On Friday, January 18th there was an advance showing of the New & Old Chairs Exhibition in the Horst Dürrschmidt Gallery, Ferit Sahenk Arts Center. The chairs exhitbition will also be on display during the Winter Photography Show in the Palmer Center on January 26 - 27.
The chair is a classic design exercise, a necessary ‘problem’ for architects to ‘solve’ as they become acquainted with solid and void, fullness and vacancy, and the sculptural beauty of forms. Furniture is architecture on a small scale. Nowhere else is Vitruvius’s definition of “firmness, commodity and delight” more deeply and immediately felt than in the chair, and no other object is as unforgiving in the rigor of the demands it places on its designer.
The yearly trip to the Vitra Design Museum provides students with imaginative examples of the judicious employment of materials, the analysis of essential forms, and the careful consideration of ergonomics: all key design concepts. While students have sometimes had chairs produced at full size by local manufacturers, usually the process consists of their producing a 1-to-5 scale model in the material of their choice in the studio. In this they are also greatly stimulated by the Vitra miniatures collectibles they see on display at the Vitrahaus. The emphasis is on truth to materials and to task, structural honesty, elemental forms, and visual beauty-- furniture “for the eyes” as well as for practicality. The mix of playful enjoyment and purposeful work make this a natural project for young artists. (Submitted by Mark Aeschliman, Architecture & Drawing)