At the tip of Lower Manhattan, a three-acre green space in the 22-acre Battery Park may soon be home to a field of flower-shaped seats, a sea of brightly colored rocking chairs, or a plethora of pivotable chaise lounges.
Last summer, the Battery Conservancy Americas launched the “Draw Up a Chair” design competition, the first of its kind from the New York City Parks Department, calling for a moveable, outdoor chair to fill the oval lawn of Battery Green. The new park is currently under construction as part of rebuild efforts after last year’s Hurricane Sandy devastated the area. From a previously condensed pool of 50, the Conservancy has chosen the top five proposals, from firms spanning four countries. Each unique design is stackable, weatherproof, and made of recycled materials.
Designing for a specific space can be a challenge, but try designing a chair predestined to become a contemporary statement in the newly-refurbished Weston Library, part of the Bodleian Libraries at Oxford, which has commissioned only its third new chair in 400 years. Earlier this year, three partnerships—Amanda Levete and Herman Miller, Barber Osgerby and Isokon Plus, and Matthew Hilton and SCP Ltd—were shortlisted to compete for the prestigious prize, which has officially been awarded to Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby with Isokon, for their low, round-backed design.
Make the most of summer with a range of furnishings and finishings for hospitality, retail, and public urban spaces that can withstand the elements.
Sponeck Chair & Table
Designer and architect Julia von Sponeck connected two curved sheets of fiber cement for a sturdy yet forgiving outdoor seating solution (above). Optional felt covers in gray, red, or a vibrant chartreuse coordinate with the body’s cement gray or custom coloring. Dimensions measure 31-by-24-by-20 inches with a seat height of 10 inches, while the coordinating 20-inch square table matches the seat height.
An ambitious designer used Rhino to design and fabricate 20 variations on a chair in four months.
For a designer aiming to streamline the gap between design and manufacturing, parametric modeling tools are a natural solution. LA-based Alexander Purcell Rodrigues found a place to work in just such a way at the Neal Feay Company (NF), a 60-year old fabrication studio in Santa Barbara, California, that is known for its exceptional metalworking. Together, the designer and the fabrication studio created the Cartesian Collection of chairs, aptly named for the analytic geometry that helped facilitate close to 20 design variations on the same aluminum frame in just under four months. “Not only were we pushing the boundaries of aluminum fabrication, the aim was to simultaneously create a lean manufacturing process,” said Rodrigues.
Using Rhino with a Grasshopper plugin, Rodrigues developed a design for a chair that weaves together the simplicity of Western design with the complex ornamentation of traditional Eastern aesthetics. While the lines of the chair are clean and smooth, intricate embellishments on the back traverse multiple planes and angles, all on a shrunken scale. The time savings involved in designing with Rhino allowed the creation of another 19 variations on the theme. Read More
AN had boots on the ground at the 2013 Milan Furniture Fair, taking the air and parsing the differences. This year saw an abundance of collaborations between furniture designers and architects. What follows is the second half of our greatest hits, everything from modular shelving and sleek hardware to design-forward consoles and practical seating. View even more architect-designed furniture from Milan in the first section of our roundup here.
In conjunction with its collaboration with Konstantin Grcic on the mobile interiors of the new Parrish Art Museum, Emeco released the Parrish Collection of modular indoor–outdoor chairs and tables. Chairs are available with three recycled aluminum frame designs that can be combined into four seat options, including one made of locally sourced wood from Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
After reviewing 679 remarkable entries, a world-renowned jury on behalf of New York City’s Battery Conservancy and NYC Parks has selected the top 50 designs of the “Draw Up A Chair” design competition. The chair proposals are by students and professionals from nine countries around the world. The winning submission will be built and available for public use in Lower Manhattan’s Battery Park.
Ever since Michael Thonet established Gebrüder in 1819, the brand has been at the forefront of mass producing the now iconic bentwood and tubular steel furniture by designers from the Bauhaus era as well as contemporary designers and architects, as well as Thonet himself, of course. Gebrüder is not only one of the oldest modern design brands and manufacturers, it’s also one of the few that are still family owned and managed. The 5th generation of Thonet’s (Michael’s great-great-grandchildren) currently run the company in Germany, but a few days ago they announced their new partnership with M2L to distribute classics like Mart Stam’s chrome-plated cantilevered chair and the Vienna coffee house chair that started it all to the US market.
Reimagining the chair as an architectural material
With their focus on “environmental acuity and a critical digital ethic,” Brian Bush and Yong Ju Lee of E/B Office describe themselves as “digital architects” who design ”real projects that are virtually indistinguishable from their digital visions.” Their most recent vision included 300 of IKEA’s pine wood Ivar chairs arching through the air across the wide lawn at Freedom Park in Atlanta, where SEAT was installed earlier this summer for Flux Projects, a public art organization. Bush and Lee hope that SEAT will encourage people to reconsider the chair as more than just a passive, everyday object, but as an architectural structure in and of itself. Indeed, sitting amongst a swooping pavilion built entirely out of chairs, it would be difficult not to.
No doubt you’ve seen the Ivar chair before, or something like it. Popular for its low price ($24.99) and ability to be painted any color, Ivar is so basic it’s the kind of chair that should pop right up when you do a Google Image search for “chair” (it doesn’t, though IKEA’s Poang does). Because they came from IKEA, all 300 were assembled by hand by Bush, Lee and a team of 15. The chairs were unaltered except for the seat, which was removed from most to make them easier to connect. After Bush and Lee made a 3D model in Rhino with the help of a structural engineer, they launched right into building the full-scale version onsite. Read More