top of page



Arts on Chairs, Paredes, Portugal.

Year: 2012

Realized by VIRIATO Hotel Contrat


Exibition: Triennale Design Museum (April 2014, February 2015) by Silvana Annicchiarico and Beppe Finessi.

The recipient of this project is Manuel de Oliveira, who asked me for "a chair he can think in". A chair to think in is a chair that must allow for a not-so-erecte as well as an inclined body position, so that entire back as well as the head can be supportede, both of which have to be fully supported on the back of the chair, in a resting position so as to think better. This body support comprises a foot rest, and, in this positions the arms must be able to achieve a support that is different from that of the back position when erect.

The theme of the wooden chair with different inclined positions has some important history behind it : the "Sitzmachine" by Josef Hofmann, dated 1905 manufactured by Jacob and Josef Khon, and the "La Siesta Medizinal" by Hans and Wassily Luchardt, dated 1938, manufactured by Thonet AG. While the former allows for manual reclining adjustment of the back to different positions, the latter is a lounger with different reclining position produced by body moviments. The Timeless chair, as well, while remaining a chair, . . . wants to provide Manuel de Oliveria with gradual back support, always supported, in different positions, by two enphatic armrests to help him up and which become supports for the elbows. the back of the chair yield under the body weight because it is made of birch plywood, manufactured in Finland, normally used in model aircraft flying, a sophisticated wood providing as much flexibility and elasticitas tensile strength, even with a smaller thikness (in this case, 5 mm). The defomity of the back of the chair is accompanied by a lever fixed with a hinge on the back edge of the chair, which helps adjust the inclination of the back by changing the inclination of the seat, achieved by changing the body support. the lever makes sure the ideal seat/back angle is achived.

The chair's text is figurative, very articulated and complex, as are all texts, stories caracters and settings in films by Manuel de Oliveira, and the same attempt is made by my equipment, products that are unveiled and discovered, through their use. Here as in other projects , inanimate but natural materials, in this case : wood, linen, sisal or straw, leather, aluminium are molded, while achieving sensual, plastic shapes capable of receiving an animate body, and thus, complex combinations of this part, revealing pleasure of its use. The dialog between the body's shape and that of the qequipment also becomes the main reason d'être of this project. The armests for exemple are made of hardwood form portuguese pine, as this project seeks to value local materials, from the area of Paredes. They are exavated and molded as a function of the arms' differents support positions, by changing the positions of the back. The head rest is almost a flower with leather petals, where a thinking mind can gently rest. A raw linen cloth is to be includede between the birch plywood and the body of the person sitting down : this cloth serves as a damper between the hardness of the wood and the smothness of the body, which can eliminate the risk of the perspiration, due to the lines propriety. Just like wood , aluminium recyclable and thus, modern and contemporary materials. I have studied woodwn/alluminum connectinig joints made of hardwood (false acacia) and glue, as an alternative to those normally used, which are made of embossed rigid plastic or of pressure die-cast aluminum. The joints are intentionally visible in the chair's design (the joint is usually hidden within the materials that are joined together ), both to show today's nssd to also lend substance to the disassembling of its parts, and to foster the modernity of this wood/alumium combination which greatly  enriches the wood's possible new applications.

The hardwood of the armrests is finished with polished surfces, not with polyester, but

rather, with wax , on the parts that come in contact with the body, and the surfaces not in contact with the body, are sawn and sanded but left raw, to show the figurative richness, of this material and the fascination of what is left unfinished, which becomes colored trough use over time, a quality occurring solely in nation materials . This chair is not a product but an exercise in design: The design of experimental equipment projected for a single use of choice, five of which are to be made.

It attempts to show how national materials ( and wood in particular ) are a versatile material to be rediscovered and enriched throug new reserch, while seeking to affirm that products need to be projected for the pleasure of living , and in this case of "thinking" .

Paolo Deganello 3 August 2012

bottom of page