When Fritz Hansen invited 7 internationally well-known architects to interpret the Series 7™ into new contexts, there were few rules attached. The architects accepted the invitation and for the remains of the year the results will be exhibited all around the world – from London to Tokyo. By the end of the project the chairs will be sold on auction for support of Unicef’s work.
7 architects and 7 contexts
Jean Nouvel, BIG, Zaha Hadid, Snøhetta, Carlos Ott Architects in association with Carlos Ponce de León, Jun Igarashi Architects and Neri & Hu. Each of them were asked to decide upon a context and design a version of the Series 7™ for that particular place. Legs have been changed, material and surface of the shell have been redesigned. The function varies from a seat in nature to a tête-à-tête double faced chair – all revealing completely new ways of adapting the iconic design into new contexts.
The Seven versions of the Series 7™ chair
Seven international architects have made their interpretation of the iconic Series 7™ chair designed by Arne Jacobsen.
Carlos Ott Architects in association with Carlos Ponce de Léon Architects
Celebra, a flagship building of the technological campus Zonamerica was the context for the design. “We decided to merge the chair and the building seamlessly with the restaurant. The chairs should be intervened the same way the vertical garden grows organically up the wall in the open-roof basement: The upholstery climbs and settles peacefully on the shell of the chair. The curved lines which compose the foundation of the different areas in the garden are mimicked and adapted to the anatomy of the chair”.
Jun Igarashi Architects
Context: When buildings collapse during earthquakes the building materials are wasted. The idea is to collect the waste wood, introduce a colour and process it into boards that can be used for furniture.
Design: “In our work we have chosen the context of the wooden houses “house M” and “rectangle of light”. The unique qualities of the spaces are created by the sophisticated work with light and shadow forming a very quiet space. The quietness leaves room for the strong history of the making of the chair”.
Neri&Hu Design & Research Office
The Waterhouse from 1930s in Shanghai was the context for this design. The idea of a replica, a re-edition hinges on the duality between the original and the re-design, such as it is also seen in the renovation of The Waterhouse. Our take on this project is to embrace this exact idea of duality and create an actual “double”. The doubling of two original seats facing each other becomes the new version: The singular chair multiplied as the individual becomes a community. Reminding us that we are never alone, but always together.
“Rauland Mountain Church is placed on a slope on a balance point. The chair and the church have similar qualities. We envisioned that the chair would be fixed to its legs inside, and with the church being located on a ski slope you could click off the shell and bring it onto the slopes for an outdoor service. Since we set the chair free, we felt that the chair could be used for a large number of our projects. We try to maintain a good link to the outdoors through out our work and that’s why a outdoor chair is perfect for our projects”.
In this short movie Snøhetta explains how they worked with the design and chose to explore the shell by removing everything else.
This special edition formalises the Series 7™ chair as a dynamic and seamless expression of structure and support. Formed from two continuous steel rods, the sculptural base sweeps down to the ground and reaches up to embrace the undulating shape of the iconic plywood seat.
Bjarke Ingels Group
The inspiration for the design is the materiality of the chair. The essence of the layered veneer and the functionality of the stacking. The final result is a subtle repetition of the iconic form language.
Jean Nouvel Design
The design is an example of Jean Nouvel’s design signatures – contrasting colours and juxtapositions. Black and white mark each chair – although they still play together in a feminine and masculine flow. Creating a reinforcement of the curves of the front and of the back of the shell.
Why re-invent the Series 7™?
To Fritz Hansen timeless design is all about presence. Arne Jacobsen designed the Series 7™ in 1955 and very unlike his other designs he didn´t design the chair for one specific purpose like he designed the Ant™ for the canteen of Novo Nordisk in Denmark or the Oxford™ chair to St Catherine’s College in Oxford.
Today the Series 7 stands out as particularly capable of adapting into still new situations and contexts. “But if we fall asleep on top of our heritage design become museum-items. And if that happens it no longer adds new value to the present time”, CEO Jacob Holm recently expressed. Curiosity and willingness to challenge form and function is what it takes to turn high quality into very strong design.
Next steps in the project
For the remains of the year the chairs will be exhibited all around the world, with a preview in London and Copenhagen and with a world premiere in Belgium. Two copies of each chair will be sold on an auction at the end of the year. The auction and the exhibition program will be announced in this newsletter and in the press during the coming year.