Gypsum seating is the new collection from Voukenas Petrides. The collection includes chairs, stools, and coffee tables made of plaster and metal screen. Each piece is unique.
Natural gypsum is mined and heated to 300 degrees F to produce plaster powder. When the dry plaster powder is mixed with water it releases heat and reforms into gypsum.
The metal screen reinforces the plaster much like steel rebar reinforces concrete buildings. The gypsum surfaces are sealed with a waterproof varnish that enhances the natural materiality of the gypsum. The forms in the collection reflect the flexibility of the metal screen inside the gypsum.
First the screen is shaped into seat like forms then coated with wet plaster. The screen is rolled, curled, torqued, flattened, twisted, creased, pushed, and pulled to create complex shapes that transition from convex to concave within the same sheet of screen. The resulting forms are both anthropomorphic and structural. Arches, cylinders, and parabolas distribute the weight of the seated figure to the floor in the same way that reinforced concrete vaults distribute the weight of a building and its occupants to the ground.
The process of making is both painstaking and forgiving. Each piece in the collection has gone through a process of construction, destruction, and reconstruction in order to achieve the final forms. Steven and Andreas sit on each piece throughout the process to test the dimensions, structural performance, and character of each seat. Dried plaster can be soaked in water and modified with new wet plaster additions and metal screen can be cut which allows for flexible changes to the form throughout the design and building process.
The result is a collection that is a work of art, both functional and in some ways ancient since it is made of two materials (gypsum and iron) that humans have used separately for thousands of years.
Voukenas Petrides is a design studio based in New York and Athens. Furniture designer Andreas Voukenas and architect Steven Petrides combine their talents to produce poetic furniture designs for the home and office. Greek Andreas Voukenas holds a bachelors degree in interior architecture and product design from the Athens University of Applied Science. American Steven Petrides holds a master of architecture from Columbia University. Their diverse portfolio includes stools, side tables, chairs, and installations. Each furniture piece is hand fabricated and finished in their Athens workshop. Their timeless designs reflect Steven’s interest in structure, materiality, light, and space, making each design a work of architecture. Their design objects are functional and inspirational in their ability to test the laws of gravity, balance, cantilever, and even the infinite. Andreas and Steven live and work in New York and Athens where they operate their design workshop.