The history of furniture design is famously also a history of experimentation, re-configuring, re-thinking and often of designers changing materials in the course of product development.
Charles and Ray Eames’ plastic chair family famously began life as a steel chair family, Harry Thaler’s aluminium Pressed Chair for Moormann began life as a wooden chair, and in contrast the first USM Haller units were wood, before the switch to steel. And so the fact that Budapest based designer András Kerékgyártó has transformed a moulded plywood chair into a moulded Krion chair is perhaps a good omen.
Following the completion of his studies at the Moholy‑Nagy University of Art and Design in Budapest András Kerékgyártó undertook an MA at the Alvar Aalto University in Helsinki; in his own words “to deepen my knowledge” through immersing oneself in an other furniture design culture and another understanding of material and processes. Following his graduation from the Aalto University in 2013 András established his own studio in Budapest where, in addition to contract jobs and collaborations with colleagues, he also develops his own projects. Such as the Biela chair.
The production of large moulded plywood chairs traditionally involves combining elements created in differently shaped moulds; one large mould simply not being possible. For his Biela project András Kerékgyártó developed a two-part moulded plywood chair combining two elements produced from identical mould forms. A two piece, one mould plywood chair, as it were. Interesting as the form of the Biela chair with its slightly abstract, quadratic saddle optic unquestionably is, just as interesting is the process András developed and the fact that through the repeated use of just one mould form, larger, more complex moulded plywood chairs can be produced more economically. Thus not only reducing costs but also making moulded plywood furniture production attractive for those who previously could not afford the investment.
András Kerékgyártó premièred Biela at Salone Satellite 2014 in Milan. We missed it. Lots of others didn’t, several wrote about it and so Budapest based Nezozen Kft heard about it.
As we noted in our report from madeinhungary 2014 the bitter irony of the current state of affairs in Hungary being that a Budapest based designer had to travel to Milan to attract the attention of a Budapest based company.
Established in 2011 Nezozen specialise in custom CNC cutting and general custom carpentry work. And processing Krion. And are, according to András, a company who don’t adhere to traditional Hungarian norms and are prepared to think outside the box. Take a few chances. Such as experimenting to see if a moulded plywood chair also works in Krion.
Looking for all the world like stone, Krion is a trademark protected product developed in Spain, is composed of two thirds aluminium trihydride and one third high resistance and is, according to the manufacturers, 100% recyclable, reusable and reprocessable.
And although Krion may look like stone, it is pliable. Mouldable. Just like plywood. And thus more useful than stone.
In addition it is antimicrobial, UV resistant, fireproof and extremely resistant to stains making it, theoretically at least, we freely admit to having little experience of the material, perfect for furniture. Especially furniture for outdoors, balconies, public buildings, doctor’s waiting rooms, the like.
Until now however Krion has largely been used for sanitary solutions, so wash-hand basins, but also interior architecture features, receptions, bars, the like. And to be brutally honest, and based solely on the PR photos we’ve seen, not always in the most inspired, or attractive, fashion.
The Biela Krion Chair, as we’re calling it, is made in exactly the same way as the Biela Plywood Chair: from two parts created from the same mould form. Its slightly abstract, quadratic saddle optic however is given a certain permanency thanks to its, apparent, stone-based construction. Yes it lacks the inherent warmth and easy domestic accessibility of a moulded plywood chair. However as an outdoor chair such is of no concern. Similarly in a public building. While with its clear lines and uncompromising geometry it effortlessly compliments any classically reduced, minimal interior. Or at least should. We’ve only seen in the sanitised environs of madeinhungary.
András and Nezozen are still in the development phase, the examples presented at madeinhungary were finished just days, if not hours, before the show opened. However in the object we see a lot of potential.
More information on András Kerékgyártó and his other projects can be found at: http://andraskerekgyarto.wordpress.com/
And more information on the Biela Krion Chair as we get it.