Whittle Chair by Karen Ryan



More from British designer Karen Ryan: she's taken a penknife to an existing chair to create Whittle Chair.


This is the first in a series of whittle pieces, she tells us.


See also yesterday's story on Ryan's Trilogy series of plates.


More Dezeen stories about Karen Ryan.


Here's some info from Ryan:


'Whittle Chair'  by Karen Ryan

Whittle is about less. All it requires is a penknife and an unwanted chair.

One afternoon I took the unwanted chair out of my kitchen and began whittling it whilst watching an old black and white Bette Davis movie.

The whittle chairs naivety is intentional as the process is left to be intuitive and unplanned.

The original chair is made naked revealing a different physical and emotional state, one of fragility and imperfections.

This is first in a series of whittle pieces.

Posted on Wednesday June 24th 2009 at 9:04 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • B

    now this is what Maarten Baas should have done to that chair for established and sons..much more elegant
    same idea..well sort of..I think Maarten also made prototypes of his chair by holding ikea chairs against the sanding machine.
    and in a way this is what gio ponti did when he made the superlegera…just stripping it to a minimum.

  • can-dooooo

    why not just put the seat plate on it and skip the whittle-ing? Then you could use the chair again. these are the only thoughts i have. I really like the chair before it was destroyed.

  • LOW

    Let’s see her do that.. but with her teeth next time

  • mcmlxix

    I only want one if it is accompanied with the pile of whittlings.

  • jh

    is it looking better after? no
    is it working better after? no
    what was the point? i didn’t get it

  • berts bobje

    If this was an unwanted chair, i think she would have made more people happy by giving it away in the state it was before her itchy fingers got round it.

    The treatment the chair has been given I dont see of much value or contribution to the world we live in. Neither has there an extreme been explored, as you can go much further with this and at a certain moment it will fail under its own weight, but you can push this point by making it lighter. Anyway, still it will be more an excersize then a piece of design.

  • Freddie

    is it looking better after? In many eyes probably Yes
    is it working better after? It functions Just the same, but now it has a greater value to its owner and probably will not end up in landfill.
    what was the point? Designer experimentation and her search for beauty in a previously unloved piece of furniture.

  • It would have looked better if the seat was the same style. (and this is not just another nasty remark – I really think that she need consistency)

  • sorry, needs

  • J

    What if the pile of “whittlings” becomes the filling for the cushion? That way you could take an old chair in need of cushion replacement, and create the filling using just that chair.

  • Mc

    I think they are beautiful and agree with Freddie Says. Why all the elitist negativity in these comments?

  • I like the chair.the experiment.its organic,its natural.its nice.

  • Eli

    Dezeen commentators! Where is the spirit of experimentation?! Ideas don’t have to be finished products—the whole point of experimentation is to go outside of your current frame of mind . . . this may not be the most functional, beautiful chair design out there . . . but there are plenty of those already. If we simply want functionality and beauty, then stop designing! We already have those things—why not just quit while we’re ahead?

  • As a designer by trade, I love the whittled version of the chair. I think it can be improved and made even more interesting – like ‘J’ points out – use the whittled remains and use it to stuff a cushion for the seat. Actually the only part I don’t really love about it is the rough, flat seat.

    I would buy this if it were improved. It’s one-of-a-kind and more organic looking. I like it a lot.

  • kumke

    I love the idea of this. Reversing the process of planning and finishing to be something expected- a chair of a certain style and look, and stripping it down to the grain and the texture with no plan or idea of what the final would be. When is time to stop? How much farther could this have gone and still been a functional chair. Who cares. It is what it is now, and I like it.

  • SteveC

    I really like the end result and I don’t agree with the elitist negative comments. It’s a great idea.