This is the parabola chair which was designed by Carlo Aiello. It was the winner of the 2013 International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) award. The metal rod construction of the parabola chair is reminiscent of the Eames DKR chair or Harry Bertoia’s classic diamond chair although has a much more dramatic parabolic shape.
What might look like quite an angular chair is actually very comfortable as the areas that are in contact with the sitting body are very smoothly contoured. The chair might appear symmetrical at first glance but the shape has actually been subtly altered to make it more ergonomic. Our bodies aren’t particularly suited to conform to basic geometric shapes after all. Remarkably the seemingly curved seat surface is made only of straight metal rods which makes production much easier.
This is because the shape of the chair is based on a double hyperbolic paraboloid (otherwise known as a Pringle) which is similar to this sketch often found at the back of maths exercise books at school. This shape might look curved or even 3D but what appear to be curved lines are in fact made up by lots of straight lines that are created by joining the points (0,5) to (1,0), (0,4) to (2,0), (0,3) to (3,0) and so on.
However one possible design fault I’ve observed is that if one’s mobile phone or wallet were to slip out of one’s pocket while sitting, as often happens, it would most likely fall down the length of the tube requiring you to get down on your hands and knees and reach in, which I think would get old pretty soon. Nevertheless the parabola chair is a great piece of furniture design.
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