Growing a Chair…


Here is an early look at the newest chair designed by France’s Bouroullec brothers for Vitra, to be unveiled at the Milan Furniture Fair this April. Called the Vegetal Chair, it took four years to grow, from concept to finished industrial product. That is almost as long as it takes to hybridize a new plant… 

Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec were originally inspired by a 20th century American gardening technique, which consisted of taking young trees and pruning them into furniture shapes. Furthermore, they wanted to update the traditional European garden chairs which used organic shapes cast in heavy iron. The challenge was to create a chair that was both natural in form yet industrial in technique, to make a mass-market, contemporary chair for both indoor and outdoor use. 

The industrial process necessitated virtual moulding techniques, but to keep a random, organic aspect the designers began by hand-drawing leaves on paper and projecting the designs on rounded structures before rendering everything digitally. By hand and by computer, the chair was re-drawn 1000 times over the four year period. 

Once the design was perfected, the chair was produced using a durable mixture of polyamide and fibreglass and injected into metal moulds. One can imagine the plastic shooting into the moulds like sap rising in the veins and branches of a tree…

Poetry and Industry,


bour-orangeIn bright red-orange, associated with their famous “Algues” modular decorations and room dividers, above, the technique is reminiscent not just of sap, but of life-blood pulsing through the human body…


~ by lisacwhite on March 4, 2009.

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