Canny collaborations: 7 Architects X Series 7

If it ain't broke, don't fix it - it's an oft-mentioned truism but in the case of the iconic Arne Jacobsen Series 7 with its signature hourglass-shaped back, a group of Singapore-based designers has gone ahead to give it a new look.

To mark the chair's 60th anniversary, W Atelier - a luxury bath, kitchen and furniture studio - invited seven designers to transform the chair, which is produced by Republic of Fritz Hansen. The Series 7 remains the most sold chair in Fritz Hansen's history.

Gani Atmadiredja, W Atelier's managing director says, "We wanted to affirm the contributions of the local design and architecture industries and recognise their achievements. This anniversary provided the perfect opportunity for this group of talented designers to come together and celebrate by doing what they do best: design."

The seven who took part were Brendon Lim, design director of IMAJIN; Ministry of Design's founder Colin Seah; WYNK Collaborative's Leong Hon Kit and Si Jian Xin; Robert Greg Shand of Robert Greg Shand Architects; Sal Chua and Sam Ang, directors at Grey Canopy; Peter Tay from Peter Tay Studio, and Terence Chan, founder of Studio Terre.

Designers were given free rein to transform the chair, as long as the chair's form was preserved. While most designers maintained the chair's original height, WYNK Collaborative turned the dining chair into a high chair, by adding rungs to its legs. They called it the Horizon Chair, because, instead of being able to see only what's in front of them, a user can - if desired - now see the horizon and beyond.

Another chair that stood out, was by Grey Canopy, titled Series 8,9,10,11...(Experiment on Curves vs Light), which has timber dowels, or solid cylindrical rods often used as pegs, attached to them. This concept probes the post-industrialised future of the Series 7 in the next 60 years.

With the dowels placed on the chair, sitting on it becomes impossible, hence the chair is hung up to be admired.

Meanwhile, Mr Seah from Ministry of Design, added an eighth layer to the original seven timber veneers, sheathing the chair in a chrome mirror film. Mr Seah calls the chair, Kamaeleon, as its chair changes colours like a chameleon with the surroundings.

Asked what he would do with his chair, he quips that he may spend a lifetime polishing it.

7 Architects X Series 7 is now on till June 30, at Republic of Fritz Hansen showroom, at W Atelier, 75 Bukit Timah Road


This article was first published on June 13, 2015.
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