Conceived As A Competition Entry, Tilt Transformed Into A Symbol Of Balance And The Icon Of level’s Studio Philosophy

This article was originally published on LinkedIn on July 29th written by Nichole Rouillac

Tilt: A Bench, A Seesaw, An Experience Made 'Better Together.' Equilibrium Is Achieved When Sitting With Another.

The impetus for creating Tilt was an IDSA (Industrial Designers Society of America) and AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Artists) competition call for entries. Titled 'Better Together,' the competition sought to promote a positive message of togetherness, and hope, while showcasing the Bay Area's exceptional creative talent. With a background and focus in designing digital hardware, our team saw Better Together as an opportunity to experiment with new materials and small-scale manufacturing processes.

As a furniture piece, Tilt is impractical; 400 lb. of cement molded in the shape of a fulcrum, it rumbles and slopes when a single user perches on it. In collaboration with a partner, Tilt becomes useful, bringing users together to inspire teamwork and empathy.

Tilt's seesaw typology is intended as a political statement, symbolizing the balance of power in government. We derived inspiration from a quote by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Someone once said the true symbol of the United States is not the bald eagle. It is the pendulum. And when the pendulum swings too far in one direction, it will go back... So, yes, we are not experiencing the best times, but there is reason to hope that we will see a better day.

At level, we often speak of balance, whether it be visual proportions, balancing work and life, or our practical approach of balancing design vision with manufacturing constraints. As a process and material driven Industrial Design studio, the making of Tilt was a perfect opportunity for us to get our hands dirty. We constructed scale prototypes with 3D-printed tooling. And finally, created two full-scale benches with a single mold.

We see Tilt as a symbol of balance and a mascot for our studio; founded on the belief that balance, diversity, collaboration and inclusion are essential ingredients to providing a stimulating studio culture. These values are what fuel our creative process.

Thank you IDSA and AIGA for the award and incredible opportunity to showcase our passion project in your gallery. To the level team who made this happen we appreciate all of your hard work making Tilt a reality.