We all know the iconic chairs of the world—who could forget the unmistakeable silhouette of the Eames Lounge Chair or Breuer's Wassily Chair—but can you name many designs from the past decade you would deem as a classic? When Founder of Whipsaw Dan Harden started contemplating a passion project to work on, he knew he wanted to tackle the ultimate designer challenge of creating a timeless chair while bringing a more contemporary edge to how he thought about producing it.
"I really wanted to create something unique that's comfortable, that's beautiful, never been seen before, and using really elemental materials—specifically, I wanted to see what I could do with just wood," Harden said in a feature about the project on the television program America by Design. The design of Harden's Skrolla chair (the name coming from its scroll-like shape), marries form and function, beautiful curvature, and a seamless final product that requires no hardware.
The Skrolla Chair
The shape of Skrolla was inspired in part by the process of plywood bending and the smooth slopes it can create. All the curved pieces of the chair are created by forcing layers of epoxied plywood veneer around a mold within a plastic vacuum bag. The draft angle of the mold was designed not only to allow for the seat to easily be released from the mold after curing, but also happens to be the ideal angle for a reclined seat. Harden's desire to use plywood wasn't only motivated by his allure to the process, but also the unmatched look. "The curve is one part of the style that makes this chair interesting," Harden says. "And if it's in your home, it has to look good at every angle."
Two of Harden's main desires with Skrolla was to create a chair that required no crossbars at the bottom for support, and to design for easy manufacture while not sacrificing on quality. To avoid the need for crossbars, Harden designed the legs a little differently. "The way this chair is constructed, the bottom part of the leg below the seat is a bigger diameter than what goes through...so the weight of the person sitting and the chair itself is sitting on this shoulder," Harden explains.
As seen in this image, the diameter of the legs on the Skrolla chair are slightly larger below the bottom plywood curve.
Harden's vision to create a chair using only six wood parts (yes, only six!) earned him a utility patent, and highlights the possibility of designing products made from as few materials as possible.
So will the Skrolla Chair live throughout history as an iconic design chair? Only time can tell, but there is certainly an undeniable ingenuity when it comes to materials, process, and overall look. And perhaps compared to the classic chairs we're already familiar with, Skrolla reflects a more modern sentiment around more sustainable shipping and building practices, all the while maintaining a timeless style.