Furniture trends come and go, but some designs simply last forever. The iconic Stingray chair from Fredericia Furniture is one of those designs. Designed by Thomas Pedersen in the early 2000s, it has just had a contemporary twist added to bring the design up to date.
The ex-president of the United States, Bill Clinton, has one and former secretary-general of the UN Kofi Annan has one too. The Stingray is a hugely popular chair. Photographers love it due to its voluminous expression, and over the years it has been featured in many shoots, for magazines to commercials and music videos.
Thomas Pedersen is the mastermind behind the iconic chair, which has been in Fredericia Furniture’s care for almost 15 years, and today is one of the most characteristic pieces in the company’s portfolio. But even classics need an upgrade every once in a while, and the Stingray was no different in this regard, and has just been recently relaunched with some new design details.
“We’ve been involved in a lot of projects to create renewal. Besides the new strategy to move the chair into a new segment, we’ve also designed a new cushion, which responds more to the shape of the chair, as well as a mobile headrest. All combined, these changes form a whole, instead of being individual pieces put together,” Thomas Pedersen describes.
The Original Idea
The original idea for the chair arose when Thomas Pedersen was considering what to design for his graduation project at Aarhus School of Architecture. He considered the classic rocking chair and pondered how he could rethink the design to incorporate a moveable piece with several seating options and, at the same time, how he could add a sense of weightlessness into it.
“At that time, old, wooden rocking chairs were the only type out there, and I wanted to rethink the concept – even though my supervisor wasn’t thrilled. I went for the idea of a moveable piece of furniture, where the shape was dictated by the function,” Thomas Pedersen tells and continues to explain why he decided to design a chair as his graduation project:
“To me, the organic idiom is important. It responds to the body and its movements, and for the same reason I found it interesting to design chairs, since they do exactly the same,” Thomas says.
And there’s no doubt that Thomas Pedersen tapped into something right with his graduation project.
“The Stingray chair received massive attention from day 1. It’s an eye catcher, and its unique visual character has made it an independent brand. The original chair though has maybe had its time, but with a few twists we have added, it now fits the present as well,” the designer explains.
A Famous Chair Reaching for New Markets
The success and recognition is brought about by the fact that the Stingray chair appeals to a diverse audience, both when it comes to age and when talking about geographics. But there’s still a lot of export markets to discover. And for this, Fredericia Furniture has taken a close look at the map to find just the perfect places for launching the Stingray.
“Stingray has great potential in the Nordic and European markets for modern residential uses as well as in Asia, where it has proved its popularity as an outdoor lounge chair in exclusive hospitality projects,” says Kaja Møller, CEO at Fredericia Furniture.
And the new markets will now be able to get an up-to-date contemporary version of the iconic chair. Thomas Pedersen and Fredericia Furniture have pushed the buttons and tweaked some fine details, so the Stingray will appear razor-sharp at its relaunch. Besides the new neck cushions, the latest edition of the Stingray is available in two new colours: white and dark grey with a matt finish, as well as with an exclusive selection of frames to complete the contemporary design. To the designer, it’s important to stay in touch with the current trends but often better to make these small tweaks to already exciting designs instead of spitting out new collections every other month.
“My designs are made to last 20, 30 or maybe 40 years! Buttons can always be pushed to add minor modern twists, but overall I want to design long-lasting products, instead of ever-changing collections,” Thomas Pedersen ends.