This project comes off the back of my ever-increasing intrigue with hydro forming, and is as much of a building process experiment as it is a design outcome. Hydroforming is a process where we createa watertight cavity, in this case two sheets of steel welded together, into which we pump water, asimple household water blaster works perfectly. Water has tremendous compressive strength and the water blaster seems to have a one way valve which allows us to inflate the steel like a balloon ora cushion. The process appeals to me as it allows steel to embody some more fabric like qualities. There are notions of hard and soft that I have been exploring in my work for quite a few years now.

Material experimentation is one of my obsessions, and the way I go about furniture is very instinctive I seldomly ever draw anything more than a thumbnail which is funny for an architect. I like to make my projects interesting and beautiful in their outcome and their building techniques. Much like architecture I find furniture is really beautiful when form is tied to structure rather than a structure that is clad over, I feel its more honest and holds more true beauty.

I think furniture and architecture can often get involved with this sliding scale between object and function, it’s a tricky dance. I think this is why I need to be so involved with the process so you can tweak back and forth. The dining set for instance, I felt the chairs needed to speak the same language as the table. I think I got the inflation of these seat bases just right on the fourth try.

The first chair prototype I couldn’t bring myself to installing a back rest as it detracted from the hydroformed seat bases, they would just disappear. Especially on the cushion chairs which were an experiment out of the first few discarded hydroformed seat bases. I was so convinced by these I had to make an extra two chairs. I’ve recently noticed so much of my work in the last 4-5 years has been developing upon this idea of hard and soft and of making hard materials look soft. This is getting iterated more and more in my workshop currently. Any way they are definitely not the most comfortable chairs in the world but I was really surprised to find a convex shape or a lumpy rolling shape seemed more comfortable than a dead flat surface. You’d better be the judge for your self.
Project Info
Completion: 2022
Photos: Nicholas Shackleton
Fabrication: Gerard Dombroski