London Design Festival: Chairs are Us

orchard studio photo

All Images by B. Alter: Orchard Studio

There is something so elemental and fascinating about chairs. Travelling around the London Design Festival, one sees the endless interest that they hold for new designers.

We have been collecting photos from across the London design scene of good (and bad) examples of work. This one is a cutey, made from recycled rubber bands, DIY, flat pack and recycled particle board. What's not to love.

coca cola photo

111 Navy Chair: Emeco

Here it is: the chair made out of 111 recycled Coca-cola bottles. The original Emeco Navy Chair was designed in 1944 for the U.S. Navy. These new ones, called the 111 Navy Chair contain a mix of 60 percent rPET plastic (recycled polyethylene terephthalate plastic) and a special combination of other materials including pigment and glass fiber for strength. It is estimated that more than three million PET plastic bottles will be re-used annually for the production of 111 Navy Chairs. The great thing is that it is solid, comfortable, and although utilitarian, quite nice to look at.

lounge chair photo

Simon Austen

This is a beauty. Made of European Oak and stainless steel, it was designed by Simon Austen, a former mechanical designer who gave it all up after 22 years at the job and became a furniture designer. It looks too firm, but in fact it is bouncy and the wood gives under the body.

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Sebastian Cox

This chair is made out of left-over bits of hazel wood from the coppicing of trees. Coppicing is the traditional form of small forest management. Tree stumps are cut down to ground level. New shoots and suckers grow out from them while the root system is untouched . The new growth can grow to more than 2 metres long.

Sebastian Cox is looking for contemporary usages for this wood which would otherwise be surplus from the hazel tree forests. Using weaving and steam bending techniques, it is amazingly light to pick up and weighs only 1.8 kg.

flux chair photo

Flux Chair

The Flux chair was inspired by origami. It is useful because it saves space and can be mailed, and lets you sit down whenever you want. This one weighs 4.5 kg, is foldable and comes in 8 colours ranging from red to blue to white. It seems to be made of strong (let's hope) cardboard and is recyclable.

lucienne day photo

Lucienne Day

And the queen and first lady of the art of textiles: Lucienne Day. She started as a textile designer, her husband Robin designed the chairs in the 1950's and onwards. This pattern, called the Helix, was created in 1970, on the same day as the Apollo 13 was launched. Its bold and colourful spirals are an ode to the op art movement popular at the time. She was the chief designer for Heal's, a furniture and department store, and this pattern is being reissued at this year's Design Festival in her honour.

More on London Design Festival 2010
Julika Welbe's Growing and Reparable Felt Carpet
London Design Festival Gets Cooking with Wild Mushrooms
Stuart Haygarth Recycles Picture Frames at London Design Festival

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