Thursday, April 14, 2011

Do we need more chairs? If they're like this, then yes.

There's something about chairs.  How they look and how they work are rather nakedly combined.  There's nowhere to hide in a chair.  Structure, support, material and gesture are all baked together.

Many designers have done their most iconic work on chairs.  But most of the chairs around us are unequivocal garbage.  Here is this everyday thing that we all use, and yet it's done well surprisingly infrequently--especially considering the variety that exists in the world.

The Bouroullec brothers are masters of reinterpreting archetypes in ways that transform them.  Their slow chair dematerializes the Saarinen's womb lounge chair.  Their steelwood rematerializes the hideous plastic patio chair with powder coated steel and ash.  And now their Baguettes Chair for Magis (pics above) takes the gesture of the classic steel folding chair and creates something warm and elegant.  Not exactly what the steel folding chair evokes for most.

They've taken away so much of the chair.  What's left are just 4 solid wood legs, a plywood seat and back plus a secret ingredient.  The magic glue comes from a clever die cast aluminum frame that is neither completely hidden or an eyesore.

While there are no truly original ideas out there, there are an infinite number of recombinations.  That makes the good ones all the more rare and delightful.

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