Crossbreeding chairs

Evolving existing chairs is a common idea in the field of furniture design. Aside from nonfunctional  results developed in post-modern age collectives to satirize Modernism, there are  good examples of transformation of existing furniture objects. Starck made reputation exploring this concept with designs such as Richard III sofa, the reinvention of the classic Louis XV armchair for Kartell, and more recently with the Masters chair.

While in the first examples the refinement of an area or the change of the material were the decisive elements for the design, in Masters chair the concept of evolving is treated differently, throughout a cross breeding approach.

The crossbreeding approach, made explicit in Masters, has been used in the development of other chairs. In Chairs Pedigree project, Vroonland & Vaandrager explored the crossbreeding of different objects and techniques. The results are chairs mutations that depart from the original concept and borrow techniques or material treatments from the other objects. There is the possibility of exploring several design iterations to achieve the final state.

Since 2010 there is an interesting computational development of this concept. Jan Habracken’s Chairgenics project  uses a 3D morphing software to combine different chairs in order to achieve (maybe) a perfect chair. This evolving experiment raises questions of aesthetics, shape morphosis, authorship and the use of computation in the design methodology.

The Habracken’s results resemble incomplete chairs that can only be materialized through 3D printing or moulding techniques, but this is an issue that can be informed by Vroonland & Vaandrager experiments and evolve to a more informed and complete algorithmic approach.

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