“How do we stay within the constraints of lightness?” This was the big question that came out of the 2018 edition of Danish manufacturer +Halle’s annual briefing, which brought designers and makers together to brainstorm new product ideas. While the event successfully identified a key gap in the contract market — a lack of minimalist offerings in privacy seating — the hard part came next: figuring out how to pare back a bulky design without impacting its core functionality.
To envision a more streamlined take on seclusion, +Halle enlisted Swedish studio Form Us With Love, which had been part of the briefing session and had achieved past success developing airy silhouettes for Ikea and Keilhauer. The designers began with a clear reference point: the blinker hoods worn by racehorses, which keep the animal’s eyes fixed on the road ahead. “It became an investigation of the minimum needed for full focus,” says John Löfgren, Form Us With Love’s co-founder and creative director. By imitating the straps that secure these hoods in place, Löfgren’s team developed a lightweight metal frame.
From there, the studio explored ways to build a privacy screen using the least material possible — in this case, a folded sheet of thin aluminum. After finding an angle of curvature that allows someone to feel cocooned but doesn’t place any restrictions on their seating positions, they upholstered the metal in 20-millimetre-thick fluted felt to introduce some softness.
In the finished product, the Opus High Back chair, this privacy panel is a perfect concentration-booster. “We live in environments of constant distraction,” says +Halle creative director Martin Halle. “We were looking for the greatest possible contrast to being bombarded with stimuli.”
Thanks to the chair’s open base and friendly identity, it also never feels at odds with the environment around it — no matter whether that’s a busy corporate office or a bustling hotel. Staying well within the established constraints, it’s a chair that’s light on its feet but still substantial enough to help carve out some alone time.
With their Opus High Back chair, +Halle and Form Us With Love take personal space back to basics.