Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The French Sister of the Ambiguous Chair

This summer I received a letter from a group of French students. Using the step-by-step descriptions in the book DIY Furniture Design the students of a technical school in Le Havre had managed to produce a sibling to the Ambigous Chair, we could call it la Chaise Ambiguë.
[Bérénice Martin, Lucie Tramoy, and Édouard Vermès in front of their Chaise Ambiguë]

It was so pleasing to see these guys taking on the task of constructing the chair - it was definitely the more complex of the do-it-yourself examples in the book, and I must admit that I didn't really expect anyone to have a go at it. Now I am pretty sure that these guys may have been smitten by the concrete fever - the active knowledge of constructing with fabric formwork has now reached France and the narrow community of fabric formers has increased with its youngest members yet :)

The point goes beyond my own personal pride but states an example of how to share knowledge of something bound so heavily to the experience of the hand through making. The step-by-step approach is one way and using the scale of furniture to explore principles of construction allows much freedom.

See images of the work process below that follow the instructions in the book perfectly - all pictures by Édouard Vermès, Lucie Tramoy, Bérénice Martin, and Hilly Saint-martin Vincent of Lycée Auguste Perret. Le Havre, France.

[yes, despite its soft looks the chair is heavy]

[La la Chaise Ambiguë]


  1. So proud to make it with fabulous students. To easy to be a teacher with this students!

    1. Great, Vincent. One can really sense the energy in the images!

  2. This is vraiment beautiful!!! What kind of concrete did you use to make la Chaise Ambigüe?

  3. I start with a composition which i made in my classroom:

    Ciment :600 KG/M3 CEM II/A 52.5
    Sand : 800 KG/M3 (Size 0/4 mm)
    Gravel: 1000 KG/M3 (Size 4/16 mm)
    Water : Water/Ciment = 0,4
    Fluid adjuvant: 2% of ciment
    Polypropyléne Fiber : 400grams


  4. How are the impressions made in the fabric? I see there are metal pieces but what do they attached too?

    1. Hi DIgerati - the metal pieces are in fact knots and ties - to form a socalled form tie that pinches the two sides of the formwork together.

  5. is the fabric sprayed with a plastic hardener?
    how is it fastened to the boards?
    how long to cure?
    I am thinking a 2 meter chaise lounge...
    amazing work, I am inspired!


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