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Aalto University students unveil 12 chairs designed to help you reach nirvana

Interior architecture students from Aalto University in Helsinki have designed a range of colourful chairs, intended to help a sitter reach a mediative state of mind.

The students presented their 12 Nirvana chairs against a bright white backdrop, in an installation at the Stockholm Furniture Fair this week.

Although the chairs differ completely in both look and colour – ranging from bright yellow to deep red – they all had to be made from steel and aluminium sheeting.

"The idea behind using a limited number of materials and restricted dimensions, is to encourage students to concentrate on the essential and on what really matters in design, that is, their personal artistic expression," said tutor Martin Relander.

They also had to be based around the idea of "idleness" – a topic studied by the students for a semester, where they had to consider the consequences it could have for interior architecture and design.

"We started planning chairs for relaxation and idleness, and above all what it means as a state of mind," said student Mindele Grant. "We were playing with the idea if, when relaxing, it is possible to clear one's mind and reach nirvana."

Working alongside staff in the university's workshops, the students experimented with curving the aluminium into different reclining shapes.

Some created rounded chairs designed for the sitter to sink into, while others created a more angular rigid form to support the posture.

"I believe that I can speak for our entire group when I say that this has been one of the most challenging but most rewarding furniture projects," said Grant. "For many of us, the exhibition is the first design project on this scale."

This isn't the first time that Aalto University has presented this kind of project, where students are required to only use certain materials.

During last year's Stockholm Furniture Fair, the school presented a range of chairs made using only three thicknesses of galvanised steel rods.

The furniture fair coincides with Stockholm Design Week 2018, a city-wide exhibition of design. Nirvana will be on show inside the fair's Greenhouse area, a space dedicated to emerging designers and students, until 10 February 2018.

Also on show in the space is a collaborative project by Beckmans College of Design, which saw 12 students team up with six established Swedish brands to create prototype pieces of furniture.

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