Storm Chair

Today I went to the V&A, one of those obvious London tourist attractions that, living here, I’ve never before got round to visiting. Their current exhibition on British design is pleasant enough, if a bit too broadly themed to be really captivating.

All is forgiven, though, because it contained this wonderful chair:

It’s hand-made by Stephen Richards. He calls it the ‘Storm Chair’, for obvious reason. It feels like some scrapyard miracle, as though wooden offcuts of wood have somehow found coherent form.

It’s a shame, though, for this to be a one-off. This should be the product of a genetic algorithm crossed with a CAD program. Tell it to evolve a chair, made from notched sticks of varying lengths, with the requirement to avoid regularity and parallel lines. You’d get not one chair but thousands, evolving towards the chaotic perfection of the storm chair. Tool up a workshop to turn the designs into reality. The carpenter arrives one morning to find a pile of numbered, notched, pieces of wood, and beside it a printout with instructions. She finishes it, only to find the process repeated with a slightly different chair. Lather, rinse, repeat.

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