My First Chair

by guy keulemans on November 12, 2008

This is the interim results from a workshop I am doing with Dick van Hoff; the task is to take an old chair and rebuild the leg structure from 6mm steel rod. Unwilling to destroy a perfectly good chair, I chose an old and broken chair that was floating around the studio. With loose joins and a missing slat it was time it needed a makeover.

When set a task such as to design “~some kind of structure~” with a an arbitrary material, I find that a vast array of design choices appear. The act of choosing a formal decision, making a path through the cloud-like chaos of the possible, is dependant on the material properties, but providing the material is flexible enough in application, an almost infinite number of directions are possible. This negotiation some designers find easy, those that rely on their own (often largely pre-determined) aesthetics to generate form, and some designers find it hard, those that require singular and unique concepts to shape an object. I am more in the latter group of designers, and finding myself needing some kind of motivation to create a form for this project, I chose this idea itself as the concept. So the iron framework that crackles belows the amputated chair top, is a form representing the the array of possible directions that one can take when making form. Which becomes a kind of paradox because the final form is itself the result of a finite direction – a functional structure based on somewhat rational formal decisions. Therefore it also represents not just the conceivable but the applicable. This is a relationship of pairs ~conceivable vs realisable~ / ~chaos vs structure~.

And below is the chair as it used to be, moments before dissection in the workshop.

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