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Plywood Chair


A chair constructed from plywood, glue and screws.


I originally made the Plywood Chair in Berlin for an exhibition Some New Items for the Home. The main reason it looks the way it does is that I had to make it myself, and the only equipment I had was an electric jigsaw and some ‘ship’s curves’. So it became a project to cut shapes out of a plywood sheet and reassemble them to make something three-dimensional. I found that by using a thin sheet of ply for the seat and curving the cross bars below it, I could achieve a cushioning effect, which in some way compensates for other, less accommodating features. After that I did a model with the back filled in, which was more comfortable but less exciting.

In 1989, the Plywood Chair became the first of Jasper’s designs to be produced by Vitra. That year he pointed out to French magazine Intramuros that the chair’s ‘structure is extremely simple. It brings absolutely nothing new to the infinity of existing chairs.’ But the curved sheet of wood for the seat ‘is an interesting detail. Empty, the chair is straight, but when you sit down, it bends.’

A sketch by Jasper in his diary in 1987. His idea for an ‘honest chair’ fed into the Plywood Chair.