Dezeen Magazine

Basel Chair by Jasper Morrison for Vitra

Live from Milan: Vitra has launched Basel Chair, a new design by Jasper Morrison.


The chair is constructed of beech with a coloured plastic seat.


More info from Vitra:


Basel Chair, 2008
Jasper Morrison


“Supernormal” was the programmatic title Jasper Morrison gave two years ago to a joint exhibition and publication project with his Japanese colleague Naoto Fukasawa, which sought to present exemplary design solutions. On the basis of 204 selected objects – extending from anonymous examples to design classics, works by colleagues and their own designs – Morrison and Fukasawa illustrated their formal and ethical position within the international design community.

“Supernormal” is a manifesto against the rampant design hype and a plea for formally unassuming, useful and responsible design.

Supernormal – this is certainly how many of Jasper Morrison’s works come across, at least upon first glance. It does not stem from a lack of creativity, but is an expression of Morrison’s understanding of design. Instead of seeking outrageous and gimmicky formal solutions, he concentrates on proven and established design solutions. Through reinterpretation, further development or refinement – whether it be of a formal or constructive nature – he revitalizes them and imbues them with new validity.

Jasper Morrison’s latest works for Vitra Home are an exemplary representation of this spirit.

Upon first glance, the Basel Chair appears to be another example in the long line of simple classic wooden chairs that have come out of Europe for many decades. Upon closer inspection, however, it becomes clear that this model has something unusual about it: the seat and back are made from batch-dyed plastic and are much thinner than would have been possible with an all-wood chair.

Thanks to the flexibility of the material, the Basel Chair thus offers a much higher degree of seating comfort. The comfort is further enhanced through the subtly textured surface of the plastic, which keeps the sitter and any objects placed on the chair from slipping down as often occurs with slick painted surfaces.

Also notable are the detail solutions that Morrison developed to join the plastic elements to the wooden base. While the thin plastic seat is fixed to a load- bearing wooden ring by an ingenious plug-in mechanism – without the use of any screws – the back features two web-like vertical projections that are inserted into precision-milled grooves of the elongated rear chair legs. It is intelligent solutions like these, especially in light of recycling issues, that make this harmoniously proportioned chair such an exceptional design despite the initial impressions of normality.

The Basel Chair is available in light or dark stained beech wood with plastic elements in contrasting colours.