Gebrüder T 1819 has developed a wing back chair that incorporates modern materials and comfort. In an interview with Thomas Wagner from Stylepark this year, the design team FORMSTELLE speaks about the design process of creating a comfortable space for the body.
Jörg Kürschner: We were asked to think about a lounge chair that would be both comfortable and also set a clear mark.
Since we were supposed to focus on a wing armchair, which was something we hadn’t done before, as opposed to a lounge chair, which we had, the topic was more or less new ground for us. Moreover, it was a real challenge to be able to work for a company such as Thonet. New company, new topic, what more could one want...
Claudia Kleine: A wing armchair is such an exciting topic because it is a type of furniture that takes up so much space. We therefore also closely concerned ourselves with the motivation and the context. How much does a person need to immerse herself, to feel at home, and yet to still remain open to what is going on around her? Does she want a wing armchair in order to be man alone and yet be able to take note of what is going on around her? Does she want a certain degree of comfort? If so, what sort of comfort? – Or: What is the function of a skin in architecture? What does skin mean in the items of clothing I wear? What protects me? What gives me the feeling I am protected? A collar perhaps? You see, we really went into the topic in great depth.
Claudia Kleine: We built models, cut out sets of cardboard, held them up, and closely examined the different postures. Where do I want to rest my head? What do I do with my hands? Am I comfortable sitting cross-legged? – We built models for all of this, using foam, cardboard, and tape, adding bits, removing bits.
Jörg Kürschner: Once the initial ideas and sketches had spawned specific underlying conceptual motifs, more or less everything got decided using life-size scale models, and that even included a model with an improvised mechanism. We simply wanted to try out the different stages. And we also had people of different weights sit down on it. Meaning the shape and features were not the product of a drawing, but defined by ergonomic and empirical processes we undertook.
Claudia Kleine: That happened when we resolved that it should be possible to adjust the tilt angle.
Jörg Kürschner: There was also a point where we experimented with a rocker mechanism. But that wasn’t good enough. We wanted to go for the max.
Claudia Kleine: A lot has to do with the postures we mentioned: Where is the head, the hands, where am I in contact with the backrest, where is the furniture, where exactly is the point of contact?
Claudia Kleine: Yes, whereby the need for places to retreat to has risen in particular in the contract world, more than in private homes. People want more home comforts in public zones. Which is something a piece of furniture such as a lounge chair embodies.
Jörg Kürschner: It is simply pleasant to be able to swiftly immerse yourself in your own sphere, to have a place that is both open and closed.
Claudia Kleine: Humans first lived in caves, and probably that is why they want a wraparound skin that can be perceived as such.
Jörg Kürschner: If I’m lounging in such an armchair I precisely don’t need all the media to immerse myself in my world and simply contemplate things.
Claudia Kleine: We are both shaped far less by things digital and more by those analog.