COPENHAGEN – Outer Chair is a Danish inspired outdoor dining chair designed in Copenhagen. It tells a story of a strong city with a deep history. One rooted in simplicity as much as it in mystery. The use of steel and triangular supports allude to this strength, while the use of a single pure white and one material represent the simplicity in Danish design. What is most important though is the mystery and excitement that Copenhagen has to offer. A city as old as Copenhagen grows in waves and rebuilds and recedes and stays the same as much as it changes. The Outer Chair has mysteries and secrets just the same. The most obvious of which is one of my favorite aspects of the chair. The rotating squares that make up the seat end with a small square in the center. However, the true inner square can only be viewed from directly above and is not actually part of the seat but rather makes up the intersections of the central supporting bars of the legs.
Students are required to sketch in their journals and are expected to develop initial concepts for their chair designs. In their sketchbooks, students create physical and conceptual expressions of furniture seen on tour.
The study tour to Sweden (Stockholm) and Finland (Helsinki) visits furniture factories, showrooms, and museums that show a combination of aesthetics and fabrication and tell each student’s design process. Students also see contemporary and older architecture where furniture is integrated with the interior design. Furthermore, the tour gives an impression of Scandinavian history, geography, and culture.
I am always getting lost. However, my innate sense of misdirection works occasionally. While wandering down Stroget, the main shopping district in Copenhagen, I found myself trapped behind the barricades for “The World’s Greatest Catwalk”.
A Royal Opera
As I strolled down along the waterfront, I noticed the Copenhagen Opera House. Once I got there I found myself trapped once again by security. A mere 45 minutes later, the Danish royal family arrives as the Danish Royal Guard plays marching music.
While thinking about the sort of chair I wanted to build, I kept thinking about how lost I always seemed to be in the city. Copenhagen, like many old European city centers, isn’t strictly built on a grid system. Rather, the roads and alleyways followed the hills and the water. I wanted my chair to be maze-like and mysterious, but classic and beautiful at the same time.
Sometimes the best way to get a sense of scale and proportion is to drop the pencil and pick up the wire. Building these models gave me a good sense of where I wanted to take the final direction.
The assignment is to design and build an object for sitting made from a given amount of material: either a piece of wood 1600 x 200 x 38 mm or 6 meters of steel pipe, 10 meters of steel rod or 10 square meters of veneer. In addition to gluing and welding, only string or textile may be used. Through its construction, the chair must have a visual and structural clarity, and consequently express the conceptual idea.