‘was the first chair a stone?’ a collection of seats by lucas muñoz



this week the artist lucas muñoz will present his series of seats ‘was the first chair a stone?’ at clerkenwell design festival, london. the pieces ‘look to the origin of commodities’, the staring point being that if a stone was probably the first object from nature claimed to be a seating device, then that was likely to be one of the beginnings of furniture making, design, craftsmanship, chairs, thrones, hammocks etc. being that appropriation action one of the seeds of our never-ending cultural development based on appropriation of natural elements and redefinition of their use towards providing, and creating, our needs.



lucas told designboom more about the project


designboom: please tell us about the process involved in making the chairs…


lucas muñoz: ’the pieces were made as part of my graduation from design academy eindhoven master department, and they illustrate a chapter of my thesis, bastardism, which looks to the environmental scale of our build environment. it took a couple of months to develop these three pieces.


found in nature stones were used, plus materials in an industrial raw state. I intended to leave the materials as close to their man-modified raw quality as possible, this is, without using paint or any other artificial finishing and modifying their shape only to fit my purposes, no decoration welcomed. only the steel was burnished to protect from rust. in the case of the hanging rock, the frame steel has only been polished on the areas that are in contact with the user, the rest was left as it comes from industry. on the rocking chair the structure was oxidised together in contact with the stone, so the stone got fumes from that process, as the steel rust sucked the water from the stone. the high stool was polished as a ring would have been.



livingstone rock stool


livingstone rock stool – detail



designboom: what was the most challenging aspect of this project?


lucas muñoz: once the idea was clear, the challenge was how to illustrate it in a logical way. for this I decided to translate it in three pieces, each of them looking to three different ways we work with matter. this way, the cubic structure with a hanging rock is an armchair and it looks to sculpture and its quest for contrasts, so lifting a heavy element from the floor and making it light, and contrasting a constructivist frame with an amorphous natural volume; the rocking chair looks to the design world, adding a layer of playfulness, and bringing references from known rocking chairs; and the high stool looks to jewellery making and the action of setting a stone on a ring; so three views on how we treat materials either for dressing ourselves, dressing our domestic context and the aesthetic quest for abstraction of art.


livingstone rocking chair


livingstone rocking chair – detail


livingstone rocking chair – detail


designboom: how does the project relate to themes you have explored in your other work?


lucas muñoz: the other five foundations are: the social foundation, animal foundation, mobility foundation, environment foundation and cultural foundation. the social looks to the act of seating and is represented by an over scaled nest-like human, it is an armchair and it reflects on the idea that probably the very first time we sit in our lives is on top of another person.


being a person the most basic chair from a psychological point of view; the animal foundation is a speaker made out of the body of a goat and exemplifies the most basic speaker, the body, since our vocal cords find resonance in our body; the mobility foundation is a skateboard made with a rock, searching for the most basic definition of a vehicle: a piece of ground on top of which you stand still while land scrolls underneath; the environment foundation is a 450kg concrete sponge-like structure that hosts two ventilators, they blow air against each other creating a system that cleans the particles in the air and refrigerates it, the same way the air gets cooled down in nature by passing through cool environments or the sea water gets cleaned by passing through sea sponges; the cultural foundation is a totem-like lamp made out of building materials. 



livingstone armchair


livingstone armchair – detail