DesignerPages Media
Categories: Contract | HospitalitySeating

Tolima Chair

Among the past century’s innovations and improvements to the technology of the chair, three notables top my list: Alvar Aalto’s Paimio Chair (see also his Artek Lounger), Frank Gehry’s Wiggle Chair, and Walter Papst’s Three-Legged Chair. The first showed us how to bend a single sheet of laminate wood into an elegant and functional curve; the second demonstrated the use of unorthodox (as well as cheap and readily available) materials; and the third showed us how to balance on three legs.

Tolima Chair. Designed by Will Oltman.

Today’s best designers continue to be influenced by these greats; have a look at Four Chairs in One, Spring Chair, and Omega Chair and Desk for some recent examples. And add one more to the list, the Tolima Chair by Will Oltman. The Michigan-based designer is presently finishing up his BFA in Industrial Design, so his inspired Tolima is just a taste of what’s to come.

Named for the Nevado Del Tolima Volcano in the mountains of Columbia, the chair embodies the powerful elegance of a natural phenomenon. The three-legged design (contrary to Papst’s piece, Oltman’s single-leg is oriented to the rear) defies expectations yet achieves a consummate functionality. It also allows for a feature Oltman calls a “shock mount connection”: “A single bolt threaded through a rubber mounting pad ties the rear leg to the bottom of the seat. The simple connection creates structural rigidity as well as allowing the seat to compress for a comfortable and delightful sitting experience.”

The seat back and single leg also establish the curvaceous profile that gives Tolima a distinctive aesthetic. The spidery yet sensuous legs and fan-shaped back provide an extra-terrestrial aspect, aligning it with some other other-worldly pieces we’ve profiled: HGW and the Ondine Bench. But Tolima has organic elements as well. Similar to the mountainous region it’s named for, it meanders and undulates, rises and falls in surprising and eye-catching ways—just like a snaking river or a tumbling expanse of molten lava. And the chair is versatile as well. Formally innovative yet inviting and warm, Tolima seems at home wherever you choose to take it. So whether in office or living room, private patio or street-side café, Tolima lends an exotic functionality to your sitting pleasure.

Posted February 26th, 2009 by Joseph Starr


Promo Video


Latest from Otto

h2o architectes Complete A Parisian Apartment Full Of Sloping Lines

French firm h2o architectes have revamped an old s...

Hospitality Construction Services Design Pepita Restaurant in Ballston

Constructed by Rob Mescolotto and his Washington D...

GrizForm Design Architects Reveal New Farmhouse-Inspired Restaurant In Virginia

Award-winning firm GrizForm Design Architects were...

IIDA 2016 Library Interior Design Awards

The IIDA and the American Library Association (ALA...

Inside ImpactFlow’s New Office in Portland’s Evolving Eastside

Portland-based interior design firm Weedman Design...


Do you have a product you would like to share with us? Submit to 3rings.