by Zeynep Rekkali JensenJul 22, 2023
Yesterday I called up my mentor, who is a Delhi-based architect, and asked, "why do architects like to design chairs?" He laughed and said, "Because all masters have done it - Corbusier, Charles & Ray Eames, and Eero Saarinen, you name them." "But to give you a rational explanation," he added, "chairs test your mettle. In design, the smaller you go, the more complex it gets. It tests your knowledge of craftsmanship – it’s like a mini test for an architect.” One thing that he said, which particularly caught my attention was, how designing chairs is about exposing oneself to a 'no context' zone. A chair is location agnostic - it can be used in a desert or an island, unlike buildings that are embedded in a specific landscape. And then comes establishing comfort, which is the toughest of all aspects.
Speaking of chairs and its fetish with architects, at the Danish museum Copenhagen Contemporary, local design studio TABLEAU brought 25 artists, designers and architects to design unique chairs using wood offcuts for the 150 sqm new cafeteria, Connie-Connie. The interiors designed by TABLEAU's Creative Director, Julius Værnes Iversen, and designer Katrine Morel explored how a singular material and a direction involving multiple creatives could dictate the spatial design of a project. The leftover wood for the chairs, provided by Danish wood company Dinesen, was procured from their plank production facility - a space which also gave the architects the clue to deciding the colour palette of the interiors. “We chose to colour all floors and walls in a monotone green – a colour we found on the packaging of the Dinesen wood planks when visiting the production site in the South of Denmark together with the artists,” says Josephine Jein, Communications and E-Commerce Manager at TABLEAU.
Home to the adaptive reuse of a former welding company, Copenhagen Contemporary is one of Scandinavia’s largest exhibition venues showcasing installation art by contemporary and emerging artists inside its renovated 7000 sqm industrial halls. For the design of Connie-Connie, TABLEAU was inspired by the modern approach of the museum in everything that it does. Driven to tap into that energy, the studio created a “universe” where art, design, set design and spatial design become one entity. The studio collaborated with Australian designer Ari Prasetya, who sculpted the green bar, a long desk by the window, a dining table, and three chairs which are part of the furniture collection. TABLEAU, besides deciding the overall theme and design of the café, also crafted large stacked tables around which the different chairs were organised within the space.
"The overall theme we would say is craftsmanship. So many different people showed their own take on the assignment, and it’s incredible how you actually recognise the different artist/designers/architects in their work, if you know them already,” Josephine tells STIR. “We really wanted to showcase how furniture can become functional pieces of art.”
Within the furniture collection, as per TABLEAU, you will meet a remake of the renowned LC2 chair, coloured foam, “children” chairs with drawings and metal pieces looking like gum, and pieces where special laser techniques have been used to create patterns in the beautiful wood offcuts.
Here are a few pieces from Connie-Connie that caught our eye.
The furniture collection at Connie-Connie is up for sale both as independent units and reproductions, via TABLEAU.