Never has it been more apt for year-end reflections than in this year. The world is reevaluating its values and priorities, and it is the role of designers to respond to this. In this light, furniture brand Zenith Interiors invited design firms from Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai and Shenzhen to echo their reflections through design and art.
A total of 26 entries reinterpreted Schamburg + Alvisse’s JAC Chair into an emotive art piece that expresses their respective 2020 journeys. Using a range of mediums like paint, fabric, rope, and everyday household items, many participants not only conveyed lessons learnt about humanity, but also a sense of optimism and hope for the road ahead.
Here’s a look at the winners from each city:
Hong Kong Winner: “Flexibility” by Goudie Associates
Using Asia’s ubiquitous moving bag as a starting point, Goudie Associates’ project proposes an extended cushion that can be sculpted according to the individual’s needs and preferences. The astute material choice is familiar and comforting. Conveying the idea of flexibility, adaptability and change, it reflects an experience that is common to all.
Singapore Winner: “AFSMOT” by DB&B
“What may seem like a negative situation could turn out to be one of the biggest positive lessons in our life.”
DB&B placed the JAC Chair on a circular plane that is 1m in diameter—a reminder of the required social distancing in Singapore. A “Picture Plane” that is shaped as a time capsule (a nod to the significant year that 2020 has been) slices the chair in half and offers different perspectives when viewed at all angles. On one side, a deconstructed form in black paint a reflection of our anxieties during the pandemic. But on the other, a white matt surface represents the positive turn we experienced as we prioritised the things that really matter in life.
Shanghai Winner: “Moving On” by Architecture Farm
Architecture Farm references the Chinese sexagenary cycle where the year 2020 ‘Gengzi’ has been a tumultuous one of reckoning. It has been marked by unexpected disasters, an ongoing pandemic and emotions of anxiety, sadness and fear. All this is represented by the a circular “wound” in the back of the JAC Chair. However, a textured medley of stitched yarn wraps the chair, symbolising faith and courage—the cure to wounds and pain. In it, beauty and new meaning in life is found.
Shenzhen Winner: “Rocking Chair” by James Liang & Associates
Taking the JAC Chair as a mould from which to form a wire frame rocking chair, James Liang & Associates wanted to celebrate the simple joys in life. “Inspired by the seesaw, we hope that when people sit on the stool, they will forget fatigue and find joy and beauty in life,” says the design firm.
The chair can be adapted to provide different sitting positions. For example, the foot pedals can be converted into hand pads or pillows to protect the spine.