How does Zaha Hadid, Hon. FAIA, rethink an Arne Jacobsen classic? What about Jean Nouvel, Hon. FAIA, Bjarke Ingels, and the team at Snøhetta? Fritz Hansen recently commissioned seven firms to put their own spin on the midcentury architect's iconic Series 7 Chair (shown above). Designed for the Danish furniture maker in 1955, the chair—also known as the "Sevener"—was not originally intended for a specific project or application. That openness to interpretation has since invited its use across residential and commercial spaces as seating in dining areas, meeting rooms, work spaces, and even as a design object.
A competition and subsequent exhibition, "7 Cool Architects" commemorates the 60th anniversary of the chair’s design and features prototypes from Bjarke Ingels Group, in Copenhagen and New York; Carlos Ott Architects with Ponce de León Architects in Uruguay; Jean Nouvel Design, in Paris; Jun Igarashi Architects, in Saroma and Sapporo, Japan; Neri & Hu, in Shanghai; Snøhetta, in Oslo and New York; and Zaha Hadid Design, in London. The designs will be exhibited at the Design Museum Gent, in Belgium, before continuing on a global tour.
Read more about the designs below.
Bjarke Ingels Group referenced the original Series 7 Chair's stackable form and veneer in its new design, which is characterized by 15 layered plies whose ends progressively curve to match the original seat.
This interpretation by Jean Nouvel Design is a study in contrast, with black and white finishes in a subtle yin-yang design used to define the individual chairs and their connection.
Carlos Ott Architects and Ponce de León Architects designed their version of the Series 7 Chair for use in the duo's recently completed Celebra office building in Montevideo, Uruguay, which features a 250-square-meter vertical garden whose pattern of growth is replicated in the chair's upholstery.
Locally salvaged wood from buildings destroyed in natural disasters was used for the seat of Jun Igarashi Architects' chair.
Snøhetta removed the original chair's legs in a playful attempt to make the its iconic wood form more versatile and structural.
Neri&Hu play on the theme of the competition—creating a replica or a double of an original design—in their chair, which joins two like but opposite-facing seats on a single frame.
Two continuous steel rods with curved forms that reference Jacobsen's design shape the frame of Zaha Hadid Design's iteration.