or Arabescatto Corchia marble. 

Kipferl Marble Occasional Table by Bohinc Studio

The Kipferl Occasional table has a round top which is supported by three rows of batons as legs.

Kipferl Marble Occasional Table

The ‘legs’ wrap the top around a circular baton frame that interlink with the top of the table.

Kipferl Marble Dining Table by Bohinc Studio

The Kipferl dining table features an oblong top which is encased into a circular round profile.

Kipferl Marble Dining Table

It features sculptural legs of three batons which are supported at the bottom with curved endings of two batons.

There are buildings that are round and circular with whole rooms being circular as the inside of the Moco Museum are round

Moco Museum by Six N Five

Design Studio Isern Sierra, situated in Barcelona designed a computer-generated image retail space for the Moco Museum in Barcelona which was designed by Six N Five, a digital artist known for envisioning other-worldly dreamscapes in pastel hues.

Moco Museum

Situated in Barcelona’s El Born neighborhood, the Moco Museum exclusively exhibits the work of modern artists such as Damien Hirst, Kaws, Yayoi Kusama, and Jeff Koons.

Not only just furniture but there are roads are also round as the Cantilevered Ring of Bjólfur is an exception to its round shape.

Cantilevered Ring of Bjólfur by Esja Architecture and Arkibygg Arkitektar

Named after a Viking ring owned by Bjólfur, who was the first settler of the fjord, the viewpoint has a circular shape to allow visitors to see the 360-degree views.

Cantilevered Ring of Bjólfur

Architecture studios Esja Architecture and Arkibygg Arkitektar have designed a ring-shaped viewpoint that will sit 650 metres up the slopes of Mount Bjólfur and overlook a fjord in the east of Iceland as the viewpoint is designed to give views across the landscape surrounding the town of Seydisfjordur while also being a distinctive piece of architecture.

The Camélia Collection

The Camélia Collection crafted in a collaboration between THG Paris and Daum crystal atelier presents a bathroom ensemble with the flower hand-carved for countless hours within Daum’s workshops around Nancy, France

The Camélia Collection

With its pristine look, the camellia flower is a true testament of its design by Daum’s artisans and the artistry of THG Paris.

Now that we have talked about furnitures and also roads that are circular, there is an art instillation of Christopher Wren in collaboration with British – German designer Moritz Waldemeyer in celebration of 300 years at the London Design Festival at St Stephen Walbrook in London. 

Inspired by Wren’s unlimited curiosity, the spirituality and lightness of St Stephen’s architecture and the geometric intervention of Henry Moore, Halo invites visitors to pause, reflect, even meditate and leave their fast paced daily routine behind. 

Christopher Wren

The pendulum suspended from the apex of the dome mesmerises it’s slow circular movement while hiding a second layer of the pendulum in long exposure of the camera which reveals an inclined halo, floating above the altar; a reference to religious motifs that transcend across different faiths. 

The installation is accompanied by animated projections in the dome, inspired by cosmic phenomena, another one of Wren’s keen interests. 

The installation is open to the public from the 20th of September till the 24th of September plus there is a Rush Hour Jazz with Nel Begley on the 21st of September from 5:30 to 7:00pm at St Stephen Walbrook, just a short walk from Bank station.

The very round soft unlimited elements of circles feel like the complete emotive shape to be added to furniture, after all, are these not the emotions we want when we engage with these items whether at home or at work?

If you have enjoyed reading Circle of Life: Complete, harmonious and Unique in Design, why not read Bag It; Anya Love Itoya

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