Why Snarkitecture’s Slip Chair matters

By designing a broken-looking seat, the Brooklyn practice created a chair that's playful yet functional
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Slip Chair, 2017, by Snarkitecture. As featured in Chair: 500 Designs that Matter
Slip Chair, 2017, by Snarkitecture. As featured in Chair: 500 Designs that Matter

Good design, contrary to Dieter Rams’ widely quoted rule, isn’t always “as little design as possible.” Sometimes an object can be more engaging and playful if its makers veer away from today’s modernist, minimalist dictums, to mess around with our expectations. Consider, for example, the Slip Chair, made by US art and design practice, Snarkitecture.

“Taking its name from Lewis Carroll’s poem, The Hunting of the Snark, Snarkitecture was founded in 2008 and comprises Brooklyn-based duo Alex Mustonen and Daniel Arsham, who together examine the boundaries between art and architecture,” explains the text in our new book, Chair: 500 Designs that Matter.

 

Snarkitecture partners Alex Mustonen, Daniel Arsham and Benjamin Porto, 2017. Photograph © Noah Kalina, courtesy of Snarkitecture
Snarkitecture partners Alex Mustonen, Daniel Arsham and Benjamin Porto, 2017. Photograph © Noah Kalina, courtesy of Snarkitecture

“One of their on-going themes is furniture that looks broken yet remains eminently functional, as shown by the Slip Chair, which was commissioned by Portugal-based UVA, an emerging design firm that aims to revive local craft skills through global design.

“Although its white ash frame appears to be sinking on two axes – to the rear and on one side – it’s an optical illusion: the chair remains stable. A tapered, black marble volume provides a stable sitting surface. Although ludic, each chair has been handcrafted, manually numbered and certified.”

It still works fine, exemplifies good craftsmanship, and fits into many contemporary interiors, yet by fooling around with our perceptions of popular, modern, well-made design, Snarkitecture’s Slip Chair awakens us all to the possibilities that some forms don’t necessarily follow function.

 

Chair: 500 Designs that Matter

For more on this chair and 499 others order a copy of Chair: 500 Designs that Matter; for more on Snarkitecture, order a copy of their forthcoming book here.

 


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