Description: Our Ikea hack could quite possibly be the largest Ikea hack ever! This summer we will be constructing a 1000 square foot pavilion made of 400 Ikea Ivar chairs arrayed and stacked in a 3-dimensional sine wave surface rising above the ground in Freedom Park, Atlanta Georgia. It’s public art, but also usable in that people can actually sit on it to socialize and spend time in the park sitting in the chairs.
The design is very particular to the Ikea Ivar chair because the slightly bent angle of the seatback creates a special texture to the sculpture. And the fact that the Ivar chair is constructed with 2 full prefabricated side pieces allows the transfer of load vertically from chair to chair down to the ground in a monolithic, continuous way; the prefab sides act each as bridges, unlike other chairs where the legs are independent of the other elements. The Ivar is optimized structural unit and texture. The other advantage is also the flatpack design made by Ikea. Transporting 400 chairs would be impossible without the flatpack. And the simple assembly is also what makes this chair the perfect chair to be a construction unit for a public pavilion.
We construct SEAT by additively attaching chairs to each other, using wooden wedges and threaded rods to bridge the gaps between the legs and seatbacks. First a central spine arch is made to which all of the “suspended” chairs are then “hung.” Where the chairs touch the ground they are cast into two concrete pads which anchor the pavilion.
Our idea is that from afar, SEAT will appear like a foreign object in the landscape. Closer yet, SEAT will reveal its unique geometric texture created by the special shape of the Ivar chairs. Upon approach, the audience will recognize the compositional objects, and the dexterity with which the chairs are repurposed for art. The audience will be free to sit upon, inside, and underneath SEAT, exploring it as a personal garden playground.
Conceptually, we’re responding to the idea that chairs really are remarkable pieces of furniture. When you think about the loads they are required to carry, both dynamic and static, in supporting people of all sizes and dimensions, you realize just how strong they actually are. But of course we don’t think of them as structural components, we just think of them as chairs. Their domestic identity overwhelms almost any other interpretation of their use. With SEAT we’re turning that identity inside out using chairs as a whimsical element of structural sculpture.
We’re also trying to drum up some help to realize the project. So I’m sending along our Kickstarter campaign. We know it’s a tough time to help, but it’s also a tough time to build. Maybe some of your enthusiastic readers could lend us a hand. We tried Ikea, but they weren’t interested unfortunately. Anyway, it really could be an amazing hack! Thanks for your time and hope you like it.