Andrea Mestre questions how office chairs should look and feel with rattan frame

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Andrea Mestre questions how office chairs should look and feel with rattan frame

Influenced by the blurring of home and work environments, RCA graduate Andrea Mestre has designed an office chair made from rattan.

Andrea Mestre's Gandia chair explores the properties of the rattan cane.

The chair, called Gandia, features a flexible backrest and seat that encourage movement throughout the working day.

Made up of a circular frame, the backrest is connected to the chair's frame with a pivot joint. Meanwhile, a series of seven flexible cane rods curve round 90 degrees to join the backrest to the chair's seat. The seat slides in and out on a rail, so that as the user reclines their back, the seat slides outwards and vice versa.

Andrea Mestre's Gandia chair explores the properties of the rattan cane.

"This dynamism encourages you to move inside the chair, in order to avoid stress and tension caused by sitting in a fixed position for long working hours," said Mestre.

To provide a sustainable alternative to plastic office chairs, Mestre chose to construct the chair from rattan – a fast-growing palm from Asia that has an average growth of only five to seven years and a very low-tech harvest.

Andrea Mestre's Gandia chair explores the properties of the rattan cane.

"Rattan is a material with an outstanding flexibility, but this is usually a problem because furniture needs to be properly constrained, otherwise it could lose its shape over time," explained Mestre. "Here, instead of fighting against that flexibility, I am taking advantage of it."

"With the flexibility of rattan I am achieving the same range of dynamism but with the least amount of pieces possible – without the need to use lots of mechanisms and highly engineered plastics."

Andrea Mestre's Gandia chair explores the properties of the rattan cane.

Mestre is a graduate of the RCA's masters programme in Design Products – a course which aims to educate students to become design leaders who address real-world challenges through balancing high levels of creativity and technical capability with contextual insight and empathy for people.

The Gandia chair, which is currently on display at this year's Royal College of Art (RCA) graduate exhibition, was made in collaboration with the Spanish rattan furniture manufacturer RattanDeco and the Smart Coatings company Valresa.

Andrea Mestre's Gandia chair explores the properties of the rattan cane.

The design is the latest in a number of recent office furniture designs that aim to bring the atmosphere of home into the office. Last year, French designers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec created a furniture range of office furniture for Vitra made from solid wood. The designers said: "It was an important step to realise that its domestic qualities are interesting in the office landscape."

Similarly, earlier this year, Basque studio Iratzoki Lizaso unveiled a series of modular tables with leather details that bring "warmth and richness" to the office environment.

Other graduate projects on display at this year's RCA graduate exhibition include packaging designed for podcasts and a furniture manufacturing system that would combat waste.

The exhibition continues until 2 July at the RCA's Kensington campus in London.

More images

Andrea Mestre's Gandia chair explores the properties of the rattan cane.
Andrea Mestre's Gandia chair explores the properties of the rattan cane.
Andrea Mestre's Gandia chair explores the properties of the rattan cane.
Andrea Mestre's Gandia chair explores the properties of the rattan cane.
Andrea Mestre's Gandia chair explores the properties of the rattan cane.
Andrea Mestre's Gandia chair explores the properties of the rattan cane.
Andrea Mestre's Gandia chair explores the properties of the rattan cane.
Andrea Mestre's Gandia chair explores the properties of the rattan cane.