Folding Furniture Reforms!

Folding Furniture Goes High-End The phrase "folding tables and chairs" conjures up visions of bare-boned, stodgy furniture that fills school auditoriums, church basements and party venues. It's often the emergency seating pulled from a closet in a pinch.

But collapsible furniture doesn't have to be old-school. Some designers have reinvented the convenience of fold-up with avant-garde designs and high-quality construction.

Incorporating function-over-form, this M'ovo folding table (left) by La Palma has an oval plywood top that flips up. Under its sturdy cast-aluminum base are six wheels to help support the table when it's in its vertical position and when you want to cart it to a new spot.

From folding tables to lamps and chairs, there are other flexible furnishings that maximize space or versatility when moving from apartment-to-apartment.This clip chair from Moooi (below), made of a solid beech frame, folds like a fan and was inspired by a small, collapsible basket that designers Balsius Osko and Oliver Deichman saw at a Bulgarian market.

Folding Furniture Goes High-End High-fashion pieces available at more affordable prices include a butterfly chair from Urban Outfitters. A leather slipcover slides over the chair's four corners to make it look like real furniture, but the metal frame also has multiple joints to allow it easy folding. Or if you want to jump on the teak trend, a folding stool from Design Within Reach has a triangular structure to add extra stability when extended.

Even desk accessories can be collapsible, like a brushed steel "Z"desk lamp with LED technology. Its three equal parts compact into a three-and-a-half inch-deep rectangle. Store in a drawer or toss into a suitcase as a travel light.

Folding furniture may be one of the greatest space-savers of all time, especially for renters, who have small square-footage and frequently changing functions in their rooms. At long last, utilitarian folding furniture is getting the much-needed design attention it deserves.
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