How to interpret the Series 7 by Arne Jacobsen? For the iconic chair’s 60th anniversary, Fritz Hansen invited international architects to think about new renditions of it. One of the most striking ideas has come from Oslo-based architecture and design office Snøhetta. In this conversation, senior interior architect Marlene Fenger Vedal, architect Stian Alessandro Ekkernes Rossi, and graphic designer Sofie Platou from the practice’s multidisciplinary team, explain how their idea of a shell without legs came to be, and what added value is brought by this rocking version that also spins sideways.
DAMN°: Is the effect of iconic furniture pieces similar to that of architectural icons? MFV: Both are everlasting. Even if they are specifically of their era, they continue to stand strong over time. Good design is never out-dated, it is timeless.
DAMN°: How did you approach the project?Sofie Platou: Fritz Hansen delivered two raw shells of the chair to our office in Oslo. When we began our research, we played around with these. All of a sudden, we were sitting in the shell without its legs, rocking around on the floor. We were intrigued to see how it worked in this way, without legs.
SP: We also figured out how to attach straps so that the shell can be carried like a backpack and taken to the park or to the beach – moving your living room outdoors! Another option is that the shell can be attached to its legs for use indoors, and can be detached for carrying outside. The shell offers a very relaxing way of sitting, like a rocking chair that also spins sideways.
DAMN°: What about the matter of one’s balance when sitting in the shell? MFV: We have added a rubber element on the back, in the curved part. It gives the user balance and stops the shell at both of the angles, so that the person won’t fall over.
DAMN°: The landscape is an important consideration in many of Snøhetta’s architectural projects. Is that also the reason you thought about an outdoor possibility? MFV: Absolutely. We always try to integrate the landscape and the environment into our projects, so this was also a natural outcome of our interpreting the chair. We wanted to make it more playful and social, and to encourage people to use it both indoors and out in nature.