Surreal Minimalism by David Pompa



Austria-based designer David Pompa has designed a collection of office furniture called Surreal Minimalism.


The collection comprises eight chairs constructed from different combinations of metal bases and upholstered seats.


"These chairs are a response to mental and physical needs of people in their office environment," says Pompa.

A recent graduate from Kingston University in London, Pompa developed the project during his MA course.


The following is from David Pompa:



Why is the situation in an office such a stereotypical scene? I think that this is the reason why people don’t feel as creative in their office environment as they feel in many other places.


Our consumerist society has brought us into the position that it’s not any more about designing one more chair or one more table, it’s about designing a unique experience.


I am convinced that our lives are driven very much by the relationships we have to objects all round and I think that as a designer I want to design the basis for these relations.


Interaction is often reduced to a functional basis; this collection is an approach that objects and humans can interact on an emotional level with the aim of stimulating creativity.


The surreal minimalism collection consists of objects which can be randomly combined to a series of office chairs. These chairs are a response to mental and physical needs of people in their office environment.


The visual language centres on personal speculation about the sources of ‘inspiration and creativity.’



Posted on Thursday November 13th 2008 at 6:54 pm by Matylda Krzykowski. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • leo

    I really like your work, they look like sculpture on function of furniture.
    Good job.

  • mikaël

    this is so fugly, Pharell Williams could have thought of it

  • K. Rimane

    when art attempts to be design and design attempts to be art we end up with something nearing “rubbish”.
    this looks terribly uncomfortable.
    twelve legs for a bench…. rather wasteful if you ask me.

  • spielberg


  • Rockstar

    horribly refreshing work!

  • boz

    Take design from memphis, archizoom and rancid student work, mix it all together and voila some haute cuisine design bullshit.

  • bald skull

    wow! ugly!

  • tcoco


  • mikaël

    ok sorry, that was rude, but I wasn’t expecting someone would make Pharell’s work look good any time soon. That said, it’s always good to be confronted with things you don’t like; it helps you crystalize your opinion and structure your thoughts. I am not a fan of anthropomorphism in furniture. I can imagine this type of esthetics touching some and shocking others, but to say that people’s ” lives are driven very much by the relationships we have to objects” and specially these ones is a bit presumptuous, assuming that stuff has a bigger impact than humans might be true for some but I hope he is mistaking when it comes to the majority… I do ,however, agree when it is said that “his collection is an approach that objects and humans can interact on an emotional level” cuz my emotions are telling me they don’t like what I see.

  • Marcus

    This sucks. End of story

  • OKP

    lost for words.. dont even want to use words for this.. thanks dezeen

  • OOOO I get it chair “Legs” :P

  • kingmu

    long live surrealism… minimal or otherwise.

  • DN3


  • I’m not sure about these. Nice idea, but I don’t think I’d want them in my office! Perhaps a little Frankenstein?

  • razifohnas

    I hate it. Why bring some old ideas into the mix of material which is already there. It beats the Surrealist purpose. This is so Dali. Fake surrealist must be
    sentenced to death in design. Please push technology of realm. That is the new ‘dream’.

  • runningforasthma

    This makes the FAT chair seem like a good idea.

  • atomant

    eh? why so many negative comments. this kind of furniture would be very well off in a club…but too bad its under office furniture hahaahah.

  • I do not like all of them. Howerver, a couple of the pieces are incredible. I love it. Fabulous and original. It is a piece that you put in your office and people will talk about it and remember it for ever. You need a very nice and big office for them.

  • J

    are are they supposed to help users generate the creativity? maybe more information is needed to explain because judging from what i see and the comments, it is just not there. and if i am a user of these furniture, i don;t get it at all also. will the designer please elaborate so as to give justification to your design.

  • Jonathan End

    I don’t think it wont affect the mental of the staff positively.
    I mean, take a ook at the form, the last box-shaped chair looks like a coffin to me.
    This design is freaking me out!

