Archive for the ‘chairs’ Category

Emeco “Nine-0” Chair by Ettore Sottsass

Sunday, 27 April 2008

(Update: Space at Millennia Walk, is now the Emeco distributor in Singapore.)

Emeco, unveiled the “Nine-0”, a new collection of chairs and stools by the Italian designer Ettore Sottsass on 16 April, at the 2008 Salone Internazionale del Mobile.

Nine-O Chairs

I love how the arms on the armchair are formed by the extension of  the leg piece. A simple, elegant solution.

Emeco \

Three versions of the chair/stool are available. (From left to right) 3-Bar Back (shown without arms), Open Back, and Soft Back.

From the press release:

Gregg Buchbinder, Emeco’s Chariman, met Mr. Sotsass eight years ago at the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art. “The minute we met, Ettore told me he was an admirer of the Navy chair and in fact wished he had designed it. And we agreed, why not re-design it,” remembers Mr. Buchbinder. “I had seen Sottsass’ projects in which he had used our chair. Ettore was the first designer who took our chairs out of their typical environments—navy ships prisons, hospitals—and to use them in contemporary interior design projects. Through him Sir Terence Conran, Frank Gehry and Philippe Starck discovered the Emeco chair creating resurgence in the 1990’s.”

“A chair must be really important as an object, because my mother always told me to offer my chair to a lady,” Mr. Sottsass told the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in 1976.

Chris Redfern, the British architect who worked alongside Mr. Sottsass for the past 12 years recalls, “Ettore always had orange cushions fixed onto his navy chairs at home in Milan and our idea started there. We wanted to make the new chair soft, friendly and of course colorful.” Mixing Emeco’s expertise in aluminium construction with European technologies in polyurethane sculpting, the new designs feature a soft polyurethane seat and a wider base for a “growing population.”


A bit on Mr Sottsass:

Ettore Sottsass was born in 1917 in Innsbruck. Like his father, Mr. Sottsass studied architecture. He served in the Italian army, and after the war, established a practice in Turin, designing interiors, and domestic objects. He later moved to Milan as Italy embarked on post war reconstruction and collaborated with his father on social housing projects, as well as designing small craftsman-made domestic objects.

Mr. Sottsass spent a brief period in America, working for George Nelson, which gave his work a transatlantic dimension unusual in Italy.

In 1981, he helped establish the Memphis movement with a group of like minded designers who questioned the comfortable definitions of contemporary design. Memphis represented the most coherent attempt to apply post modernism to design. It created an alternative to the aesthetic of functionalism by exploring the emotional potential of design.

At the same time that Memphis exploded, Mr. Sottsass’ partnership, Sottsass Associati expanded rapidly to become Italy’s best-known design consultancy, working in architecture, graphics, interiors, products, and furniture all around the world.

These are the last chairs designed by Mr. Sottsass, who died on December 31, 2007 at the age of 90.



Nine-O Swivel Chairs

Seats: Integrally-coloured, soft polyurethane seat and back.

Colours available: green, blue, yellow, orange, red, and grey.


Moooi Carbon Chair

Thursday, 6 September 2007

I went to Amsterdam last week for work, and managed to spend some time exploring the city.The Netherlands is home to a large number of world-class designers, running the entire gamut of fields—from furniture to architecture, textile making to ceramics, fashion to graphic design. Some Dutch design heavyweights that immediately come to mind are Hella Jongerius, Marcel Wanders, Viktor & Rolf and Rem Koolhaas.The Dutch design collective, Droog, alone has worked with over a hundred different designers. I dropped by their store, and saw this unbelievable table by Miriam van der Lubbe.Frog Table at Droog AmsterdamScenes from an Indonesian fairy tale about a Frog Prince were cut by laser into the walnut surface, then four Balinese craftsmen worked for two weeks, carving out half the tabletop into a spectacular relief of lily pads, tadpoles and frogs—in all stages of its life cycle.Frog Table at Droog AmsterdamThe table has to be seen to be believed. One half is precision-etched, with incisions barely a millimeter wide, and the other half is insanely hand-crafted. This juxtaposition was part of the artist’s intent; where countries would normally use cheap Indonesian labour to manufacture mass consumer goods, she used skilled artisans to produce a one-off masterpiece. (Ironically, perhaps, the labour cost was still probably fifty times cheaper than it would have cost to make in say, Italy.)I digress… more Amsterdam posts to come soon.One chair of Dutch design that I really love is Bertjan Pot’s Carbon Chair, designed in cooperation with Marcel Wanders, and produced by Moooi.Carbon ChairIt’s made from 100% carbon fibre, with no metal frame, and weighs an incredible, I don’t know, 3 micrograms, or some other ridiculously light weight. You can lift it with your little finger; it’s so light and feels really fragile, but yet, incredibly strong.The Carbon Chair was inspired by an experimental chair Pot created as an homage to Charles Eames’s DSR side chair with Eiffel base. Using carbon fiber and epoxy resin to “trace” the chair, the result was the “Carbon Copy”. (This chair was never produced, and remains only a prototype. Image from Bertjan Pot’s website.)Carbon CopyPot also designed the Random Light, which was his previous experiment with epoxy-soaked fibreglass strands. (He says on his website, “people who know me, know I like random.”) Originally hand-coiled around a large balloon, it took three years to perfect the mechanical process which allows it to retain its random, non-machine-made look. It’s now available in three sizes, the largest one slightly over a metre in diameter.Random LightCarbon ChairMaterial: Epoxy and carbon fibreColour: BlackDimensions: 75 x 46 x 50cm (H x W x D)Seating height: 45cmLIMITED AVAILABILITY DUE TO SHORTAGE OF CARBON FIBRE

Emeco Navy Chairs

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

(Update: Space at Millennia Walk, is now the Emeco distributor in Singapore.)

Some people dream of owning Lamborghinis, or other such fancy things. Me, I’ve wanted chairs. Specifically, the all-aluminum Emeco 1006 chair.

Emeco Navy Chair

Although it’s a bona fide design classic, the chair has achieved a somewhat anonymous ubiquity. By this, I mean that you’ve probably seen it a hundred times in your life without realizing that this was the chair. Try this: the next time you watch any movie about cops, or C.S.I, pay attention during the interrogation room scenes, and I’ll bet you’ll spot them there.

Part of their beauty lies in their indestructibility. The ten-oh-six “Navy” chair was designed by Wilton C. Dinges in 1944 for use on US Navy submarines and aircraft carriers. The task was to create a corrosion-resistant chair that was light and strong. Strong enough, legend has it, to survive a torpedo blast.

Not just taking their word for it, the folks at their ad agency, Weiden & Kennedy in London, put the chair to the test.

The chairs are made using a 77-step process, and the resulting chair is three times as strong as steel. Every one comes with a lifetime warranty, and you often find some of the original ones from the 50s being sold on eBay. They’re also 100% recyclable, although, you may have to wait for about 150 years before they wear out to do so.

Emeco Classic 10-06

Emeco makes other beautiful chairs, designed by luminaries such as Sir Norman Foster, Philippe Starck and Frank Gehry. But the Navy chair remains my favourite.

You can see the Navy chair and all the others at: