7 Clamshell Chair That Had Gone Way Too Far | Clamshell Chair

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Furniture architecture challenge winner’s affected armchair folds into a accurate little boxObject Lesson

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May 22, 2005|By Linell Smith | Linell Smith,Sun Staff

The 20th aeon gave us the Potato Chip Chair, the Ant Armchair — and the appointment head that architecture academic Ellen Lupton calls “the Dot-Com Chair.”

Now there’s additionally “Laptop Seat,” an award-winning, por-table chair, beginning from the academician of 22-year-old Nathaniel Jones of Iowa City, Iowa.

A chief in civilian engineering at the Johns Hopkins University, Jones entered a bounded chair-designing antagonism this bounce while demography an automated architecture beforehand at the Maryland Institute College of Art.

The contest, sponsored by David Edward, a Baltimore appliance architecture and accomplishment company, was accessible to all MICA students. The aboriginal of its affectionate in Maryland, it offered a aboriginal award-winning of $600 and, alike better, a professionally congenital ancestor of the acceptable design.

Jones got busy. The chief absitively he would actualize a armchair that would be accessible on the eyes, accessible to backpack and serve several functions.

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“Part of actuality accomplished as an artist agency that it’s not abundant to architecture article that looks pretty, it additionally has to do something,” he says.

Designed for elegance

Instead of belief abundant armchair designs of the past, Jones begin afflatus in his absolute surroundings. His aboriginal abstraction was a hinge bench aggressive by the Luxo lamp on his desk. Aback that accepted impractical, he developed his angle of a laptop chair.

“The clamshell adjustment of the bench and seatback is evocative of a laptop and the white and gray blush arrangement emulates an Apple computer with a bare screen,” he writes in the product’s description. “In a cat-and-mouse allowance environment, the armchair may additionally be larboard in its half-folded agreement to serve as a table. The armchair folds into a box about the admeasurement and appearance of a briefcase, authoritative it accessible aback amplitude is at a premium.”

Made from plywood, advised for “elegance in both accessible and bankrupt configurations,” the folding armchair will admeasurement almost 36 inches tall, 22 inches advanced and 22 inches deep. Jones nixed any adorning touches that didn’t beforehand the chair’s anatomy or comfort.

“It’s absolutely aloof two hinges that accomplish this armchair work,” he says. “At aboriginal I anticipation I was activity to do article added complicated, but I concluded by affection this akin of simplicity.”

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So did the judges, a console of architects and designers accumulated by David Edward to analysis the almost 20 entries.

“It was absolute able-bodied anticipation out graphically and had a lot of absorbing qualities and applications,” said Ehren Gaag, an artist and appliance artist at the Gensler architecture firm. “You could use it as a stool or a little table or absolute chair. … It could be calmly mass-produced.”

Runner-up banknote awards of $400 and $250 went to Susannah Munson’s “Arch Chair,” aggressive by an angled bridge, and Jeffrey Buan’s “Ilene,” a architecture aggressive by Frank Lloyd Wright’s house, Fallingwater. Munson and Buan are ecology architecture acceptance at MICA.

In the ‘camp tradition’

All three acceptance advised with Phil Campbell, a artist and artisan who builds prototypes for David Edward. His beforehand was the aboriginal in automated architecture offered afresh at MICA. Now he will accept the account of architecture the world’s aboriginal Laptop chair, a assignment he abstracts should booty about 30 hours.

“It’s an absorbing band-aid to an affordable chair,” he says. “What I absolutely like is that the anatomy of the armchair absolutely matches its function. … It’s not beat by any means, but it’s a acceptable design.”

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It fits into the “camp tradition” of carriageable appliance advised for 19th-century aggressive campaigns, says Ellen Lupton, administrator of the clear architecture MFA affairs at MICA and babysitter of abreast architecture at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Architecture Museum in New York.

“In the 20th aeon there’s a lot of absorption in stacking chairs and folding chairs — you can accomplish your appliance go abroad and arise aback back you accept crowds of people,” she says.

Utility is a huge agency in armchair design, she says, pointing to the ergonomics-driven Aeron appointment armchair of the backward 1990s.

For advance artful innovation, Lupton mentions the molded plywood “Potato Chip” and “Ant” chairs by Charles and Ray Eames and Arne Jacobsen; Vitra’s Panton chair, a “swoopy-shaped article fabricated out of a distinct allotment of plastic”; and Eero Saarinen’s hinge bench as chairs that afflicted “how we anticipate of the chair, as article that’s not aloof a bench and four legs.”

Current affairs alarm for “Laptop Seat” to be displayed at MICA. Its creator, meanwhile, will arise in alum academy at Cornell University’s Academy of Architecture this fall.

“My big absorption was how you could you accomplish a armchair that was nice aesthetically but serve its purpose of folding up into a box,” Jones says. “I assumption that aforementioned array of artful ideal, accumulated with the affair of practicality, will consistently acquisition a abode in my work.”

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