chair fashions
January 10, 2005 9:19 PM   Subscribe

PSST! Wanna get rich? Make a cardboard chair and sell it!

No, I'm serious. Based on a design by architect Frank Gehry that is now in the Guggenheim, these chairs apparently sell for some good cash. Engineers and design students have been doing the cardboard chair project for years, but I think it's time for the common folk to get in on the action. Need inspiration? Check out some more stuff . . .
posted by ashbury (17 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Gehry's chairs are quality chairs. They're not just a couple of sheets of cardboard tossed together; they're really intricately made and a lot of design work, engineering, and finishing went into them in order to make sure they wouldn't collapse. And they look great. Don't knock them.
posted by painquale at 9:35 PM on January 10, 2005

I didn't see any knocking going on.
posted by interrobang at 9:40 PM on January 10, 2005

good links.
posted by tomplus2 at 9:43 PM on January 10, 2005

I've always loved Gehry's cardboard furniture. I actually built a version of this chair using cardboard from local liquor stores, a jig saw, and a hell of a lot of glue. Took me a long ass time and in the end it turned out I made it at about 3/4 scale. Oops. That's what you get for guessing the dimensions from a fuzzy jpeg.
posted by gwint at 10:10 PM on January 10, 2005

There was a little mocking going on up there in .
Anyone tried making any of these? I'd love to make the gehry, but where do you get that much cardboard?

On preview: Oh gwint, tell me more!

posted by metaculpa at 10:23 PM on January 10, 2005

On post: I seem to have posted at 3/4 scale as well.
posted by metaculpa at 10:24 PM on January 10, 2005

Funny you should mention design students.

My best friend had a mechanical engineering class at Harvard (this was back in '94) and the final project was to design a functional chair out of cardboard. The catch was that it had to have one other utility. My friend ended up building a built-in book place-holder, but there were some other really clever designs he told me about.

One guy designed a chair with a giant container built in to the side of the chair. The professor asked him what it was for, and the student went outside and came back with a beer keg which fit perfectly in the space. Incredibly stupid, but enormously funny.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:07 PM on January 10, 2005

PSST! Wanna get rich? Be Frank Gehry!

Seriously, this is about exploring materials, and he does it well. From everything I've heard, the chairs are of excellent quality, and I like the visual aesthetic as well. But without the name of the world's most famous contemporary architect, they couldn't sell for $1000. Or half that.

Not that it's a bad thing. I plan on capitalizing on my name someday, too.
posted by medialyte at 12:00 AM on January 11, 2005

But without the name of the world's most famous contemporary architect, they couldn't sell for $1000. Or half that.

How about $345?

Found on Meta-Efficient.
posted by Ritchie at 1:15 AM on January 11, 2005

Very neat. Expensive, but very neat. I watched that show Trading Spaces once and one of the designers did an entire room in cardboard. It looked awful, but what the fuck, you all wanted to know it anyway.
posted by The God Complex at 1:42 AM on January 11, 2005

Oh, I wasn't knocking or mocking. I'm really impressed with the idea. And when a friend mentioned that she had made one I was really intrigued. I think it's way beyond cool. And FWIW, Trading Spaces designers suck ass with their frou-frou ideas and textiles on walls crap.
posted by ashbury at 5:21 AM on January 11, 2005

Gehry designed these chairs in 1972, the golden age of cardboard furniture (just after the golden age of inflatable furniture and architecture). He's gotten rich in the 33 years since, but not so much from cardboard furniture.
posted by dbrown at 7:41 AM on January 11, 2005

A Swedish design firm [retur]Design also makes some interesting and quite expensive cardboard furniture. I'm not crazy about the chairs, but I like the shelves, especially big chaos.
posted by blakewest at 10:18 AM on January 11, 2005

with their frou-frou ideas and textiles on walls crap

Don't mock Frou Frou.
posted by weston at 11:03 AM on January 11, 2005

I once saw a cardboard chair at a local art museum that had an interesting twist- the cardboard was used to make a series of parallel, curved support structures in a square, low-edged box, so that the contours made a chair shape; the artist then filled the whole thing with dirt and grass seeds, watered it for a few weeks, and hey presto, grass chair. There's a picture of the chair, showing the frame and the finished product, right here.
posted by baphomet at 11:42 AM on January 11, 2005

ReadyMade magazine has instructions for a sod sofa constructed on the same principle.
posted by blakewest at 1:07 PM on January 11, 2005

"Contemporary designer furniture at affordable prices was what Frank O. Gehry wanted to create. Without doubt he succeeded in his aim...

Price: $1045"

Does not compute.
posted by VanRoosta at 3:49 PM on January 11, 2005

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