PD22 Winner

Category:Furniture - ChairsLocation:Gent, BelgiumDesigner:Jan Goderis, jan goderis design lab, Gent, BelgiumManufacturer:jan goderis design lab, Gent, Belgium

The starting point of the ‘Japan’ chair is the search for a basic sitting position on which the design is modelled. The most notable concept in this ‘Japan’ chair is the sophisticated play of proportions and its metal frame, which is combined with both wood and leather. Thanks to the contrast of metal and wood, the fully shaped design gets a contemporary twist. Because of this the design can be personalised and perfectly integrated into various interiors. The ‘Japan’ chair functions as a resting point; while at the same time it is meant to radiate an architectural monumentality.

Sustainability is a key element in my design process. That’s why I focus on comfort, functionality and qualitative materials, so that it is useful and relevant for multiple generations. And thus goes beyond the psychological lifespan, imposed by ‘fashion phenomena.’

It gets a ‘cultural lifespan (Enzo Manzini 1975)’ and becomes more beautiful with age, allows easy care, and is connected to its users which ensures my furniture can be viable for generations to come. The leather will acquire a patina and conform to the body, making the chair even more beautiful and comfortable. I am always looking for greener alternatives to ensure ecological responsibility for future production. The metal for example has been treated with an environmentally friendly lacquer process and the leather is tanned using the right kind of ecological wood rosin. The FSC-wood has been produced using a technology based on biologically degradable two-component oil.

Although the chair has a minimalist look, it is the product of extensive aesthetic and technical research. A great deal of effort was put into the design process to ensure the most comfortable reclining position. Besides the front wooden legs are milled hollow in one direction and the rear ones in two directions. While it is impossible to craft this manually, the use of innovative CNC machines makes such precise woodwork possible. The leather on the back of the chair is fixed with wooden pins, which keep the leather sturdily in place and it will get smoother over the years. I also experimented with different materials to stretch the leather on the seat.

My ultimate goal is to achieve maximum functionality with a minimum of materials, which is why I look for the innovative potential in traditional materials. I have delighted in making use of the latest techniques both in my design process and for the actual fabrication. A beautiful example of this is the research and development of new strategies that will take the Japan collection into greater production using new materials such as polyurethane skin for the back and seat.

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