The chair is one of the simplest, most essential pieces of furniture - which is why many designers use it as a canvas to experiment with new materials and innovative techniques. When is a chair more than a chair? When it's made from living grass, heats up like a hot water bottle, or transforms with the tap of a smartphone. Read on for 14 inspiring chairs that go far beyond four legs and a set.
Herringbones Chair by Raw Edges
London-based, Israeli-born designers Raw Edges collaborated with 5VIE Art + Design to create Herringbones, an eye-catching interactive exploration of wood, colored dye, and herringbone motifs. The project puts visitors in the driver’s seat of design by inviting them to dip pine planks in buckets of colored dye and then arrange them into beautiful patterns.
Softie Wanted Foam Chair
Dutch artists Victoria Ledig and Mandy Roos combine the industrial, the profane and the fanciful in a humorous exploration of the inner nature of materials. Their Softie Wanted seat is made from just two materials: industrial foam and colorful rope.
Warm me Up Scotty by Hanneke de Leeuw
What do you get when you combine a hot water bottle with a piece of furniture? Hanneke de Leeuw‘s amazing Warm Me Up Scotty Chair! Three spigots sprout from the cozy seat, allowing it to be connected to a radiator or filled up with warm water from the tap.
Grass Chair by Landmarks
Do you love the feeling of sitting on the grass embraced by the soft smell of flowers and soil? Then check out this literal lawn chair by Landmarks at the Materials Village!
Angan Rocking Horse by Alvin Tjitrowirjo
This “Angan” rocking horse by Jakarta-based designer Alvin Tjitrowirjo is a playful outdoor seat inspired by Indonesian materials, customs, habits and heritage.
Offcut Stool by Ori Ben-Zvi
Wood offcuts and scraps find new life in Ori Ben-Zvi‘s tree trunk-shaped stool. His collection “The Wake” was inspired by the idea of reincarnation as well as recycling. The stool debuted at the YES exhibition of Israeli designers at Milan Design Week.
Bori Throne by Gunjan Gupta
Inspired by Indian bicycle vendors, Gunjan Gupta created the Bori Throne – a chair crafted from old bicycle parts, encrusted chrome, and textiles.
Palm Leaf Chairs by People of the Sun
People of the Sun partners with artisans in Malawi to create high-quality furniture and home accessories. For the Milan Furniture Fair they teamed up with Hettler Tullman to launch a colorful collection of chairs made from renewable locally-sourced materials.
Transforming Lift-Bit Sofa
Behold: the world’s first digitally transformable sofa. The Lift-bit is an innovative seat made from cushioned columns that can change height to create virtually any shape you can think of.
Concrete Chair by Yukiko Nagai
Material Container Stool by Seo Jeonghwa
Material Container by Seo Jeonghwa is a collection of stools and tables made using different materials in various combinations. The low furniture pieces comprise a conical base topped with a flat disc-shaped container in one material with a contrasting material inside. Pairings include basalt and rosewood, cherry and copper, and cork and aluminum. In total, the collection uses two types of stone, five types of wood and three types of metal, as well as woven rush and acrylic.
Unfamiliar Chairs by Studio Juju
Studio Juju‘s “unfamiliar” chairs feature playful shapes and lush colors. Their abstract forms challenge the concept of what a chair can be.
Loop Chair by P.C.Re.
P.C.Re.’s mesmerizing Loop chair is made from two intersecting volumes of metal mesh. Its economy of materials and lightweight aesthetic are inspiring to say the least.
Photos by Maria Novozhilova, Federica Garofalo, Charlene Lam for Inhabitat