As it stands, you can do just about anything with this Arm Chair except actually sit in it, at least until you add your own chair, stool or other form of seating to the mix.
Part artist statement, part conceptual and part physical framework, this absurdist anti-chair by Clark Bardsley is also a cunning and well-crafted exercise in traditional wood bending and shaping techniques.
The steam bent, brush back sanded and oiled American Oak object represents an impressive execution of a notoriously difficult process made all the more complex without a seat and back to tie the piece together, adding tension to the overall structure.
The Auckland-based designer focused on materials and methods in this work, definitely form over function. Yet while he may have failed to include that essential ingredient, which most would associate with chair-ness, the void he left also lets users fill empty space with other sorts of seats.
Office chairs on casters, plastic bucket chairs, metal stools … pretty much anything can be slotted into place as desired. At the same time, the wood frame gives the piece a recognizable outline and sense of comfortable familiarity.
As the artist puts it, “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 humor?”
In a world where it seems like every type of chair possible has been designed (if not built), perhaps it is indeed time to make one simply with the goal of getting a good laugh.