The Secret History Of: The bubble chair
Cahal Milmo is the chief reporter of The Independent and has been with the paper since 2000. He was born in London and previously worked at the Press Association news agency. He has reported on assignment at home and abroad, including Rwanda, Sudan and Burkina Faso, the phone hacking scandal and the London Olympics. In his spare time he is a keen runner and cyclist, and keeps an allotment.
Friday 13 May 2011
It's a bit space age, a bit glamorous, a bit indoor hammock. The Bubble chair was built to swing lazily on a landing or to be suspended in a room full of books but within reach of a martini.
The chair is so perfectly designed that it comes as a shock to realise that it hangs from the ceiling only by accident. In the Sixties, the designer, Eero Aarnio, wanted his chair to be transparent and couldn't find a way of making a clear pedestal so he had to hang it instead.
The Finnish designer is one of the 20th century's greatest innovators. He broke from traditional designs and experimented with colour, plastic and organic curved forms. His work is now in the collections of the V&A, MoMA and Vitra Design Museum.
To understand the Bubble, it is first necessary to look at the Ball. Aarnio, in the best tradition of great inventors and businessmen, wanted something, didn't have it so made it himself. "We had moved into our first home and I had started my freelance career in 1962," he says. "We had a home but no proper big chair, so I decided to make one, but in some way a really new one. After some drawing I noticed that the shape of the chair had become so simple that it was merely a ball. I pinned the full scale drawing to the wall and 'sat' in the chair ..."
He then knocked up a prototype. The idea was also to create a room within a room that would protect the user from outside noise and on a turning pedestal that would allow him, or her, to turn to or away from the room. When two young managers from Asko, a Scandinavian kitchen and laundry appliance company, visited Aarnio, they were so impressed they wanted to put his new chair into production too.
"I wanted to have light inside it and so I had the idea of a transparent ball where the light comes from all directions," Aarnio adds. "The only suitable material is acrylic which is heated and blown into shape like a soap bubble, and again the name was obvious." As there was no way to make a totally clear pedestal, the chair was hung from the ceiling.
The Sanderson Hotel in London eveb has a bubble-chair in the lobby. Sadly, the proper version costs nearly £5,000 although, as with all design classics, there are lots of copies around for which you can knock a zero off the price.
Life & Style blogs
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
- 2 Mystery man who gave mum heart-warming note on train 'wanted to put a smile on her face'
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent answer to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: This post arises as a result of the need to...
£120 - £150 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: I am recruiting on instruction o...
£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...
£24000 - £28000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wim...