20 May 2015 • Design
Biennale by Josep Ferrando for Figueras
The ceremonious act of sitting in a circle is an integral part of gathering rituals. From medieval round tables to pow wows, humans have been known to congregate in circular arrangements for as long as can be remembered. Intrigued by the habitual act and looking to better facilitate it – for religious spaces in particular – Catalan architect Josep Ferrando explored the creation a chair which fosters this type of arrangement without the awkward squared off edges and triangular voids, eliminating unnecessary distance between sitters. With a fractal structure to guide him, Ferrando conceived of the Biennale chair together with manufacturer Figueras International Seating. The pragmatic chair debuted alongside the architect's presentation at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice.
Twenty strips of sustainable wood from the forests of Flanders and Melis measuring 8cm wide by 2.5cm thick were seamlessly fused with finger joints. Composed of planks arranged at slight angles of 8 degrees, both the chair's back and seat present unique compositions thanks to the wood's variegated grains. Only two legs – made from two strips each – delicately support the weight of the back, seat and sitter. Director of Figueras Design Center Pau Borràs explains 'the chair, in the end, is supported by gravity itself.' When the chairs are arranged in a circle, their legs collectively resemble tree branches. By referencing a fractal design, 'the harmony of proportions expresses both individuality and the whole at the same time,' says Ferrando.