Designers took this simple chair and totally transformed it


  • Design
  • Friday, 11 Nov 2016

The Officina Chair that was chosen for re-interpretation in the 2016 Chairity Project. Photo: magisdesign.com

For the third year running, influential Australian design studio Cult is organising its popular Chairity Project that gets designers to re-interpret a classic design and create one-off pieces that are auctioned off for charity.

The online auction is open globally, so interested Malaysians can bid for these unique pieces that are as much works of art as they are furniture (or jewellery, in one case).

The first Chairity Project, in 2014, asked Australia’s leading creatives to reinterpret the iconic CH33 chair designed in 1957 by Hans Wegner for Carl Hansen & Son.

It’s a brave thing to do, redesigning a revered classic; but, given complete freedom, the designers involved came up with interesting pieces that were snapped up when they were auctioned off. All proceeds went to charities chosen by the designers, as they will again this year.

Last year, the project chose the Series 7 chair designed in 1955 by Arne Jacobsen for Republic of Fritz Hansen. For this year’s Chairity Project, though, Cult decided to shake things up by choosing what it calls a “future classic” to be redesigned: the Officina chair, which was designed by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec in forged-steel for Magis just two years ago.

In a press release, Cult’s founder and managing director Richard Munao says, “To me this chair not only represents the icon of tomorrow but is a fantastic emblem for the Magis brand – a brand that in just 40 short years has both captivated and commanded the respect of the creative community around the world.

“Renowned for its sophisticated, energetic and surprising works of design, Magis continually offers products that showcase masterful industrial techniques with a playful and quirky edge.”

The 16 artists participating this year represent a variety of disciplines, ranging from architecture and photography to graphic design and jewellery. The result is a wide range of chair reinventions as well as a captivating exhibition and auction.

The travelling exhibition will take place in Cult’s showrooms in Sydney, from Nov 17 to 20, and Melbourne, from Nov 24 to 27.

The auction goes live on Nov 17 and ends on Nov 27; to bid, you have to register now – or at least one day before the auction goes live – with your full name and mobile number at tinyurl.com/cult-design.

For more information and to see starting bid amounts for the 16 pieces, go to galabid.com/auction/chairity2016.

Something that Mim Design Studio aspires to is the melding of colour and texture. They love the vibrancy and layered texture of their chair and feel it has synergies with their chosen charity, Beyond Blue, a mental health support organisation.
Mim Design Studios principal Miriam Fanning.
We Are Triibe combined traditional techniques and natural materials with the Officina's structural frame, pairing timber and rattan to create a design that can transition fluidly into most spaces.
Magis is renowned for pushing the boundaries of technology, so Adam Goodrum created earrings and a bracelet using laser sintering and 3D-printed the pieces in sterling silver.

When Henry Wilson saw this year's design, he felt immediately that it should not end up as a chair. We often expect forged steel to be solid and inflexible, so Wilson wanted to convey the rubbery hidden potential of steel.
Henry Wilson.
Fiona Lynch removed the seat and artist Jo Wilson (not pictured) helped make one in timber, a Victorian rough-sawn cypress, with radial lines hand-turned into its centre. The backrest is wrapped in leather cord.
Fiona Lynch.

Arent & Pyke tailored a slip cover and resurfaced the legs to personify the Officina with a dinner jacket and bow tie, weaving new narrative into an industrial object.
Principals Juliette Arent (left) and Sarah-Jane Pyke.
Bassike used natural materials to soften the design; a premium Italian leather to create a second skin in the form of two removable slips with contrast stitching and leather lacing.
Founders Deborah Sams (left) and Mary Lou Ryan.

Photographers Marsha Golemac and Dan Hocking were drawn to the idea of the chair being described as a 'future classic' and this inspired the set design, lighting and composition of their design, right through to the latest camera technology.
Marsha Golemac and Dan Hocking.
Adam Cornish has reinterpreted the Officina as a floor lamp in mouth-blown glass and 3D- printed components. The glass is seated within the stripped-back framework to create the light.
Adam Cornish.

Studio Twocan turned the Officina into a two-seater and introduced an Australian flavour with a kangaroo leather backrest.
Studio Twocan is managed by sisters Maddie and Becc Sharrock.
Mika Utzon-Popov spent a long time contemplating the chair and its intent. In the end he felt an urge to create something playful; something to contrast the severity of process and the colour palette.
Mika Utzon-Popov.

Design by Toko (founders Eva Dijkstra and Michael Lugmayr, right) applied 1,300 magnets to the frame of the chair to create volume and presence. Their intervention is dynamic and impermanent, so it can be altered or reversed.
Design by Toko (founders Eva Dijkstra and Michael Lugmayr, right) applied 1,300 magnets to the frame of the chair to create volume and presence. Their intervention is dynamic and impermanent, so it can be altered or reversed.

Studio Elke began by playing with the surface, adding flocking and a matte powder coat ,creating a new palette to imbue the chair with a rich visual energy. They added an arm, mirror and bowl to explore the concept of adornment.</p><p>(Right) Founder Elke Kramer.
Studio Elke began by playing with the surface, adding flocking and a matte powder coat ,creating a new palette to imbue the chair with a rich visual energy. They added an arm, mirror and bowl to explore the concept of adornment. (Right) Founder Elke Kramer.

Tracey Deep's (right) reinterpretation of the Officina is inspired by its contemporary design and traditional techniques. She used recycled wool fibre, layering to create a handmade, magical piece and to evoke emotions connected to the sea.
Tracey Deep's reinterpretation of the Officina is inspired by its contemporary design and traditional techniques. Deep (right) used recycled wool fibre, layering to create a handmade, magical piece and to evoke emotions connected to the sea.

Dinosaur Designs love the bone-like quality of the Officina, particularly the frame. They remodelled and hand-cast forms from their collection that had been inspired by organic shapes like eggs and bones. Principals, Loise Olsen and Stephen Ormandy.
Dinosaur Designs love the bone-like quality of the Officina, particularly the frame. Principals Loise Olsen and Stephen Ormandy (right) remodelled and hand-cast forms from their collection that had been inspired by organic shapes like eggs and bones.

Christopher Boots (right) used obsidian - a naturally-occurring volcanic glass with a blackness that obscures its origins as the blood of the earth - and pure gold leaf as a nod to the traditional artisan techniques used by the Bouroullecs for the Officina.
Christopher Boots (right) used obsidian - a naturally-occurring volcanic glass with a blackness that obscures its origins as the blood of the earth - and pure gold leaf as a nod to the traditional artisan techniques used by the Bouroullecs for the Officina.

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