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Around in circles

By Lisa Rummler

August 2010- Even if they cannot name it, most people recognize the theme from "2001: A Space Odyssey."

More formally known as "Also sprach Zarathustra" by Richard Strauss, this piece of orchestral music comprises many instruments, including timpani. These drums can range in diameter from 33 in. to smaller than 12 in., and basic models often are made of copper.

The unique process required for manufacturing timpani inspired Thomas Heatherwick, founder of the London-based design firm Heatherwick Studio, to create the copper and steel Spun chair.

"The concept of this new design evolved from Heatherwick's love of the traditional manufacturing technique used for making large timpani drums," according to a press release from Heatherwick Studio. "Metal spinning is a deeply established craft skill [that] is rarely used within the furniture world--more typically used for producing industrial componentry such as cookware, gas cylinders and urnsÑthe process was revised and then used to make a complete piece of metal furniture."

Material matters
Heatherwick designed the metal Spun chairs for his second solo exhibition at the contemporary-art gallery Haunch of Venison, London, which ran from March 21 to May 15.

Earlier, Heatherwick unveiled a plastic version of the chair, called Spun seat, in Milan, Italy. Magis, an Italian company, manufactured Spun seat.

The Haunch of Venison chair came in five versions: mirror-polished stainless steel, brushed stainless steel, mirror-polished copper, brushed copper and patinated with brushed-seat copper.

"Each chair is assembled with six spinnings of thick metal, welded together and polished to give a uniform single form," according to the press release. "The handmade spun pieces are formed by pressing large sheets of metal against a rotating cast iron form using a large paddle."

Seeking answers
In addition to Heatherwick's admiration for metal spinning, another driving force compelled him to create the Spun chair, according to the press release.

"The appeal was to create a design using rotational symmetry while asking a simple question: Could a functional chair be formed from a single profile rotated 360 degrees" it stated.

All the Spun chairs at Haunch of Venison have a diameter of 88 cm and stand 65 cm tall. People who sit in the chairs can swivel in a circular rocking motion and spin in a circle, according to the press release. FFJ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources

  • Heatherwick Studio
    London
    phone: +44 (0)20 7833 8800
    fax: +44 (0)20 7833 8400
    www.heatherwick.com

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