  • Sorry. The craftsmenship is unbearable. The proportions are lets say – difficult – to digest. The colour combinations are lets say – very challenging – to the average eye.
    The narrative component is – maybe discriptive of a confused character ? If you care to take a look at Davids site, there actually is some ok stuff (eg eames wheelchair!!). Maybe Davis needs to be re-earthed? I am sure he will be fine again. After all he studied in Kingston, just like Jasper, James, Michael, Gitta and all the others…

  • I tought that these works were more modern/ contemporary because surrealism goes deeper.

  • monsieur!


    this very easily glides into my top 5 ‘worst things i’ve ever seen’ list

    bonus FAIL for the ‘i’m mad me’ picture at the bottom

  • iamreply

    quote razifohnas ‘This is so Dali.’ Why is it that everytime something is slightly leaning to surrealism people automatically say it’s sooo dali? people need to read more. happens all the time. every fluid architectural work is sooo hadid etc etc. irritating. On another note i think that the green box could be interesting if it is double the size.

    David Pompa ‘I am convinced that our lives are driven very much by the relationships we have to objects all round and I think that as a designer I want to design the basis for these relations.’
    If you think about what this guy is stating then it is pretty clear that this way of thinking is flawed.
    He proposes that the the space in which you work directly influences creativity but yet he has generated these pieces. where does he work? is it directly influencing this design direction? if not then it is quite evident that at some point the environment has nothing to do with the way you are creative. it is in fact a personal thing.
    Where is the minimalism here?
    “These chairs are a response to mental and physical needs of people in their office environment,” says Pompa.
    I’m pretty sure that i don’t need these pieces in my office environment.

  • OKP

    ” I am convinced that our lives are driven very much by the relationships we have to objects all round and I think that as a designer I want to design the basis for these relations. ”

    he says the above.. but really I have to say I don’t want you to design my relations to products..

  • Kristopher Adams

    This is all very funny. Have Dezeen got their calenders mixed up because it definitely isn’t April the 1st…

  • sandra

    i love them! great concept of trying to rethink office chairs and generally the office situation!
    can´t understand all that bad comments, concepts like these aren´t just about aesthetic, seems like nobody trys to understand the concept! i agree that the aesthetics is a matter of taste, but the idea is what should be more imortant.
    i wanna see more of these…

  • Peter

    One more project in a long row here on Dezeen that has clearly nothing to do with actual “Design”. While i don´t know what this actually is, i would suggest to open up an own category for all those gimmicky things that dedicate themselves to mindlessly wasting resources for their minute of PR. It becomes more and more tiring that decadent nonsense has so much space here.

    “Our consumerist society has brought us into the position that it’s not any more about designing one more chair or one more table, it’s about designing a unique experience.”

    Sometimes it also helps to just take the great stuff that already exists and bring it into a useful and exciting context instead of cranking out something would-be unique like this. Sorry.

  • Laura

    I don’t know what to say except..
    No aesthetic purpose
    Too much reference from other designers
    It’s just a bit.. clumsy and silly.. not in a good way.
    Oh! And the colours make my eyes sore.

  • skiliftsjenkins

    this work really speaks to me and my love of skiing silver prosthetic legs

  • PK

    We can probably explain the origin of the swarm of negative criticisms.

    There are certain hidden rules back in school at critiques that are ranged from “absolutely no-no” and “a definite yes”. “A definite yes” includes amazing joinery/tectonics/connections, poetic quality (needs to be something ephemeral and somewhat lost) and respect for the materials. “Absolutely no-no” includes being too literal, and being too literal.

    It looks like this piece breaks one of those “absolutely no-no”s.

    I’m not defending for it. I think it’s ugly too. The Shrek ogre kind of ugly, I guess. It has intriguing ideas, but I’d rather see him cutting up a whole manikin and cast it in resin like a BDSM chair instead of just this. Under-developed.

    One thing that is horrifyingly missing in Dezeen is the process of the creation. It seems that it is always product, finished product, finished product here.

