Our latest idea: an anti chair

Chair designs proliferate the portfolios of designers the world over. ‘Arm’ chair is not another chair; it is an anti-chair. It celebrates nonsense, and gleefully breaks the chair design rule book. It is not comfortable; in fact, it cannot be sat on. It is the outline or symbol of a chair, produced in fine American Oak.

‘Arm’ is designed to fit over any everyday seat – from a plastic patio chair to an office chair or even a bucket – to create a completely new chair, cloaked in the signified history and value of the bent oak form. Its silhouette is a cartoon of the archetypal continuous sack back Windsor.

The project began as an investigation in to the constraints of wood bending, a process that is closely associated with the history of chair design.

“We structured our research around creating a beautifully finished object that pays heed to a classic bentwood chair, without posing it as a commercial product. Why shouldn’t research have a sense of humour?” says Bardsley.

To create the chair Clark worked with a specialist wood bender in Auckland, New Zealand. The pared back simplicity of the design required meticulous jig making. Oak was cut in to strips, steamed and glue laminated into curved forms. These pieces were then machined in to rounds, and finished with a brush back sander. The finished parts were joined using rail bolts, then the legs were carefully cut in and glued in place.

A Resourceful Collaboration

A collaborative proposal by Clark Bardsley Design (CBD) and Mitchener Architecture and Design (MAAD) has won funding to produce designs with waste material for a major new project by social enterprise Rekindle. The cross-disciplinary team was one of five selected by a panel of international experts from 32 submissions across New Zealand.


The project - named Resource: Rise Again - aims to create new solutions for resources that industry currently pays to dispose of in landfill. It is the first time that a research and design program has been established in New Zealand specifically to address waste through reuse solutions. The large new body of research and design solutions will be exhibited in Christchurch in October 2016, and Auckland at Objectspace in 2017.