Neotenic Lounge


In 1949, Konrad Lorenz, a zoologist and Nobel Laureate, postulated a set of “baby schema” that he called “innate releasing mechanisms” to elicit sympathy in the viewer. These include “a relatively large head, predominance of the brain capsule, large and low-lying eyes, bulging cheek region, short and thick extremities, a springy elastic consistency, and clumsy movements”—the same traits that cause us to coo over a small child or baby animal.

JUMBO’s Neotenic Lounge borrows from Konrad Lorenz’s morphology, incorporating simple shapes, short thick members, soft edges, and a clumsy appearance. Constructed from cast-steel hydronic piping and finished in autobody paint, the frame has an abstract quality that contrasts with the materiality of a dyed fur seat. The resulting form appeals to our biological imperative to nurture—to see ourselves in our surroundings and cherish the childlike.

JUMBO is a new collaborative design practice founded by old friends—Justin Donnelly, NYCxDESIGN 2016 Emerging Talent Honoree, and Monling Lee, Fashion Group International’s 2016 Rising Star Winner in New Media. Their studio is guided by a deep respect for sculptural form, rich material, and delicate detail. As a result, JUMBO’s projects are at once both artful in approach and technical in execution. The studio’s goal is to create objects and environments that are both sweetly serious and exuberantly minimal. Prior to the formation of JUMBO in 2018, Justin and Monling’s individual work has been featured in Wallpaper* Magazine, Refinery29, Coveteur, Elle Magazine, J.Crew, and the Washington Post Magazine.