Dezeen Magazine

Doshi Levien bases Uchiwa armchair for Hay on a traditional Japanese fan

Milan 2014: London studio Doshi Levien has designed an armchair for Danish brand Hay with a curving high-backed seat that resembles a traditional Japanese fan.

Uchiwa for Hay in Milan

The Uchiwa chair by Doshi Levien takes its name and its rounded shape from a rigid hand-held fan, which is made from a circular piece of paper attached to a bamboo handle.

The chair's moulded polyurethane shell is upholstered in either soft down with a quilted cover for use in domestic interiors or more durable moulded foam for the contract market.

Uchiwa for Hay in Milan

Designer Jonathan Levien told Dezeen that Hay gave the studio an open brief to create a comfortable armchair, with the condition that it should also be affordable.

"In a sense it was as free as any other project in creative terms, only we had to make a piece with economy of production in mind," said Levien.

The designers spent seven months developing the product - focussing on refining the upholstery process to reduce the amount of stitching required and achieve the required affordability.

Uchiwa for Hay in Milan

"Most of the work in an upholstered piece goes into the stitching, so we found a way to minimise this while coming up with an expressive gesture through clever pattern cutting," Levien explained.

The chair's shell is injection moulded in a rounded shape ,with folds on the rear adding structure and creating sharp lines that contrast with the soft upholstery of the seat.

The expansive shell is supported by a compact oak frame that matches the curve on the underside of the seat and is also available in a stained grey finish.

Uchiwa for Hay in Milan
Designer Nipa Doshi reclines in an Uchiwa chair

An accompanying foot stool has also been developed and Doshi Levien is working with Hay to expand the Uchiwa collection by introducing a low back version of the chair.

Uchiwa was presented by Hay at their space during last week's Salone Internazionale del Mobile. Doshi Levien also exhibited projects for several other manufacturers, including a collection of patterned rugs that reference tribal Indian embroidery, a cabinet resembling a multicoloured patchwork and a lounge chair with a woolly headrest.