I have a weak spot for furniture that you can manipulate or transform depending your desired use. Think of extendable tables, folding chairs or camping gear that needs to be small, light weight yet practical to the max. The ingenuity and movement that some contain! I've seen tables that make my engineering heart speed up, but that's for another time. With this post i'll stick to chairs :)
Folding chairs have been around for a long long time. Modern day ones seem to do well everywhere. In conference halls, schools, tiny apartments or studio's... anywhere were a flexible use of space and seating area are at a premium. Fortunately some designers think again and come up with, not only practical cos stowable, but also fresh looking idea's about what a folding chair could be.
Take Robert van Embricqs, a young Dutch designer that created the rising chair. It has won The Wood challenge 2011 and thats no surprise. It transforms from a flat board into a comfortable seat with movement and repetitive shadows. A feature that pleases me most. Pictures with courtesy of Robert van Embricqs.
I wanted to show it to you all as it is a good example of what i was looking for to make in miniature. It's unusual and modern. But not really a woodworkers challenge to build. So in my search for a playful design to scale down i decided on this Clip Chair, designed by two Germans, Blasius Osko and Oliver Deichman. You can probably see the comparison and it is modern, foldable, original and actually really comfortable. I sat in a life size one cos I was fortunate to be able take measurements at the Amsterdam Interior Design Company MOOOI.
I've made it a scale of 1:6 a few weeks ago to test out the construction and build. Because examining the real chair i foresaw a problem; it doesn't fully extends when opened. The design needs weight to expand to it's final shape and curve. I hoped with some tweaking i could obviate that issue. Since i've found out it is a characteristic of the design it keeps me from making another version in 1:12.
Still it was fun to build and a good looking piece. But that didn't detract from my wish to make a 1:12 folding chair. Researching them for the past few months or so a couple of classic designs kept returning. The most known is probably the X-chair, or better called the Savonarola chair, named after the Dominican monk Girolamo Savonarola. A classic that would fit in very well with the Tudor or Jacobean interior in some Dollhouses.
Originally from the Roman era it was taken on by woodworkers from the 15th Century on. Variations occurred during time (too many to elaborate about here, but you may want read more here) and in the Renaissance it had a period of revival. The Metropolitan Museum has 10 early examples of these chairs in their collection, and it is this type of chair that i'm building right now:
Thank you, miniature friends, for taking the time to read all the way down. It turned out to be a rather long story. Enjoy the weekend ahead!