Recession Chair by Tjep.

| 27 comments

Recession Chair by Tjep

Dutch designers Tjep. have reduced part of a mass produced Ikea chair to a skeletal form to evoke the receding state of the global economy.

Recession Chair by Tjep

One corner of the standard chair has been carefully sanded so that hardly any material remains.

Recession Chair by Tjep

The fragile chair can no longer support the weight of a person as, like the economy, it too is diminished.

Some other chairs worth a look on Dezeen include one weighing 1.3 kilograms and another with a ladder-back reaching into the sky - see all our stories about chairs here.

Here is some text explaining the project from the designers:


"The furniture you haven't seen at the Dutch Design Week."

After visiting the Dutch Design Week two weeks ago, I was struck by how little the design world seems to react to the immanent economic crisis threatening Europe and the world. So here is a little something to make up for my esteemed colleagues. Following up on the XXL chair from 2005 we now present the Recession Chair.

Receding is the act of withdrawing and diminishing. We were interested in exploring the visual impact of receding in relation to a design object. We took an Ikea mass produced chair and started sanding it to the finest possible version. The result is a process where the chair goes from normal, to diminished, to skeleton like. The resulting object is barely functional as it most likely won't withstand the weight of the person it's trying to support, much like a society plagued by recession.

  • jed

    i think it's probably better for us all if chairs aren't about anything.

  • Slater

    Nice idea, but shouldn't more of the chair be eroded?

  • Brigita Kas

    and I think it would so much better if we could all stay open minded.

    • carsten

      staying open minded, doesn't mean to not dislike something that is as meaningless as this chair.
      Why would removing a leg to replace it with something else, deal with the recession?
      Doing things different is not the same as being creative….

      • easy

        If you had looked at the object or read the explanation you would have noticed or learned that the leg is not replaced by anything.

      • Charles

        I think if you knew anything about the chairs role throughout history, you would find a hard time labeling it as meaningless.

        But since you didnt even take the time to read the post, I will just have to assume that you dont know anything about history either.

        • carsten

          @Charles,
          I`m sorry to say but history has never been influenced by any type of chair, some designers might believe so. But that really reduces down the importance of history altogether.
          Unless of course history for you means; The history of (chair) design.

          @easy,
          replaced or sanded away – who cares, selling a car with one flat tyre would be the next GREAT idea in times of recession? – or just meaningless.

          • Brigita Kas

            Dear Carsten,
            If you've red this article, then you should know this chair is not related to any of selling/buying priorities. This is a conceptual expression. It musn't have a reliable function.
            This is why I am saying we should stay open minded and focus on the idea and what authors wanted to say and how they realized it.
            I would agree with the person who noticed earlier "If part of the frame was eroded by some chemical (food additive perhaps) it would have been a more coherent piece that comments a political situation of recession. The visual language here is too superficial without depth and as such it is not a piece of art."
            But I wouldn't agree with you who can't accept the metaphorical language.

  • D_P

    so dutch, too dutch!

  • http://dailygrail.com/ Red Pill Junkie

    One of the legs should have been cast in gold, and the rest wrapped in old newspapers.

  • http://www.behance.net/arthurtaper Arthur Taper

    Creative work. This is an interesting way to look at recession. Maybe it can also signify to tell us to stop "sitting around" and stand up and try to resolve the problem in small ways possible.

  • Colette12

    Metaphor overkill. It will be interesting to see how the Dutch young designers cope with lack of government funded projects/studios.
    Not the case for Tjep but I bet there will be design strategy changes once they have to rely with real mode of financial support.

  • amsam

    When I saw the picture of the chair alone I thought it was a beautiful and evocative piece. When I read the thuddingly literal "meaning" the project became shallow and sophomoric.

    • Easy

      Why is trying to create an esthetic that evokes a feeling related to the predominant social/economic context shallow? Every era deserves to be represented in the objects that surround us. What you are saying is that the piece does not need an explanation. True perhaps.

  • osawa charles

    I love how one corner has been “sanded carefully”.

    It ONLY takes 1.

  • Baas

    "I was struck by how little the design world seems to react to the immanent economic crisis threatening Europe and the world." …when do you realize that it is not the role of design to be political? And if it was, what a poor statement is this chair?!

    • easy

      It's an evocative piece rather than a statement. Using a functional object to evoke something is legitimate, even if this disrupts its function as part of the concept. And why should design not be political? Is architecture not political…? Open up your eyes, every form of communication can be political! Esthetics is extremely political… every regime, including democracies use esthetics to reinforced their status! How naïve is the statement: "it is not the role of design to be political"?

      • Enaxor

        You don't even have a choice in being political- the world we live in and move in is constructed out of opinions and experiences and politics are linked to this intrinsically. Not only is design in all forms political, this is prerequisite and never a choice. Pretending it never is is also a political decision- to seal oneself off as neutral from the events unfolding around one.

        The discussion should rather be whether the creation of this chair has made a poignant point -or has been presented properly; in my opinion situating it in a room with other chairs, or in any sort of context would be much more bizarre and exciting than this: now it's being presented as a product (ill-conceived) rather than an experimental piece of art.

  • fox

    ok ok i know this is trying to say something but when you think about it, wouldn't the ideal thing be to make a robust chair to survive recession? not a chair that cannot be used. it ultimately just adds to waste and is money thrown away.

  • http://twitter.com/danbulgen @danbulgen

    hate it… concepts interesting but this is way overdone! and its not functional and therefore not a practical design "The fragile chair can no longer support the weight of a person"…. this is therefore, in my view, just art. Thought this was a design blog : /

  • hovis

    In my humble opinion, this may have been done by a designer but it is clearly a piece of art, and should be viewed/ experienced/ assessed on those terms. it is symbolic, not functional, which is neither good nor bad. it is what it is. many pieces of art would suffer from serious criticism if posted on dezeen with an explanation from the artist. let’s just call it ‘receding chair’ and leave it at that.

  • Easy

    A very lightweight person could still sit on it… So it's design to light people and art to heavy people. Great! Now we are getting somewhere…

  • airborn

    This chair allows more interpretations. As it is a mass produced object it is an exponent of a political system that incorporates capitalism. For me that is what the original IKEA chair represents. If somebody meticulously chipped away part of the frame it calls for manual labor. This production method opposes the mass production. That is the metaphorical language. If part of the frame was eroded by some chemical (food additive perhaps) it would have been a more coherent piece that comments a political situation of recession. The visual language here is too superficial without depth and as such it is not a piece of art.

  • okd

    Should we tell Tjep. it's 2011 already?

  • Luca

    In my opinion this piece shows three possible ways for designers.
    First way: if we agree considering all creative acts as "political" so designers must become really militant designing objects with a strong symbolic content, especially to the detriment of function.
    Second way: stop designing for itself. That's enough. Do we really need another chair? After Breuer, Wegner, Ponti, Colombo and now Ikea?
    Third way: re-start thinking. What it's really necessary in term of improving a positive change in your life without making worse mine and the future of our planet?
    This chair would like to be "symbolic" but it is still prisoner of the discipline and so affected.

  • Nicole

    It (or any design) shouldn't need any explanation, and without it, it doesn't look to good

  • Marco

    It is pure genius: this is really a statement in the best tradition of Dutch Design, as it should be.