2017 AZ Awards Winner: Furniture Design

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It took more than 30 prototypes to get Pair Chair exactly right, but all that reiteration paid off, with a seat that could very well be a new classic.

Project
Pair Chair

Designer          
Benjamin Hubert, Layer, London, U.K. 

Manufacturer  
Republic of Fritz Hansen, Allerød, Denmark

When it comes to furniture, simple is rarely simple. With its clean lines and light-as-air profile, Pair Chair, by London designer Benjamin Hubert, projects an effortless clarity. And while its casual elegance will likely help it become a go-to choice for all types of interiors – from workspaces to cafés and patios – its simplicity belies the over three years and more than 30 prototypes it took to get Pair Chair exactly right.

“Pair Chair is very sculptural, and its multi-materiality offers a lot of customization. If the goal was to achieve a new classic, then this design is right on track.” – Theo Richardson

It’s the joining of materials that gives the chair its name and character. Atop one of three bases (sled, star, or four tubular metal legs), Pair combines a seat pan of oak plywood and a backrest of injection-moulded polycarbonate. The backrest takes the form of a slim shell in one of four colours; without arms, its contours plunge straight into the bent plywood seat, while with arms, it sweeps forward and curls gently over, like the edges of a scroll.

Things get interesting where the two parts meet: the plywood seat has two tabs near the back corners, which curve upward and fit snugly into two slots in the seat back. The polycarbonate, chosen for its durability and plasticity, is satin-finished, giving it the look of frosted glass – just translucent enough to let the wood grain of the oak-veneered seat show through. The resulting joint creates a transitional blend of materials that’s neither wholly natural nor wholly artificial. Instead, it conjures up the appealing look of a perfectly coordinated outfit.

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