Magnificent 7: global starchitects reimagine Fritz Hansen's iconic chair
The Danish furniture brand has enlisted the famous names to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Arne Jacobsen's modernist chair, with each starchitect giving the timeless classic a contemporary twist: Zaha Hadid channelled her fluid, undulating forms to create a sculptural base, using two continuous steel rods bent into three legs; Bjarke Ingels' firm BIG replaced the metal legs with a vertical stack of layered seats, gradually flattening towards the base; while Oslo practice Snøhetta have removed the chair legs entirely, making it a social tool 'at one with nature'. Other famous names to take on the challenge include Carlos Ott and Carlos Ponce de León, Jun Igarashi and Neri & Hu.
Exploring the theme of duality by pure happenstance, Jean Nouvel and Neri & Hu have both connected two chairs for their curious interpretations of the 1955 plywood seat. Nouvel's yin and yang seats are decorated with the ancient Chinese symbol, while Neri & Hu's linked chairs are connected by an S-shaped arm rest and supporting table.
For a splash of colour, Uruguayan architects Carlos Ott and Carlos Ponce de León took inspiration from their Celebra office block project in Montevideo, which featured a 250 sq m vertical garden. Their camouflaged chair is upholstered in multiple shades of green, mimicking and adapting to the verdant background.
Focusing on build basics instead of a design variation, Japanese architecture studio Jun Igarashi have looked to wasted materials from earthquake disasters – specifically, 'oriented strand board', a type of chipboard made of compressed wooden flakes, with legs and edges highlighted in the rose hue that flecks the seat.
The interpretations were first presented during Clerkenwell Design Week earlier this year, but are due to be officially unveiled during London Design Festival come September. If nothing else, they further cement the iconic status of Jacobsen's original design. As Sofie Lindahl-Jessen, Fritz Hansen's executive vice president sales and brand manager, says, ‘it is only a very strong design that you can reinterpret and still develop unique designs from’.