Constance Guisset recently showed the Dancing Chair at the Maison Objet furniture show in Paris, January 22-26, 2009. A modern take on the rocking chair, Dancing Chair is composed of two pieces—a wooden shell and an upholstered seat. The simple lines of the dancing part of the chair make the structure appear light: the graphic strips of wooden lathes remind me of the balsa bridges high schoolers are regularly forced to construct for science projects.
Dancing Chair. Designed by Constance Guisset.
The Dancing Chair does retain some of the mystique of those balsa projects, as it holds weight while seeming itself weightless. This is the crux of Dancing Chair’s appeal: its lightness. Traditional rocking chairs have been heavy, almost loaded down with their function. But the Dancing Chair looks as if it will fly away instead. The removable upholstered seat is soft and tufted, another aspect of the piece that divorces it from its conventional associations. And the addition of the footstool is brilliant, making for many positions available to the user.
The Dancing Chair was one of 13 projects to receive a VIA Project Assistance Grant. Intended to discover young talent, the VIA grants pair designers with manufacturers and provide financing for prototype development, thus providing “a valuable means of expression for all young design school graduates.” Guisset’s Dancing Chair certainly evinced the talent and ingenuity that the grant seeks to foster, changing a functional piece of furniture into a sculptural form that works against its type. Dancing Chair turns rocking into an airy activity—the perfect pirouetting perch from which to read fairy tales and doze off into dreamland.