Having lived in a tiny apartment in London, I had come to rely on the humble tubular-frame folding chair. Dragging them out when friends came over when all the usual bulky and cumbersome dining chairs were taken.
As homes within densely populated cities become increasingly smaller, demand for space-conscious furniture has increased. Take a look at the folding chair market, and you won't be surprised to find an array of offerings, all utilizing similar folding mechanisms with the sole intention of saving space—usually on a budget.
The Native folding chair aspires to be more than a back-up for occasional guests. A folding chair that encourages everyday use and practicality without compromising on ergonomics by offering a more conventional dining chair form.
Inspiration for the project came from both contemporary Danish styles and Nomadic living trends with the intention of encouraging a new way of thinking as to what environments a folding chair can succeed in.
Joe Parker - Product & Furniture Designer
Many of the existing folding chairs on the market achieve the space-saving elements of their functionality exceptionally. Typically however, these chairs are either unattractive and uncomfortable for sitting on for more than an hour or so, or are less suited for everyday usage scenarios. A high-end approach required a more refined and desirable user experience.
Observational research of how small living spaces are utilized within urban environments highlighted the fact that when space is tight, the freedom to move items around the room or store them so they are easily accessible means that often these chairs are simply rested against a wall or left in the corner.
The form and folding mechanism of this chair were devised to give the user two carrying handles for easy transportation between rooms and sought to be both aesthetically desirable both in use and when stored. Additionally, the cutout in the backrest encourages users to hang the chair on the wall to further free up floorspace.
CNC-Machined using American White Ash for both its durability and relative light weight, the Native folding chair is finished using a traditional Danish soaping process to ensure a soft sheen and raw finish which will create a deep grain patina over time.
Moving away from the perception that folding chairs are cheap and cheerful utilitarian objects. The Native folding chair aims to offer more everyday usability and desirability over a solely space-saving focused design.