The Bubble without the Bubble: Eero Aarnio’s Ring Chair

Everyone knows about Eero Aarnio’s Ball Chair, and that this modern masterpiece has a sort of dual identity as the Bubble Chair. You may even be familiar with the Master’s Pastil Chair—a piece that derives from the negative space of the Ball Chair. According to Aarnio, “a lot of empty, cushioned space is sent to the other side of the world inside the Ball Chair… a new round chair would fit in this space, and so the diameter of the Pastil chair is the same as the opening of the ball chair.” Turns out that Aarnio is still at it, and still fond of expanding or inverting earlier pieces to create intriguing new designs. 2009’s Ring Chair is not so much an inverse of the Bubble Chair but rather a kind of inspired subtraction.

Ring Chair. Designed by Eero Aarnio.

Manufactured in Finland by Melaja, Ltd., Ring takes the protective transparency of Bubble one step further by removing the enclosure entirely. The result is the kind of protective embrace present only in one’s imagination, but anyone who had a childhood knows that’s the best kind. The signature feature of Ring is the broad circular swath of tubular metal that encircles the sitter like an enchanted silver nimbus. The rest is, like Bubble before it, a spacious and comfortable seat with the additional boon of your choice of luxurious Kvadrat Fabric.

The Bubble without the Bubble: Eero Aarnio's Ring Chair

Following his earlier dictum that “there is no nice way to make a clear pedestal” (or an imaginary one, for that matter), Aarnio eschews a ground-bound base in favor of hanging Ring from on high—courtesy of a classic metal chain attached to the ceiling. Like Bubble and Ball before it, Ring is a worthy addition to the life’s work of one of the most influential designers of all time. The piece has architectural, sculptural, and functional appeal. As with any of Aarnio’s furnishings, it’s bound to steal the thunder from any other items in its purview. Your houseguests will be more than eager to experience the apparent paradox of its cozy yet boundless confines.

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