Jae Rhim Lee is most well known for her Infinity Burial Project—a brilliant mix of mycology, environmental sustainability, and economic critique of the US funeral industry. It's one of my favorite projects, and one I point young designers to all the time: an example of design work where the spokes of meaning are deeply layered and multiple.

But I got intrigued by these earlier, simple furniture designs of Lee's when poking through her web site recently. They're meditations on sleep, minimalist articulations of posture, explorations of negative space, and oddly beguiling:

A koan of a mattress: 10 pieces of angled, smooth plywood rest in the shape of a human body, with the smallest possible supports for under knees, ankles, lower back, wrists, shoulders, and head.

A woman lying on her back on this same "mattress"


The negative space bed as a kit of parts, all living neatly in a box of unfinished wood. Minimalist furniture, in parts.

A "vertical bed," made of polished but unfinished wood. A piece of furniture made of undulating planks of inch-wide wood, subtly curved and shaped to fit the resting body standing, but supported, face down.

A woman wears the padding that would rest in the vertical bed: a series of cushions like an oversized set of pajamas, made to nest into the grooves and curves of the bed.

A woman at rest in the vertical bed, with worm cushions between her body and the wood, supported in a standing-at-rest pose.

More at her Zone Zero Zero studio site. See also Also Dodge's Sleep Talker and the urban sleep suit.