It’s not often that you’re told to imagine what the wedding registry of Charles Eames and Judy Jetson would be like. But that’s just how engineering and design firm RockPaperRobot describes its work and credo. Aspiring to create furnishings that are at once aesthetically handsome, functional and robotics inspired, RockPaperRobot has, to date, conceived and developed pieces that seem to defy the laws of physics. Take, for instance, its Float Table, which cleverly uses magnetized components and tensile steel cables to make the table’s wooden cubes appear to float. The firm’s latest endeavor, the Ollie Chair, is equally inventive and smart — and coming soon to Kickstarter.
"The Ollie Chair was a direct response to our retractable Ollie table coming out later in the year," says RockPaperRobot CEO Jessica Banks. "A visitor innocent asked us, 'What happens to the chairs when the table goes up on the wall?' To which we replied, '#%*@! We'll be right back...'"
And so the Ollie Chair was born. This space-saving transformable chair takes cues from the tambour — a flexible shutter found on some furniture such as traditional hall desks. Here, the tambour is constructed with connected wooden slats that extend outward to form the seat and back on an aluminum base. In its open position, it measures 18 inches wide by 20.5 inches deep with a seat height of 18 inches and back height of 35 inches. At the pull of a cable on the chair’s back, the anodized aluminum base collapses back into just over a 2-inch profile for easy transport and storage. But despite its lightweight construction and delicate appearance, the chair is actually BIFMA certified, which means it’s met stringent industry safety and performance standards. And it’s supposedly the only folding chair in the world to offer true lumbar support, to boot.
"The Ollie Chair is more experience than object," adds Banks. "Our goal was to design a chair that was an invitation to sit and stay as much as it gave license to get up and go, because possessions should provide both comfort and freedom."
RockPaperRobot proposes the tambour surface can be specified with graphics or artwork for branding purposes and in a choice of wood species (teak is available for outdoor applications). And it's expecting the MSRP to be around $450. To stay up to date on the chair’s availability (and help support its production), visit its Kickstarter page.