Folding chairs are pretty common, and are often wobbly and pretty uncomfortable. That’s a shame, because they make a lot of sense if you live in small spaces. The Shakers, an American religious sect, used to hang their chairs on the walls when they were finished with them, to make room for other functions. You can also do that with the Ollie Chair and it won't stick out; inventor Jessica Banks describes it as “a shape-shifting seat that unfurls with a flourish and retracts with a simple pull of a string.”
It is rather clever actually- the tambour back (a flexible slatted wood on fabric back) and folding aluminum base work with origami techniques, and fold flat to under two and a quarter inches. They claim “That’s thinner than the bagel you had for breakfast” but clearly bagels are bigger in Brooklyn, mine was only an inch and a half this morning.
Jessica Banks, CEO of RockPaperRobot told us in an email:
The Ollie Chair is more experience than object. Our goal was to design a chair that was an invitation to sit and stay as much as it gave license to get up and go...because possessions should provide both comfort and freedom.
And as you can see in the Kickstarter video, people do get up and go, using it in the subway and Times Square. Jessica notes that she is CEO of a woman-run company that is..
..an engineering and design firm that is rousing the sleepy and technology-resistant furniture industry. Their transformable furnishings address the demands that current physical, cultural, and technological shifts are imposing on commercial and residential spaces. As designers and technologists, the team integrates aesthetics and robotics into decor to enhance versatility and functionality without subscribing to the sterile appearance of sci-fi lore: think Charles Eames’s and Judy Jetson’s wedding registry. Aligning time-honored craftsmanship with progressive engineering, RPR invents the furniture of the future.
It is also really durable, and is salt tested, immersion tested, frozen and thawed.
At US$ 450 (cheaper on Kickstarter) this is no $ 6.99 IKEA Gunde, and at 16 pounds it is a lot heavier if you are going to carry it on the subway. But it looks a lot better hanging on the wall, and I suspect is a lot more comfortable.
It has already blown through its target on Kickstarter, but head over, it is still a lot cheaper there.