Chair of Virtue presents experimental seating at London Design Festival

Chair of Virtue

Digitally shrink-wrapped skin, armrests salvaged from parks and “frozen” resin featured in Prototype/In Process, an exhibition of seating presented by virtual magazine Chair of Virtue during London Design Festival.

Displayed under a railway arch at Borough Yards, Prototype/In Process was made up of 1:1 scale prototypes of chairs, as well as chairs that are still works in progress, by 12 London-based designers who are either established or emerging in their field.

Aluminium chair by Sara Afonso Sternberg
Prototype/In Process features a chair by Sara Afonso Sternberg

Sara Afonso Sternberg presented sculptural aluminium seating made of armrests salvaged from the middle of public benches in Camberwell. The armrests were originally created to make it difficult for homeless people to sleep or rest on the benches.

“These objects are given a new form and use, inviting the public to critically engage with control mechanisms such as hostile architecture that permeate the urban landscape,” said Afonso Sternberg.

"Frozen" resin seating in Chair of Virtue exhibition
Jesse Butterfield created a “frozen” resin piece

Another piece on display was by Jesse Butterfield. The designer used vacuum infusion, draping and papier-mâché to create a chair covered in resin that was intended to appear “frozen”.

Various methods of production were showcasedthroughout the show. Daniel Widrig used 3D printing to digitally shrink-wrap a rectangular chair with polylactic acid, a starch-based bioplastic.

3D-printed chair by Daniel Widrig
Daniel Widrig used 3D printing for his piece

The result is a grey-hued chair with an undulating form, which mirrors the shared style of previous blobby stools created by the designer.

“Its contours mimic the gentle curves and natural irregularities of body tissue, forming intricate folds and wrinkles,” explained Widrig.

Thomas Wheller also used aluminium by folding a single piece of the material to create his chair, while Louis Gibson experimented with “regular” construction stock materials by creating casts from disused pipes.

“I was interested in imagining how these parts could be used unconventionally,” said the designer.

Folded aluminium chair by Thomas Wheller
Thomas Wheller also worked with aluminium

“With such large volumes, I was curious to create casts, and then evaluate the internal forms in a new light, and finally address the problem of reassembly,” added Gibson.

“I chose plaster for the purpose of quick setting, I also felt it was in keeping with the world of builders’ merchants stock supplies.”

Chair by Louis Gibson
Louis Gibson experimented with salvaged construction materials

While the exhibition concluded at the end of London Design Festival (LDF), Chair of Virtue is an ongoing project curated by Adam Maryniak.

Prototype/In Process was on display on Dirty Lane as part of the annual festival’s Bankside Design District.

Furniture created from the remains of a single car and a modular display system by Zaha Hadid Design were among the many other projects featured during LDF.

The photography is courtesy of Chair of Virtue

Prototype/In Process was on show as part of London Design Festival 2023 from 16 to 24 September 2023. See our London Design Festival 2023 guide on Dezeen Events Guide for information about the many other exhibitions, installations and talks that took place throughout the week.

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