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Design Daily: CCA Student Chairs Inspired by California
Does the word laminate conjure images of rippled, split or peeling Formica counters? Yeah, me too. But six California College of the Arts students reversed my perception by translating the surface material into fluid, natural and innovative chair designs. It doesn’t seem right to play favorites, since each piece was superbly innovative in a different way. But there’s no morality to my aesthetic deliberations, so my favorite was Jeni Tu’s Linea Chair (above). Inspired by taillights on the LA freeway, she wrapped walnut laminate around a vermillion steel frame, creating sensuous lines that hold up to heavy sitters.
CCA Furniture Program Chair Russel Baldon partnered with surface manufacturer Wilsonart for its annual design competition, which this year challenged Baldon’s students to design chairs inspired by California’s nature and technology. The top works premiered at ICFF in New York May, and made a recent homecoming appearance at San Francisco’s Propeller Propellermodern in Hayes Valley, where I tried them on for size.
Kaii Tu’s Torrey Chair (above) won the competition. Inspired by 3-D printer technology, Tu also incorporated eight tones of laminate in his faceted design to recall how sunlight would naturally cast shadows across a form.
Following the competition, most of the students already had their minds on manufacturing, and were looking into production costs to fabricate additional versions of their designs. Judging by the critical praise heaped on the talented group, I wouldn't be surprised to them in stores in the near future.