Chair designs proliferate the portfolios of designers the world over. But with Arm anti-chair, New Zealand designers Clark Bardsley celebrated-nonsense with a playful attitude. “It gleefully breaks the chair design rule book. It is not comfortable; in fact, it cannot be sat on. It is the outline or symbol of a chair, produced in fine American Oak” says the designer.
Arm is designed to fit over any everyday seat, from a plastic patio chair to an office chair or even a bucket. The result is a completely new chair, cloaked in the signified history and value of the bent oak form. Arm anti-chair’s silhouette is a cartoon of the archetypal continuous sack back Windsor.
The project began as an investigation in to the constraints of wood bending, a process that is closely associated with the history of chair design.
“We structured our research around creating a beautifully finished object that pays heed to a classic bentwood chair, without posing it as a commercial product. Why shouldn’t research have a sense of humour?” says Clark Bardsley.
To create the chair Clark worked with a specialist wood bender in Auckland, New Zealand. The pared back simplicity of the design required meticulous jig making. Oak was cut in to strips, steamed and glue laminated into curved forms. These pieces were then machined in to rounds, and finished with a brush back sander. The finished parts were joined using rail bolts, then the legs were carefully cut in and glued in place.
Clark Bardsley Design is a design practice based in Auckland that creates playful process driven projects that emphasise material quality and expression.
All photos: courtesy of Clark Bardsley Design.