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‘Chairman’ by Nawaaz Saldulker (South African interior & product designer)

What do you get if you cross a chair and an ottoman? ….a Chairman of course. It was interesting to me, that an ottoman never has a backrest yet this is a fundamental component in any chair design. Chairman is an avant-garde object for the living room or outdoors.

Avant-garde means ‘front of line’, but in looking to the future, we always have to nod to the past and present. Michael Thonet, a formidable pioneer who influenced Modernism was an inspiration. Even Le Corbusier used Thonet’s bentwood chairs in his houses.

I questioned how one views waste packaging as a valuable resource as opposed to an ecological difficulty. I want to see a future where objects are not thrown away, but live different lives. To achieve this, an upcycled backrest was inserted into a mild steel frame. Extruded strips made from 100% plastic waste was then used to create an African basket weave which allows for great rigidity.

For me, furniture should always enhance our climate. The boundaries between indoor and outdoor should always be blurred. Why not have a chair that suits our environment? What if nature and plants were an integral part of how we live?

Chairman’s ‘pull-out’ side flap creates a flat surface which could easily be used as a table too.

Just recently, Chairman featured as part of a selection of projects which took place at Espace Commines, in the Le Marais district as a contribution to Paris Design Week. The exhibition explored instances where graphic and object design converge.