03 Mar 3 CHAIRS I LIKE
Three chairs that I like and what makes them special.
Today I want to spend some words that are useful to clarify my mental flows.
I often get lost in looking for well-designed chairs to understand their logic. For a designer, the chair, probably due to historical heritage, is one of the most interesting objects. Having been designed in thousands of variants, it is very complex to create an example that is clearly distinguishable from the crowd and that keeps intact the fundamental principles of industrial design, such as replicability, fair cost and critical appreciation (assuming that the product is comfortable).
Right now I’m trying my hand at the re-edition of an old project of mine, to improve it and propose it to the market, and it’s just a chair. I therefore tried to put “on paper” some things that strike me in projects that I believe are valid.
So I’m talking about 3 chairs that I often go to look at to set my standards, they are: T14 by Tolix (Patric Norguet), Yard by Emu (Stefan Diez) and Bell by Magis (Kostantin Grcic).
I believe that these models perform their function masterfully and have constructive properties so well studied that they work in such a harmonious way as to make the piece iconic, probably without ever having had the will to do so.
Obviously, every project has its criticality, but I tried to focus on the positive aspects that I identified and that struck me.
T14 / Patrick Norguet + Tolix
A project that, according to the designer Patrick Norguet, was born with the aim of adding a product to the Tolix range (which I think hasn’t offered a new chair for about 80 years) able to stand up to the comparison with model A, an object of huge success, long-lived and super copied. It is difficult to believe that you have never seen it, surely you will have sat on one of the copies of very good designers who live a partisan battle against the wrongdoing].
Norguet has reinterpreted the structural cornerstones of the historic seat trying to bring it into the new millennium, respecting the values of the previous one and trying to increase its comfort. From a visual point of view, the operation is successful, the industrial flavor of the piece is preserved and it is very convenient. Also considering that this object is entirely made of metal to be usable even outdoors.
The only thought is that perhaps the attempt to make an improvement action with respect to model A is not entirely successful. Apart from the fact that perhaps Tolix has not pushed this object too far on the market (without marketing we go a short distance), the fact that this chair does not have the version without armrests (like the A) makes me think that the version without has not exceeded structural resistance tests. On the designer’s website we can see that Norguet has also worked the version without armrests, but it is not in the catalog and makes me think that the backrest could not hold without armrests.
It is still a nice object that is not afraid to show its components, which makes it honest.
YARD / STEFAN DIEZ + EMU
I only started to appreciate this chair once I tried it. In the picture it doesn’t look like who knows what, but it is actually a masterpiece. Stefan Diez has been proving to be a “game changer” over the years and I think this is one of the most successful products.
The system of strips that accompany the seat make it super comfortable, despite being an outdoor product.
Usually the outdoor chairs are made of metal, like that of Norguet, and with very resistant structures, both to shocks and to bad weather. Diez has managed to keep all the trappings of an outdoor seat, but elevating it to a fluid ergonomics that makes it very pleasant despite its intended use.
The shape is not bad if you interact with it in first person, it has beautiful lines that must be appreciated by the right views and the system that integrates the strips of the seat hides them great. In fact, it seems to be a patented system that I believe is inspired by the rubber bands found in sofas.
The design then lends itself to being evolved to the entire collection, which makes it deadly from the point of view of a company catalog.
BELL / KOSTANTIN GRCIC + MAGIS
This is a monoblock chair, that is, printed in one piece. It is a type that lends itself to being made in large quantities and has a low price.
It competes with other pieces designed by great designers, such as the Elementaire by the Bouroullec brothers.
This too is a chair that communicates little by photo, or rather, not enough.
At first glance, it looks like a normal chair, but it isn’t. Apart from the shape which is a clear reference to classic monoblocks, but more advanced. Extremely comfortable and super resistant, the texture of the material (recycled) gives a solid and material feeling that makes you forget that it is made of plastic.
Grcic also thought about transport, not only for its stackability, but storage is favored by an additional piece that makes them super transportable.
The merit of Grcic, in addition to the structural praise, lies in being able to eliminate any sign of technicality in the forms of this product, ennobling it and breaking down the wall that is created between the cheapest objects and good design. A setback to global brands (see Ikea), which are homologating the taste of the average consumer, who are slowly having to face a design industry that is working carefully to return to being appreciated even by those who do not follow design .
If you are interested in other chair analyzes, you can look at the Positive Nostalgia article, where some Philippe Starck chairs are examined.