Hob Chair

Many modern designs base their concept and execution on the dynamic qualities of upholstery. Especially in applications with rigid foam, the modern aesthetic is informed by the notion of minimizing extraneous parts.

This often means that “the upholstery is the chair,” that the designer molds the shape from the foam, creating pieces whose form and functionality is owed to this type of innovative application (see Cassina Aspen Sofa, Koochy Sofa, and Do Chair). Now comes Hob by Vertijet Studios for Cor. This piece, a terrific example of a re-conceptualized use for a pedestrian material, is the inverse-at first glance, one might be prone to inquire “where’s the foam?”

Hob Chair. Designed by Vertijet Studios. Manufactured by Cor.

The essence of Hob is that “the upholstery isn’t the chair,” or, as explained by the product literature, “Where is the upholstery? An understandable question when one looks at Hob. The answer is that less is sometimes more.” This means that there is no upholstery, that Hob takes concept and execution from the dynamic qualities of wood-plain old ply, in fact. The chair takes its internal structure from an age old application called “bentwood,” which is exactly that-laminate sheets manipulated with steam and pressure and made to harden into all manner of funky shapes. A silky smooth layer of felt or leather and a sleek aluminum frame complete the picture.

Hob Chair

Hob is a great example of how new uses of new technologies (or new uses of old technologies) help bind form to function. With Hob, the result is a conversation piece that does double duty as a great chair. From a utilitarian perspective, the piece has a “how does it do that?” aura: the curved bentwood creates the floating appearance of the seat, which confounds expectations of how a chair is supposed to work and calls attention to Hob’s simplicity; while from an aesthetic perspective, the single-piece curvature is visually striking. Resembling a hugely lapping tongue or, perhaps, the bizarrely asynchronous surf of some haywire crimson sea, Hob is both playful and strange, or, to put it another way, two parts attractive and one part repellent-a formulation once proposed as a definition of great art, or, if you prefer, great furniture.

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