9 designers, 9 cities, 9 chairs
June 18, 2004 3:12 AM   Subscribe

Un-Fold. (quicktime clip) City Magazine asked 9 designers, from 9 cities across the world to design a chair in 90 days. Oh, and it had to fit in a FedEx box. Pics and more about the designers and the project.
posted by madamjujujive (26 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
That is so cool. Thank you for the link!
posted by malpractice at 3:21 AM on June 18, 2004

good stuff, mjj, thanks

even if I am partial to the great David Sawyer's Windsor chairs
posted by matteo at 4:18 AM on June 18, 2004

I think that big box cheated! ;) Cool link though, thanks.
posted by yoga at 4:31 AM on June 18, 2004

Damn. That was cool.

I was surprised at how many of the designs seemed to have a similar fan out thing going on. They reminded me rather of those paper bells you used to get for wedding or Christmas decorations.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:12 AM on June 18, 2004

Very cool. I loved some of the non-obvious designs.
posted by substrate at 5:25 AM on June 18, 2004

Nifty and fascinating.

Yeah, I thought of the Christmas decorations too; I always noticed that they seemed really sturdy, even when made out of tissue paper. Also, the chair that he makes out of the FedEx boxes is great.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 5:41 AM on June 18, 2004

Interesting challenge. It's unfortunate that nobody could fit the pieces for a comfy chair in a FedEx box.

It would be interesting to see what the result would be if you gave the same task to 9 engineers. Their solutions probably wouldn't reflect the same simplicity.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.
posted by SteveInMaine at 6:16 AM on June 18, 2004

It's hard to comment on this without using the word 'cool'.

Production note: Phil is wearing DieselStyleLab jeans, and Fab is drinking Bombay Sapphire.

That Fabrice Frere is one talented fellow - he's the creative director of CITY, and he also directed, edited, and produced the video, and composed the soundtrack, which is fab.

I like the way we got to watch as they discovered the chairs for the first time, and I wonder how long the whole un-folding actually took. Did they just say to hell with it with the large chunk of fabric with the green broken lines on it, or was that the actual chair? That's a bit too unconstructed... ;) I loved the red one, and the one that looked like a Jenga tower. I was expecting something completely different, with finished products more along the lines of put-it-together-yourself-at-home Ikea-style, and was pleasantly surprised with the results.
posted by iconomy at 6:26 AM on June 18, 2004

"It's hard to comment on this without using the word 'cool'."

You underestimate the posting public of MeFi. I can easily, for instance, use the words "awesome" and "rad". My favorites were also the red one and jenga-tower looking thing, but the first one and the two things that we're just stuff tossed on the floor were limp, making me sad.
posted by kavasa at 6:32 AM on June 18, 2004

Yeah, the "limp" entries were disappointing. On the whole, though, they were really interesting. While I didn't "like" the foam-in-a-can entry, I thought it was utterly ingenious.

Were I to create a chair in a FedEx box, I'd go for something along the lines of a hip looking, intelligently designed Crazy Creek. I'm surprised no one went with a similar concept.

Anyway - great link! Thanks for sharing.

posted by aladfar at 6:53 AM on June 18, 2004

Hm: I screwed up the link somehow - Crazy Creek.
posted by aladfar at 6:55 AM on June 18, 2004

The soundtrack sounds like Sountrack or Garage Band to me. That one-note bass line gives it away.

But still, really cool design concepts.
posted by emelenjr at 7:01 AM on June 18, 2004

This seems like a very cool (whoops) project. Thanks, mjjj!

I can't see the QuickTime link here at work, but I gotta ask... did this "chair" really qualify? I mean, hell, I could make a chair like that fit in a FedEx box. Here, what do I have lying around? Put it in a box! Instructions: Take out of box. Sit on top of it.
posted by soyjoy at 7:46 AM on June 18, 2004

Take out of box. Sit on top of it.

They had to fluff it up a little and arrange it in a circle first, but, yeah - basically what you said ;)
posted by iconomy at 7:51 AM on June 18, 2004

of chairs in interesting forms and design I give you this ;with some fine tuning they could probably get something similar inside a fed ex box
posted by dirtylittlemonkey at 8:00 AM on June 18, 2004

Designboom has this and this. Plus I love love love this. I'm a bit of a chair slut. There, I've said it.
posted by iconomy at 8:22 AM on June 18, 2004

iconomy, you must be strong - the chair will never be able to love you the way you love the chair!

Man, what an extensive gallery of those chairs! We had those (the spherical type) in the library at my college, where they were called "womb chairs" by most people I knew. Sitting in them would inevitably cause you to fall asleep even on those occasions when you truly wanted to use them for studying.
posted by soyjoy at 8:47 AM on June 18, 2004

Note that they weren't asked to build a chair, but a seat, which is why the ring of wool would qalify.
posted by dobbs at 8:53 AM on June 18, 2004

This would probably fit in a FedEx box, no?
posted by emelenjr at 10:25 AM on June 18, 2004

Didn't see the quicktime but I didn't see any inflatable chairs in the pics? Why not?

And for all you furniture sluts out there, here's an oldy but goody.
posted by euphorb at 10:38 AM on June 18, 2004

gaa ... am i the only one irritated by most of the designs? Not to snark or anything, but designing a chair that could fold into a fedex box, i thought, was the challenge.

all of this stuff is fluff before function!

i did like the first one (inflatable seat) ... but come on, others were complete cheaters! Many arrived with assembly needed. Shit, most furniture fits inside a small box when you buy it and have to assemble it at home. ;)
posted by Peter H at 11:39 AM on June 18, 2004

The post is misleading. They just had to design a seat not a chair; that's why these are just somewhat interesting looking lumps of stuff, rather than something you'd actually want to sit on for very long. I want a real chair competition!
posted by badstone at 12:27 PM on June 18, 2004

ok, for those who cavil over seat vs. chair, chair is their word not mine. The video says "seat," but note in link 3 that the project headline definitely uses the word "chair." The actual rules were somewhat more ambiguous in wording:

to create a cost-effective, collapsible piece of furniture and ship it to New York inside a large FedEx box within 90 days of receipt of the project brief. What they created was strictly up to them, but the final product and construction had to adhere to the following:

• BUDGET could not exceed $200 (or equivalent)
• EACH DESIGN must support the weight of a person up to 200 lbs (90 kgs)
• CONCISE INSTRUCTIONS must accompany the design in order to assemble it for exhibition

posted by madamjujujive at 1:28 PM on June 18, 2004

I'm sorry, but those seats (or chairs) really sucked (with the lone exception of the one that was two simple pieces with a torus through the support), if you gave the same challenge to a bunch of engineers you would get MUCH cooler chairs (even if they don't have frumpy chord hanging off the side that satisfies so called "design").

As for a self link, if you ever want to see a truly cool build it quick competition then i'd suggest seeing the national steel bridge competition (my team) were you build a bridge that weighs 200 lbs, goes together in 1 to 8 minutes, and carries 2500 lbs....makes these chairs look like junk.
posted by NGnerd at 11:11 PM on June 18, 2004

She never met a chair contest she didn't like.
posted by samuelad at 4:00 PM on June 21, 2004

ha, samuelad...like iconomy, I am a bit of a chair slut too. Thanks to all who contributed links. NGerd, nice project!
posted by madamjujujive at 8:22 PM on June 21, 2004

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