During the Stockholm Furniture Fair in February 2016, six furniture design students from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, School of Design exhibited their take on chairs made for people, who leave a different imprint. Their brief was to design furniture for bodies that are outside the average size and societal norm.
The six bachelor students spent 12 weeks working with the project entitled ‘150+’. The vision was to create great furniture for a larger than average-sized human body – furniture that support different personalities. According to the designers, humans express who they are, and who they want to be through the objects they surround themselves with. In this way, objects take part in defining who we are as humans.
The project seeks to question why furniture do not come in different sizes, like clothing and shoes do. The designers wondered what a home would look like, if you were constantly limited in terms of what you can fit – and the option of choosing is non-existing. The students were therefore challenged to work with a new body, a body that looks different today and in the future because of the increase in weight in the Western world during the last decades.
To gain insight in the world of plus size people, the participants worked methodical, interviewing plus size people about how they use different furniture, after which the students designed their suggestion. To make the furniture stand out, when exhibiting the pieces, all the furniture are made from the same type of textile.
“I think it was an exciting assignment from the beginning. When I start my design process, I always ask myself the question: What is the purpose of this piece of furniture? In regards to ‘150+’ there were a lot of needs to be met, and it has been a very educational process trying to relate to a body that is far from your own, and then understand what that body needs. You constantly need to put your own frame of reference aside and work on the basis of another body’s conditions,” says Maya Gabrielle Steinholtz, who designed the chair Frame for the project.
The Frame chair’s woodwork builds a frame for the body, whilst two ribbons weave through the frame carrying the body, thus allowing the seat to move.
The other chair designs include Catch by Mie Kragh Axelsen, Asymmetry by María Alexandra Fabregat, Casually by Kia Lundorff, Adjust by Sebastian Blauenfeldt Kyster and Trust by Loui Emil Andersen.