Photo: B. Alter, the Pod
Travelling around the London Design Festival, one sees the endless interest that chairs hold for new designers.
Here is a survey of some of the best, and oddest, on view. Starting with odd is the Pod, but it really is very comfortable. Made out of pressed felt, it is conceived as an ergonomical answer to privacy and comfort. It's called a large acoustic privacy chair, and one really could curl up and get away from it all in this one.
Photo: B. Alter, Criatura Shoes
Slovenia organized a big design exhibition, called Silent Revolutions, of contemporary design in Slovenia. The work is very modern and Scandinavian in feel: there is lots of light wood and it's all slightly eccentric. Hence these shoes, made out of deer fur and horse hide: not chairs, but a wonderful creation.
Photo: B. Alter, Rex Chair, Niko Kralj
This pressed plywood chair is a classic Slovenian design created in 1952. Called the Rex folding chair, it's by Niko Kralj, who designed it for Stol Kamnik, Slovenia's largest bentwood furniture factory. He wanted to create something mass-produced, ergonomic and affordable. It has now become a cult design collectible.
Photo: B. Alter, Markus Johansson
Sweden also organized a special show at the residence of the Swedish Ambassador. Set against the backdrop of an 18th century Adam-designed house, the clean lines had a special resonance. This chair, called Nest, is made out of a series of pegs that have been bent and put together to get this asymmetrical fit in a symmetrical piece of furniture.
Photo: B. Alter, Eravolution
This award winning chair is from a new British company. Called ZPine, it is half the material and weight of conventionally designed chairs. It is based on the honeycomb design found in nature, and utilizes materials including broomsticks and honeycomb. A patent has been filed for the "reinforced cellular structure technology".
Photo: B. Alter, deadgood
Another British company and a very different chair: made out of partially recycled materials, it has been created to mimic and honour the breast cancer ribbon.
Photo: B. Alter, Melanie Porter
And then there is Melanie Porter, who restores old furniture and then knits mad, striped backs and seats for them. Some were sad sights and she makes them look happy. She also does knitted clocks, subway pass holders and cushions.