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Oslo Mixed Seats exhibition

Mixed Seats aims to show "what a chair could be"

Designer Ali Shah Gallefoss invited 15 creatives to design their own interpretation of a chair that is suitable for a public space, all of which were presented as a recent exhibition in Oslo, Norway.

Called Mixed Seats, the exhibition was curated by Shah Gallefoss and exhibition platform Pyton.

Mixed Seats exhibition
Mixed Seats featured a series of concrete chairs including one by Henrik Ødegaard

It featured an installation of concrete chairs from Norwegian creatives including designers Henrik Ødegaard and Maja Pauline Bang Haugsgjerd, which were arranged in a cluster outside at a square next to Oslobukta shopping centre.

The project stemmed from Pyton inviting the participants to a dinner party for which they were asked to design and bring their own chairs.

Tron Meyer designed a blue chair while Jonas Løland made a stool

Architect, designer and artist Tron Meyer created a textured blue seat with a chunky backrest while architect Jonas Løland offered a sandy-hued stool with three-pronged legs.

"The chairs are individual suggestions for what a chair could be," Shah Gallefoss told Dezeen.

"They're fun, bold, weird, serious, and playful, just like the group of individuals that made them."

Maja Pauline Bang Haugsgjerd created a swirling stool

While the creatives were free to add additional materials to their chairs, they were instructed to use concrete as their base material. The furniture was made at a collective workshop held in Drammen.

Some of the offerings feature colour while others were kept simple, such as an ambiguous, rough concrete stool in the shape of a star or flower by designer Christoph Boulmer.

Mixed Seats exhibition
Spindly wooden legs make up Kevin Kurang's abstract stool

"The variation in shapes and sizes made an appealing composition," reflected Shah Gallefoss.

"When they arrived at the square at Oslobukta they looked like small ants, with the huge Munch museum in the background."

Flower-shaped seat
Christoph Boulmer designed a flower-shaped chair

Shah Gallefoss himself contributed a chair design to the exhibition with a squat concrete seat attached to a sculptural metal backrest.

After the exhibition was dismantled, the curator explained that each of the chairs has travelled to a new location to be repurposed in various ways.

Chair by Shah Gallefoss
Shah Gallefoss contributed his own design to the exhibition

Industrial designer Falke Svatun created seating made from two abstract cylindrical concrete components that has now been placed in Oslo's Sentralen restaurant while product designer Bjørn van de Berg's stool featured at Stockholm Design Week.

"It is [often said] that Norwegians don't like to sit next to another person on the bus," joked Shah Gallefoss.

"But the majority of outdoor furniture [created] is benches that invite people to sit down and disturb your peace and quiet. That made me think about personal space in a public setting."

As well as exploring suitable seating for public spaces, another key objective of Mixed Seats was to showcase and encourage multidisciplinary creativity across Norway, according to Shah Gallefoss.

"I hope that by introducing fifteen creatives [to each other], the exhibition will plant a seed that will grow and strengthen collaborative efforts between the different disciplines, and in the end, build a stronger design industry," he concluded.

Chair by Falke Svatun
Two cylindrical components make up Falke Svatun's chair

Other recent chair designs include a chubby furniture collection by Holloway Li and Uma Objects that was presented at London Design Festival and a chair made of plastic rubbish by design studio Space Available and DJ Peggy Gou.

Mixed Seats was on display as part of Oslo Runway in Norway, which took place from 23 to 28 August in Oslo, Norway. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.

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Mixed Seats exhibition
Mixed Seats exhibition
Mixed Seats exhibition
Mixed Seats exhibition
Mixed Seats exhibition