A chair made of one single material, thought for collective spaces.
In 2014, the architect Josep Ferrando, in collaboration with Figueras International Seating initiated a project to create a chair for collective settings and more concretely for religious spaces. The project was presented at the exhibition called “In Progress Matter and Light” that the architect took to the XIV Biennale Architettura di Venecia.
The result is the Biennale chair, a modular and flexible unit executed in wood, a single material that is both warm and comfortable. Produced industrially, though based on arts and crafts processes, the seat combines experience and principles of energetic efficiency to generate a flexible and personalized system that answers not only to the specific demands of religious settings, but also to diverse collective settings.
A single material chair of fractal design.
Creating the piece constituted a challenge in itself, since wood was determined from outset to be the only material used in designing a unit that moves away from classic geometry and that contains no unions or junctions of other materials. Wood proceeding from sustainable forests was employed, concretely Flandes and Melis. The two different colours, textures and streaks combine to give dynamism and volume to the piece. The design responds to a fractal system, since its basic structure replicates at smaller scale.
For each piece, twenty 8 cm long and 2,5 cm thick wood strips are employed, cut at different heights and joined in angles that are multiples of 8°. The strips are combined using a zigzag finger joint, which the architect insists is the basic principle of the project, since it is the one reproduced when two wood varieties are joined together.
The 8 strip seat is joined to the 8 strip back using wood connectors, while the resulting piece is sustained by 2 legs each made of 2 wood strips. In a composition within the Biennale exhibit, the legs create a lattice similar to tree branches.
It is a return to the origins, to the profound understanding of the material with which one works in order to understand its characteristics and how its parts associate. It constitutes a metaphorical exercise of transitioning from the unit to the collective, a transition under the auspice of fractal geometry from single wood strips to the final lattice installation at the Biennale. In the words of Ferrando, “Proportion harmony speaks in a simultaneous manner of individuality and totality”
Architect: Josep Ferrando
Client: Figueras International Seating
Collaborators: Pau Borràs (Figueras Design Center) and Adrià Ruiz
Photographs: Francesc Arnó