clark bardsley uses steam-bent oak to design an anti-chair
(above) arm is designed to fit over any everyday seat and transform it into something completely new
all images courtesy of clark bardsley
chairs proliferate the portfolios of designers the world over. ‘arm’ chair is not another chair; it is an anti-chair. it celebrates nonsense, and gleefully breaks the chair design rule book. it is not comfortable; in fact, it cannot be sat on. it is the outline or symbol of a chair, produced in fine american oak. created by clark bardsley design, a practice based in auckland that produces process driven projects that emphasize on material quality and expression, the project began as an investigation of the constraints of wood bending, a process that is closely associated with the history of chair design.
‘we structured our research around creating a beautifully finished object that pays heed to a classic bentwood chair, without posing it as a commercial product. why shouldn’t research have a sense of humor?’ says clark bardsley.
video courtesy of clark bardsley
‘arm’ is designed to fit over any everyday seat – from a plastic patio chair to an office chair or even a bucket – to create a completely new chair, cloaked in the signified history and value of the bent oak form. its silhouette is a cartoon of the archetypal continuous sack back windsor.
‘arm’ pays heed to classic bent wood chairs
to create the chair, clark worked with a specialist wood bender in auckland, new zealand. the pared back simplicity of the design required meticulous jig making. oak was cut into strips, steamed and glue laminated into curved forms. these pieces were then machined into rounds, and finished with a brush back sander. the finished parts were joined using rail bolts, then the legs were carefully cut in and glued in place.
produced in steam bent, brush back sanded and oiled american oak
‘arm’ turns a place to sit in to something grand
research can have a sense of humor
the pared back simplicity of the design required meticulous jig making
‘arm’ is designed to fit over any everyday seat – from an office chair to a bucket
it aims to create a completely new chair, cloaked in the signified history and value of the bent oak form
sitting backwards changes the reading of the design again, and gives you a place to rest your feet off the ground
pure front view
edited by: juliana neira | designboom