  • taffeta

    i don’t think it’s that bad..
    some of the ideas are quite original!

    well done! good job

  • Trying too hard.

    The thought I get from it is not renewing enough for me to overrule the aesthetics. I find the aesthetic “screaming to loud” and therefor really annoying.

  • james`

    muahahaha @ skiliftsjenkins…

    but I actually like the piece in the first pic, with the red seat and silver legs…maybe the rest not so much…thing is, gimmiky or not, it’d make an office quite memorable…

  • Hi,
    I love this stuff a lot. I do not know why you guys ague about this. Personally, some odd thing makes thinking. In fact, I like issue design history but you can not judge right now. cuz you don’t know yet. Much talk makes you tired. :(

  • mikaël

    You’re right eathan, people should just censure themselves until they get really old, then they can rant about the things they didn’t like in the past, when its history. Talking may be tiresome for you, but not to the people who can exchange opinions and articulate their point of view beyond “me likee”.

  • zuy
  • christopher

    Most of this is just art furniture. Art furniture is not furniture. That doesn’t make it any less or more important. But still.

  • Fbot

    What was he thinking?

  • Clifford

    Hayon gone wrong

  • Xit


    Pharrell did a better job than Pompa surprisingly, slightly better proportioning

  • it is strange to see so many unsubstantial negative comments, i think especially young designers could benefit a lot from productive comments.

    i started this project with rethinking the concept of interaction and the consequences. design is to often minimised to function and we underrate the affective-effect on people. i made a survey and asked 100people about where they feel creative and i got umpteen answers but nobody said “in my office”. this was my startingpoint to think about interaction between office furniture and humans.

    many office chairs we face in real life look and work almost the same. my theory is bringing elements like “to swinging”(legs), “sitting on the ground”(brids), “writing on the chair”(red pice), “privacy in public”(green piece) or “to lie”(blue-salmon piece) into the office. this might not be a direct provoke to be more creative, but it is a startingpoint to get away of the stereotypical situation between office chairs and tables and humans.

    as further explanation and to avoid more misunderstandings… this objects are not meant to be comfortable, aesthetic, or usable furniture. the objects are symbols to question the stereotypical situation many people face in their office enviroment. there is no intention of putting these objects into an office enviroment and i am still at the beginning of their design process.

  • Chris

    I agree,too many simply “I dont like” negative comments.
    Everybody cannot like everything-thats a good thing!. There is definately bad furniture out there. Keep in mind that this collection will most likly not be mass produced and seen everywhere. How many of us fall asleep in offices and business spaces due to the completley dreary, boring utilitarian aspect of the envirnment? I realize some of the proportions look a little confining but come on, if I see another pair of Barcelona chairs facing each other in a lobby passing themselves off as good design, I will hurl.

  • These look cool in places like clubs and pubs, definitely not for homes.

  • ACP

    i hate it, i love it, i kind of dont know!
    the combination of colors is strangely new, the shapes are eclectic and the concept is great. the are needs in our society and i can see this project going into the right direction. surprised to see this young designer in the next years and would like to see more of his work. thank you dezeen for this refreshing projects.

  • Tess

    I LOVE it!! Design with a sense of humor – designers frequently take themselves way too seriously. VIVE LE SURREALISME!

  • some guy

    now now kids – talk about judge a book by its cover.
    What david set out to do has been realised.
    Sure I would not have it in my home…but that was not the idea. Do I like it ? who cares! and again misses the point
    What these neg. comments show is that “we” get nasty and or cross when we cannot/wont/dont understand.
    No I would not care to learn about making ice cream.
    (well not right now anyway)
    But I am glad some do.
    So go ahead do do do

  • Peter Knights

    It’s stunning, absolutely stunning. I want it all, office or no office, it’s clever and witty. Not a shape is wasted, not one angle in the wrong place. Phew. Love it.

  • Extreme design in action, and I love it. This type of design will do great in cities like Miami and New York.
    Colors used promote an atmosphere of elation, which is needed in the work place.