Bouroullec Collection by Ronan and Erwan
Bouroullec for Hay

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French designers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec have designed all the furniture for the remodelled Faculty of Humanities at Københavns Universitet in Copenhagen, which is due to reopen in January.

Bouroullec Collection by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Hay

"This is quite an interesting situation historically," Ronan Bouroullec told Dezeen. "Since the last century, whenever they build a school or university in Denmark they ask a designer to design the chairs for that space."

Bouroullec Collection by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Hay

The brief specified a wooden chair in the hope of creating a more homely environment to tackle the number of students who leave before completing their studies. "There is a big problem in universities that there are a lot of students that do not stay at school, it's quite problematic in Europe," Bouroullec explained. "The general aim of the project is to try to keep students in school so the idea was to do a chair which could be maybe more domestic than a contract chair."

Bouroullec Collection by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Hay

The chairs needed to be low-cost, strong, "sensual", stackable, and quick to develop and produce. "Very quickly we had this intuition that for both reasons - comfort and probably price - we could cut the shell in two parts," recounts Bouroullec.

Bouroullec Collection by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Hay

"This would create a very interesting aesthetic because it will create a bridge, so we do not have to fix the shell on a structure." Instead, four legs are attached directly to the ridge under the seat where the two sides of the shell join.

Bouroullec Collection by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Hay

The resulting seat is more flexible than a shell made in one piece. The A-shaped legs mean the chairs stack neatly in high piles and the cost was kept down. "The chair is priced to be around 150 euros so almost the same as a plastic chair," he says.

Bouroullec Collection by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Hay

The range was expanded from there to include around 15 typologies in oak and beech for the department's meeting rooms, offices, libraries and classrooms.

Bouroullec Collection by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Hay

It'll also be available from Danish design brand Hay, which is showing the collection at design fair Orgatec in Cologne this week.

Bouroullec Collection by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Hay

This is not the prolific designers' first wooden chair - they launched two seats for Magis in Milan this year alongside one with a shell divided into four pieces for Mattiazzi, and their celebrated Steelwood chair can often be spotted in the photos of interior projects on Dezeen. See all our stories about Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec.

Bouroullec Collection by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Hay

Dezeen filmed two interviews with Ronan Bouroullec at Clerkenwell Design Week this summer - one about the use of colour in their Pico tiles and another on their new monograph.

Orgatec continues at Koelnmesse in Cologne until 27 October.

  • jjj

    Yes, great! Of course the dust and other sweeps will gather in the middle, but design looks good.

    • Guy

      Yes, I thought of that too. But probably schools are less dusty than they used to be – less pencil shavings and chalk dust flying around at least. I hope it doesn’t become a place for indolent students to leave their chewing gum… bleugh.

  • Henk

    Saw this yesterday in Cologne, and it is actually quite nice! Would be great to use the channel/grove on the tables for electricity, cables, etc. Nice one!

  • Bhavnesh

    I love the very simple form, with the warmth of the wood. My only concern is that those centre grooves are a trap for dust and losing small things like pens. Otherwise, beautiful looking furniture.

  • http://www.zazous.co.uk Zazous

    They stack really nicely too. I like the two colours together as shown here.

  • August

    150 euros is low-cost, uhm, yeah.

  • Paul

    I agree with everything that has been said about that groove. On the table, a glass cover could actually be very elegant. For the chairs though I don’t think it would be such a problem. Great furniture, really love the work of the brothers!

  • martineck

    The chairs looks very tempting, but what if you put a lot of tension on the seating? The joints between the legs and the plywood will burst quite easily, no?

    • Max

      Actually the opposite. In an A frame, the more pressure you exert at the vertex/apex, the more it wants to pinch together and the legs want to press outward and rotate about the vertex. It’s a compressive force, not a sheer nor torsional nor tensile force, and the bolts/rivets/fasteners they must be using actually stabilize or increase that compression. If it’s going to fail, it’ll fail for a defect in the wood itself, in the legs, just towards the top of the A, like snapping a wishbone.

  • daniel castro

    The butt crumb collector.

  • Christ

    Should be at least called Ljubljana to honour its original creator and its country, Niko Kralj.