Does the world really need another chair? This question perennially hangs over Salone del Mobile. But the super-lightweight Vela, debuted this year by Magis, made a compelling argument for chair design as a locus of experimentation in sustainability. Many a brand rep at the fair will implore you to pick up their latest feather-light feat of engineering. With the magnesium Vela, however, I was actually surprised at how effortlessly I could lift the piece with one hand.
Magnesium is extremely lightweight and strong. It is two thirds the weight of aluminum, but can be cast in thinner forms. And it’s more economical and recyclable than carbon fibre. The idea for Magis to explore its potential for furniture came from the top. The brand’s founder, Eugenio Perazza, approached Tel Aviv duo Gilli Kuchik and Ran Amitai with an exciting brief. “He requested that we find a new language for magnesium and made it clear that it had to be really extraordinary,” recalls Kuchik.
“We considered all of the important parameters – stacking, ergonomics, structure and weight – to find the minimum shape needed,” she adds. To achieve a super-slim profile that would not only remain self-supporting but bear weight as well, the chair needed all the right curves. Its resulting geometry – comprising a die-cast magnesium shell and extruded magnesium legs – and its infinite stacking capability emphasize both the material’s exceptional properties and the designers’ ambition to push them to the max.
“For example, the holes in the backrest allow for the chairs to stack but also reduce the amount of material used,” says Kuchik. “And the backrest’s two side strips allow us to use less material thickness and make the stacking more discreet.” The end product: a 2.5-kilogram wonder that will no doubt lead to future innovations.
Move over, carbon fibre: a new
chair designed by Tel Aviv duo Gilli Kuchik for Magis makes the most of featherweight magnesium.