The Aram Gallery presented the process behind the design and manufacture of a single furniture piece: Flip Chair by Amsterdam-based designer Jair Straschnow. An array of prototypes, and a short film, described the nine-year evolution of the chair from initial idea to production.
Flip Chair is a dining chair that converts to an easy chair. It was originally shown at the gallery in the 2009 exhibition, Grassworks, as part of Straschnow’s series of self-assembly furniture experiments in bamboo laminates. The multi-purpose collection also included benches, tables, trestles and shelves, that could change, fold, extend or collapse. “Sort of the IKEA flat-pack philosophy, but from a green material and without the dozens of screws/tricky manuals,” the designer describes. The pieces were designed to suit smaller living spaces, as well as being durable and sustainable. It went on to win the furniture category at the Design Museum’s Designs of the Year awards in 2010.
Like the rest of the Grassworks collection, Flip Chair began as a bamboo prototype that was realised quickly through trial and error. Turning into a finished product was a much lengthier process, with many different incarnations from tubular options to full plywood. Each prototype shows a progression in resolving safety issues and making its use more intuitive, while keeping true to the original idea and aesthetic.
The final version is milled out of a single material (European Birch ply) and has a locking mechanism that makes use of the material’s inherent flexibility. It was developed in collaboration with Fiction Factory, who is also producing it.
Grasswork is series of experiments in self-assembly furniture designs by Jair Straschnow – a range that is designed to be simple, intelligent, beautiful, space-saving and wholly sustainable.
The furniture is made from bamboo laminate sheets and Straschnow has designed an interlocking system of component parts in order to assemble each piece with dry mechanical fastening rather than glue and screws. The interlocking components allow the furniture to be flat packed.
The exhibition, which included a double, ‘stacking’ trestle dining table, a picnic table and bench, a convertible easy/dining chair and a set of bookshelves, places emphasis on the details of the joinery that is the essence of this clever collection.
Bamboo is the fastest growing plant on earth and can be harvested again and again from the same stalk; its use ensures the sustainability of the collection.
Zeev Aram, Director of The Aram Gallery believes that Straschow has an innovative approach to his design work that is wholly dedicated to solving the problems that designing furniture presents. This approach is illustrated by the fact that Straschnow’s design process involves building full-sized experimental prototypes rather than sketching or modelling. “He has an idiosyncratic way of wanting everything to fold-up, click into place, and fit together with a minimum amount of glue or fixings,” says Aram. “It’s rare to find a designer who works so hard to solve problems that he sets himself. Jair is a very thoughtful designer who thinks very creatively to produce practical solutions. In one of the tables we looked at in his studio, two of the leg components are held together with a screw. I know he will work tirelessly to figure out how to make it work without that last screw, making the table better, with less components and probably more cost effective.”
The items on show were prototypes, handmade by Straschnow in his Amsterdam studio.
Jair Straschnow was born in Israel in 1965 and finished his MA at the Design Academy in Eindhoven before settling in Amsterdam. This is his first solo exhibition in the UK.
Photographer Shira Klasmer
a collaboraion with gitte nygaard.
– not much to say, very little to do.
Using innocent and familiar icons, as well as, playground elements, we contributed slight modifications: the swings are on colliding tracks, the see-saw is off centre, the slide is lacking something.
Most human initiated intended actions are aiming at some sort of benefit.
The ground will serve for investigation of non profitable behaviour and purposeless action.