Martí Guixé | About
Concepts and Ideas for Commercial Purposes

WeChair | Nanjin Crafts | Nanjin

Last week I had to teach my last class at SPD Milan by videoconference, something completely out of the ordinary, but in the end neither difficult nor disagreeable. My 26 students presented their finished projects from their various homes, and I was in Barcelona.

In 2017 it was proposed that I do a project related to Chinese handicrafts, in collaboration with local artisans in the city of Nanjing. From that project was born WeChair, a chair that puts the traditional in the contemporary by re-functionalizing the chair by including a mechanism to install a mobile or tablet. 

I wasn’t aware of it at the time, but I was making a school chair for the contemporary student or remote worker. (Martí Guixé 2020)

In 2017 I made a drawing representing a lifestyle scene, following in the Chinese tradition. Unfortunately there are no good images of the prototype. The official text that accompanied the project was as follows:

Furniture of the Ming period (1368-1644) could be considered as a form of proto-modern furniture, extremely simple, elegant, robust and functional. With chairs, the concept of functionality extends to the representation of hierarchies and ranges through the use of ergonomics. The structure of the chair accompanies the dress while it forces the body to take the postures and gestures consistent with the social status and role played.

Chinese culture preserves or illustrates the way furniture and everyday objects are used through depictions of everyday scenes. While there is extensive documentation of these lifestyle scenes, there are no technical drawings of furniture. This is relevant to my chair since the project deals with the design of an object by its use and its integration into lifestyle, and not in the design and development of techniques or technologies for its construction. WeChair is made for contemporary life, for a new generation of people with new attitudes and lifestyles.

WeChair is a low wooden chair that promotes a casual and relaxed pose. It references one of the most copied chair types of the Ming period.  At the end of the left arm there is a wooden mechanism that allows the sitter to attach a mobile device and regulate it on its horizontal and vertical axes. Thus, the user of the chair can chat, videochat, or watch movies or video clips hands-free, while sitting, eating, and relaxing. (Martí Guixé, 2017)