Chinese stools by Wieki Somers


Design Miami 07: Dutch designer Wieki Somers has reversed the stereotype that the Chinese copy western designs by imitating chairs she saw while working in Beijing.

Somers showed some of her "Chinese Stools - Made in China Copied by Dutch" range at Design Miami last week.

The chairs are based on customised seats seen in the streets and used by street vendors, rickshaw drivers and so on.

Photos are by Pien Spijkers.

>> see Made in China by WokMedia for another example of western designers exploring the Chinese vernacular.

Here is some text from Somers:


Chinese stools - made in China copied by Dutch (2007)

In cooperation with Dylan van den Berg, Somers spent one month in Beijing, China, for the project ‘Entity Identity’. Here they worked with the expertise of Chinese craftsmen in their traditional workshops to create products which are inspired by the metropolis Beijing.

“As a response to the extremely fast growing metropolis, in which everything seems temporary, I focussed on the small things of daily street life. In all kinds of places in Beijing we found customised seats used by people such as security guards, street vendors and rickshaw drivers.

These ancient chairs were often barely recognisable, having undergone so many improvised repairs and modifications. I was struck by the many charming details, which connect the diverse materials and parts and link them to their respective makers.

The stools, probably cherished a lifetime, testify of a long history in which both the maker and the user have left their traces. When I started to purchase some of these stools, the neighbours noticed my admiration, and they all invited me to their homes, where I became acquainted with the many stories attached to them.

Finally I decided to cast a few stools in aluminium. The original stools vanished in the process, but in this way I could preserve their memory from the ravages of time and pay homage to their makers in the meantime. The colours of the stools refer to the other side of Beijing (some would call it the modern side): the public display of prosperity and pride by putting sparkling extra layers on cars and products.’

Posted on Tuesday December 11th 2007 at 10:13 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Nuno

    Well… I’d rather stick with the copies than releasing this kind of crap.

    “Oh look! I’m so insane!!! I do crazy things! Look at me!!!”

  • Very nice work Wieki, your work showed exceptionally well in Miami!! All the best! -Jonathan

  • thecuteone


  • hank crane

    Too literal…

  • They certainly stand against the trend of much of what I’ve seen recently.

  • peter

    incredible pieces, great installation in miami,

  • jenny

    nice work~~~everlasting piece

  • xue

    I think that will be give some chinese people good memory . Our history also can give other coutry designer some range .

  • lina

    Come On..
    everyone who goes to China comes as 1st idea with the stool stuff..

    I’ve been seeing SO MANY designers coming up with this stuff…

    once you get your reputation it seems quality doesnt matter anymore..

    cause being a month in china and then copyiung stools.. of ofcourse THE dry recipe of the netherlands.. HOW SAD>..

    what happend with some good new design…

  • tiffany

    cheap trick

  • andrew

    I was really happy to see, between all these golden coated designstuff in Miami, these honest and poetic pieces, that show the beauty of things we don’t see anymore. I like this narrative critical approach and imagination.
    Great works, a big fan.

  • Miko

    I’m sure the original stools were way more interesting to look at than these castings, from both design, social, cultural and historical point of view. Incinerating them is not the way to preserve them, and you’re not paying hommage to their makers by doing so either.

    Unfortunately, all this unique and modern “street furniture” of the people is doomed to disappear just as quickly as all other vernacular furniture has disappeared, due to a lack of true interest.