The ∞ chair

Pablo Mariano

See it On Campus: Level 2

Visitor Info

What is the deal with this chair?

This piece is one of the main outcomes of my research within the MDes (interdisciplinary) 2022 program.

Making this chair took around 90 hours of documented work. The project was about designing and manufacturing a piece of furniture to synthesize and put into practice some of my findings and learnings, while testing a technique and a production approach that could help me start developing my professional activity as a designer and craftsman in Vancouver.

Low costs and reduced resources

This is a low-sitting rest chair completely made by hand, using inexpensive and easy-to-source materials and a very reduced infrastructure and set of tools.

The chair’s structure is made of steel rods bent by hand using a torch, the seat and backrest are made of cotton cord as the ones you’d find in a hardware store, and the pieces at the ends of the legs are Birch dowels dyed with anilines and water.

The motivations behind the chair

Conceptual + Entrepreneurial

I wanted to make a piece of furniture with as few resources and materials as possible to prototype a scenario of scarcity within the settings of the university, as a strategy for testing the notion that a lack of infrastructure and resources, combined with an intense self-training of a handicraft skill, could generate new techniques and possibilities for me as a maker.

I looked to train my resourcefulness through limitations and test my skills and the technique I was exploring to determine if working with a reduced infrastructure and resources would be feasible. I only used an oxyacetylene torch, a workbench, a clamp and just a few inexpensive hand tools. I didn’t use a welder, the joints where only done by winding the steel rods tightly between each other.

My rationale was that if I was able to make a challenging object such as a chair with just those few things, then I could use this approach to produce similar objects when opening my next shop without requiring a really big and risky investment of money that I currently don’t count with.

The ∞ chair was my opportunity to test some of the practicalities of that assumption while reflecting and analyzing on the experience and outcomes.

Technique + Skill set

This chair is the culmination of a series of material and technique explorations that I engaged with during the program, as a way to make things at home in COVID-19 times. The process started early on the program with illustrations that explored the line as the predominant formal element. Those explorations continued, later materializing in wire, then strings, and finally steel rods.

Through different mediums, I explored the same gesture of repeatedly bending and winding lines around lines. The outcomes could be illustrations or abstract objects made of strings, wire or steel. The reinterpretation of those gestures in different materials enabled me to find a creative language and a type of forms that were new to me.

The ∞ chair was a project to convey all those previous explorations in a concrete and functional object while testing the possibilities of a promising technique that allowed me to create in a different way. This chair was a challenge to myself as a designer and maker, pushing me to envision and make the whole object by using just a single technique and a single gesture repeated hundreds of times.

Pablo Mariano

I'm seeking opportunities
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I’m from Argentina, 35 years old, and I’m a musician and composer, wood + metal worker, and designer, now based in Vancouver, BC.

My next professional steps involve establishing a shop in Vancouver for making my own furniture, jewelry, and as many objects as I can. However, work is work and I’m always open, so if you have something I can be of help with, please do let me know.

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