Chairs for the Dysfunctional by Alice Wang



Milan 09: Designer Alice Wang will exhibit a range of furniture called Chairs for the Dysfunctional - including a stool that amplifies the sound of farts (above) - in Milan next month.


Other items in the range include chairs with a calorie counter in the leg for those who fidget (above), or a spirit level in the seat for people who like to tilt their chair (below).


Another has a card hung on the back for the user to make announcements (below), while the length of the Equality Seeker's legs can be altered to make sure everyone sits at the same height.


The chairs will be on show in the Salone Satellite at the Milan Furniture Fair, 22-27 April.


Here are some more details from Alice Wang:


Alice Wang is proud to present her latest project - Chairs for the Dysfunctional

If we look closely at objects that surround us, they often belong to a unified system, a system created by big commercial cooperations. Our habits and behaviours are often sculpted to adapt these systems because there usually isn’t a second choice.


The society we live in is changing, shouldn’t the interactive side of these daily objects change with us? Perhaps the function of the objects stay, but it is the process of how we interact with them that must change.

Should there be different chairs designed for people with different sitting habits? Do you sit on all four legs or just two? Do you continuously shake your leg? Or do you like to sit with your back facing the public?

Alice Wang designed a series of chairs that illustrates each of these stories. Will these chairs become props that normalize the unwelcomed habits? Or will they act as therapy to “cure” one’s syndromes?

Skilled Tilter
This chair is specially designed for people who tilt their chairs. It has a spirit leveler attached to the side allowing one to measure how balanced one is.

Equality Seeker
Researches show that taller people are more likely to be successful in life. This may well be part of the nature’s natural selection process, however, can products help strive against such theories?  In order for shorter people to still have a chance of survival in the modern day society, these chairs are specially designed so everyone is equal at the table. The taller one is, the shorter their chair should be. Each chair can be customized so everyone sits at the world average sitting height of 140cm.

Silent Farter
Those with excess gas in their abdomen can find it difficult to hold it in sometimes, even at important times such as formal dinner gatherings or meetings. Quietly letting the gas out may be the solution, but although the sound may be muted, the scent is still present. It can often cause misunderstanding and unnecessary embarrassment for the innocent others. This chair announces who the gas is from by amplifying the silent fart exhausted.

Constant Shaker
Researchers believe these unconscious muscle movements may be caused by a chemical produced in our brain to trigger additional calories to be burnt. This chair calculates the amount of calories burnt when one fidgets or shakes their leg when sitting down.

Status Announcer
More and more people are reliant on online social communities such as Facebook and Twitter, leading to possible technology related anti-social behaviours. Those who are used to regularly publishing their personal life online may have difficulty adjusting to public scenarios in real life and may loose the ability to speak or interact with others face to face. This chair allows one to update their status like they usually do on their online profiles by putting up various signs that shows their current status.

See all our stories from Milan in our special Milan 09 category.

More about Alice Wang on Dezeen:



Asimov's First Law scales

Posted on Friday March 20th 2009 at 1:31 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Bozo

    Like wow

  • jl

    These should be submitted to the Chindogu Society- the Japanese art of un-useless inventions. The philosophy is that on first glance the objects seem useful, but on closer inspection are indeed useless, although not entirely stupid. They made me smile, so thank you.

  • I wonder why would anyone continue to invest in design that relies only on the unexpected?

  • BRian

    Very thoughtful,

    I will definitly stop by at Milan.

  • Fountainhead

    what for? Must be funny ….

  • Thanks Ms. Marva Griffin Wilshire to discover some new talents every year in satellite Milan…
    In one month, Alice Wang will mesure the impact of her storytelling collection….and may be right now in this preview… Is it design vocabulary clear?

  • dsgnr

    pure poetry

  • Fountainhead Says: what for?
    may be questionS ? surpriseS?
    Or may be BRian has the answer “I will definitly stop by at Milan”.
    Is Alice Wang wrong?

  • I would love to have the time and the money to do projects like that.
    Unfortunately it´s very hard for a designer to have time and even harder to have money.

  • selection made by:
    Giovanni Anzani, CEO of Poliform;
    Cinzia Ferrara, architect and lighting designer;
    Beppe Finessi, architect and critic;
    Daniele Livi, CEO of Livit;
    Gege Marogna, Chief Editor of Casamica;
    Ettore Mocchetti, Director of AD Italia;
    Satyendra Pakhalè, designer (veteran of the SaloneSatellite 2001);
    Chantal Prod’Hom, Director of MUDAC, Lausanne;
    Denis Santachiara, architect;
    Nick Vinson, Special Projects Director, Wallpaper;
    Marva Griffin Wilshire, curator of the SaloneSatellite.

  • Cat

    I need that calorie counting one, serial fidgeter.

  • Eduardo Baroni
    1/ you have the talent but may be not the right strategy
    2/ you have a good short name (do you speack italian? it’s a competive advantage) …. may be too near french Sam Baron, emerging “deus ex machina” de la Fabrica now after spanish Jaime Hayon
    3/ you have time to a do a 5 mn sketch ….Ubik Starck has the time
    4/ ( may be) i will find the money…

  • W100

    FFFFART…… interesting ideas, twists on familiar interaction design that have gone before. Rikako Sakai did smart skins dumb objects, a chair that counted time as you sat, Droog made a high chair that you chopped the legs off as the child grew, the poetical quality of these designs I find stronger. Best of luck in Milan, wonder what it is you want to get out of it….

  • I dunnot know the chair that counted time as you sat by Rikako Sakai . i dunnot find any photo
    I remember now the Droog,Highchair designed by Maartje Steenkamp

  • Andreas

    Counting how many times you sat on a chair is totally different from what Alice Wang has designed here, the interaction involved as well as the topic it’s focusing on is a totally different scenario. The Droog baby chair changes as your baby grows up, whereas the equality seeker chair looks at how our society looks at the taller people as people with more power and leadership skills. Although both sawing chair legs off, but at the same time different, no?

  • 30 0000 new designers per year, difficult to emerge …. without Satellite in Milan or D3 contest in Cologne or VIA in Paris…

  • W100

    …”The society we live in is changing, shouldn’t the interactive side of these daily objects change with us?”…. The interactive side needs to go beyond what has been designed before. The two chairs mentioned are more poetic in interaction and design. The chair that counted time as you sat,( encouraged others in the office to interact with you upon noticing how long you had been sitting. The child’s chair enables a duality and function to be extended to an otherwise short term item creating a lasting relationship. These designs are interesting, but slightly more centered around one person and the designers obsession to highlight what are claims that we are dysfunctional and therefore need special products that help amplify our dysfunctions.
    Do short people really need taller chairs to sit in? Whats wrong with the gas lift function. Will we really write our status on the back of the chair in physical space? Why can’t we just speak to people Can a chair help us loose calories? Does sound really enhance a fart? maybe it does if you lost your sense of smell, or maybe I have just lost my sense of humour.

  • Thanks W100 , i like the Rikako Sakai’s concept of a smart skins’ a removable chair that shows how long i have been sitting there (but less ” how long i have been absent”!!!…
    I saw also in blog a public chair that gives you your weight

  • here are the bus stop that counted weight as you sat

  • Freddie

    I bet Ms. Wang was inspired by an auto portrait whan she decided to design the amplifier stool.

  • Yan

    Love it.

  • Jo!

    Amplify the sound of farts? That’s acceptable as long as it doesn’t amplify the SMELL!