The concept for the Newspaper Chair is born from a desire to help New Yorkers find release and escape from their fast paced lives. The question arose, “how can a chair influence the feelings and behaviors of these individuals, allowing them to find momentary release from their daily stress?” This question was addressed through visual form, comfort, and sustainable design practices.
Visual Form: The curves and folds of the chair’s overlapping surfaces are meant to replicate those of a folded newspaper, an iconic New York artifact symbolizing both leisure and communication. The association of the chair with the act of reading, and viewing, would condition the user to focus on the act of sitting and taking in his or her surroundings. Coupled with this, the Newspaper Chair is also designed to facilitate friendly conversation. The cupped shape helps the user feel nestled in place from the moment one sits down, and the leaf-like shape encourages easy stacking, transporting, locking, and storing.
Comfort: This chair is designed to offer a unique form of comfort, by providing diverse ways of sitting through careful consideration of surface angles, component positioning, and how these elements relate to the human body. The height of the seat makes it ideal for dining, while the 110° back angle make it great for lounging. The angled side surfaces cradle the body when sitting straight, or diagonally with ones’ legs over the side of the chair. Finally, the rounded edges give it a unique tactile quality when sitting, while also creating a comfortable handle for easy movement of the chair.
Sustainable Design Practices: Adhering to ‘Cradle to Cradle’ principals of sustainable design practices, the chair is designed for simple assembly, rugged durability, and easy recycling once the chair has outlived its intended use. Pure, uncoated materials such as aluminum for the legs, and polypropylene for the surfaces are both highly durable and do not degrade through successive recycling. The fasteners (only 12 in total) are used for assembly, and could be easily removed to isolate these materials for future recycling. Elements such as the back, arms, and legs are also individually replaceable to assure the continued long term use of undamaged parts of the chair.
Manufacturing: A fully plywood prototype has been produced using molding techniques (ie. vacuum forming), which has proven to be structurally stable, and exceptionally comfortable (see process book). For the mass production of a plastic version, the fabrication would be divided into three stages: 1) bending and welding the aluminium legs; 2) forming the plastic components; and 3) assembling the parts. Whether constructed by a single manufacturer or a collaboration of several based on nearby available skills and expertise, the Newspaper Chair can be easily and quickly manufactured using common forms of production.
The Newspaper Chair suits Battery Park’s unique needs, while linking one of New York City’s historic artifacts to a new iconic form. Through innovative design, The Newspaper Chair offers a simple, easy to construct (and care for) seat destined to excite visitors for many years to come.