Axel Kilian

Chair, 2006

This plywood chair, designed as a puzzle made up of 140 smooth, single curve pieces, is a prototype from research into the aesthetic and structural possibilities for the fabrication of a seemingly light object whose form is not fixed or standard. Here, Kilian utilizes the so-called “surface” design principle, which assumes an association of flat surfaces to produce volumes. One piece, larger than the others, constitutes the basic frame for the subsequent steps in the creative process. Producing a geometric draft is the first step in the project, in order to define the overall aesthetic form. In the next step a parametric model, in the form of mathematical data, formalizes and synthesizes the constraints weighing on the fabrication process, i.e., the properties of the material, the maximum curve permitted, the necessary thickness of the elements, the aesthetic parameters of proportion or of the distribution of parts, the resistance of the joints in terms of friction and assembly, etc. Whereas most designers tend to eliminate these types of interdependence because of their aesthetic impact, Kilian keeps them and integrates them into the process for this very same reason. This computational step makes it possible to refine the initial draft by studying the structural possibilities and those of assembly. Finally, by producing the parameterized model, the prototype supplements the fabrication process.

Gilles Rion

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