New Directions in Furniture

Lately, it had stuck me that really, in the world of home furnishings, things are a bit flat. What I mean is that things aren’t really moving forward. We seem to be still chewing on the concepts of the last century – especially in upholstered items. The furniture that we have now are still variations on works by famous designers like Corbusier and Eames – not that those styles were inferrier in any way.

I had thought that what was really going on was that we had gotten to a ‘sofa endgame’ in terms of styling and design – as if  we’d found all the answers to the question: “what is a sofa?” The other thing I had thought was we had become pre-occupied with the idea of found items, recycling, up-cycling and so on that we didn’t have time to pursue what could be.

Then these two chairs come along and give a bit of hope:

The top one is the Serpentine Chair by Éléonore Nalet and the bottom one is the Vuzzle Chair by Christopher Daniel.

I think both of these chairs are refreshing takes on how a cushioned chair can be constructed while still making the experience actually likable.  Both of these show that there are other ways to build seats than how Nelson made them in the 1960s.

The Serpentine Chair is quite interesting in its use of weaving on a grand scale with a filled component and a well-crafted frame to create a seating experience. When you mention that it is intended as lawn furniture, it becomes even better by solving the terrible question of “how do I keep this bloody cushion on the chair?” that so many store chairs suffer from.

I am intrigued by the amount of components the Vuzzle Chair is comprised of, which stands opposed to the current trend of the minimizing of cushions. This multiplicity imparts a great deal of visual and perhaps an inquisitive drive to use the chair.

Both chairs ask some interesting questions. To me, these questions revolve around how the seating experience could be enhanced through more conscious application of materials.

Showing different ways in which upholstery could be applied, and perhaps more to the point, how there could be quite a bit of intricacy added, is an interesting stepping-off point. I think it could lead to questions of how chairs could be fitted even more closely to the human form and even to personalization of experiences. Perhaps there could be a connection here or a jumping off point into more thoughtful design of the interactions of the body and the surfaces which we come into contact with.

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