Evidence suggests that furniture was used as far back as the Neolithic period and daily life without it is unimaginable. So how has furniture changed through the ages? From the exclusive and luxury furniture of Ancient Egypt, to the functional and streamlined design of the Bauhaus – these animations created by Angie's List take you on a fascinating journey through the evolution of furniture design.
Chairs: The Latest Architecture and News
Dutch studio Rietveld-Architecture-Art-Affordances (RAAAF) has unveiled its latest installation ‘Breaking Habits’ at the Mondriaan Fund for Visual Arts in Amsterdam. Breaking Habits envisages a domestic environment without chairs and couches, exploring a model of diagonal living through a system of flexible carpets.
This article is part of our "Material Focus" series, which asks architects to elaborate on the thought process behind their material choices and sheds light on the steps required to get projects actually built.
In this exceptionally imaginative and thought-provoking exercise in perceptual shifts, Ithaca- & Brooklyn-based CODA transformed hundreds of humble plastic lawn chairs into a project in the Arts Quad at Cornell University. Viewed from afar as a spiky singular entity, close inspection reveals the simple, unpretentious repeated module. CODA explains, "the object’s features are no longer understood in terms of their use (legs, arms, seat) but in terms of their form (spikes, curves, voids) as, due to their rotation away from the ground, they lose their relationship with the human body." We asked Caroline O'Donnell, principle at CODA, to explain the challenges faced in the development and construction of the fully-recyclable URCHIN.
This is the first design exhibition that incorporates three generations of Iranian architects in one event to design and build chairs.
A chair, as an object, lies somewhere on the scale between interior architecture and a product. It can be made by anyone as a response to the primary human need for “a place to sit.” But, on the other hand, a professional designer can create a structure to respond to human needs, using a comprehensive framework, technology and geometry.
"The role of the architect, or the designer, is that of a very good, thoughtful host, all of whose energy goes into trying to anticipate the needs of his guests – those who enter the building and use the objects in it." Charles Eames
Herman Miller is a furniture design and manufacturing company, which in addition to producing contemporary designs also continues manufacturing classic pieces, including those originally designed by Charles and Ray Eames. The company’s relationship with the designer duo goes back to the 1940s, when they worked together to develop the Eames' Molded Plywood chairs and the classic Chaise Lounge.
Following a long investigation into the curvature of plywood and the construction of organic forms using new technologies and materials, the pair of architects developed their Shell Chair, an iconic design that is still manufactured today. Learn more about the development of the Shell Chair and see how it is constructed, after the break.
Los Angeles-based practice Synthesis Design + Architecture has created a 3-D printed chair which uses the latest gradient 3-D printing technology to apply different material properties to different parts of the chair. Originally asked by leading 3-D printing company Stratasys to design a piece that would not be possible without utilizing 3-D printing, Synthesis Design + Architecture chose to go one better, designing a chair that would not be possible without the Stratasys Objet 500 Connex3, which is capable of combining a range of material properties into a single print run.
“A Chair is a difficult object. A skyscraper is almost easier.” – Mies van der Rohe
In his latest 99% Invisible podcast, Roman Mars takes listeners to the edge of their seats (literally), as he tackles one of design’s unique challenges: the chair. From Van der Rohe to Gehry, Hadid, Libeskind and Corbusier, “if they’ve designed a big building, chances are they’ve designed a thing on which to sit,” begins Mars. Yet the complexity of chair design comes from the fact that a chair “disappears when in use...Chairs need to look fantastic when empty, and remain invisible (and comfortable) while in use,” states Mars. And with numerous recent studies showing the negative impacts of sitting too much, innovative chair design is now more important than ever.
Listen to the full podcast and check out some well-known chairs designed by architects after the break.
The Italian furniture brand Arper recently reissued Lina Bo Bardi's signature Bowl Chair. The pioneering project of the Brazilian-Italian architect presents a more relaxed approach to "sitting" - one that was fairly radical when it was originally released in 1951. The reissue of the chair - presented at the Salone del Mobile 2013 - is a testament to the forward-thinking vision of the architect.
Arper, who worked in partnership with the Instituto Lina Bo e P.M. Bardi to produce the Bowl Chair, based the design on the original prototype drawings. The genius of the chair is in its simple execution: consisting of two loose parts - an upholstered shell on a metal structure - the seat remains free to move in all directions. It is a chair for living, not just for sitting, and (as with all of Bo Bardi's works) places the human at the center of the design.