Furniture

PETAL CHAIR, LOUNGE, AND STOOL COLLECTION

Technology can curb ambition. A designer’s intentions are often compromised by practical limitations as much as financial ones. While the 20th century saw spectacular shapes fashioned out of fiberglass and plastics, creating radical lines from timber was a challenge. You could steam bend, and of course carve, but for industrial production of a design from wood, there were limitations. For certain visionary practitioners, it was their refusal to accept those limitations that contributed to their legacy.

One of the most significant innovations of the last 100 years in wood came in the early 1940s from the studio of Charles Eames, who was working as a set painter at MGM Studios and experimenting with molding plywood as a personal side project. His subsequent work for the military – creating leg splints with compound curves to follow the shape of a limb –served as R&D for the now iconic Eames LCW. Wooden furniture had never looked so radical or modern.

Charles and Ray Eames were still limited by what they could do with their plywood. Today, 3D wood veneer allows for wild organic shapes to be realized in sliced veneers of American Walnut, European Oak, Black Cherry, Ash or Beech. Danzer in Germany is the sole company producing materials for 3D veneer – the company has been innovating in hardwoods for over 80 years, and in 2008 acquired Reholz, a radical engineering hub in Dresden. It is the workshops of what was formerly Reholz that have pioneered 3D wood veneer for myriad uses in design.

The BassamFellows Petal chair is the most advanced 3D molded wood veneer chair ever put into commercial production. It takes some of its inspiration from Saarinen’s Tulip chair, and also offers a dialogue with the history of the Eames experiments. “We want to make the best for the most for the least,” Charles Eames said, and along with how liberating the technology of 3D wood veneer is, the financial realities of it are also a considerable factor. The Petal chair is state of the art and environmentally friendly, but the industrial nature of the process behind it, and its economic use of materials, makes for a democratic price point. It sits neatly alongside Jacobsen’s Series 7 Chair from Fritz Hansen in terms of function and aesthetic, but has a notably more expressive form. The super-shaped wood mimics the unfolding of flower petals, creating a comfortable ergonomic form. The back is wider at its top to provide support, while rolled waterfalls of shaped wood soften the edges. Nature frequently offers the perfect mood board for comfort in design – Saarinen’s Tulip offers a visual play on the flower of the same name, while the soft, smooth splaying of its fiberglass form creates something extremely satisfying to sit in. What can a chair offer, if not the physical pleasure of using it? Petal’s appeal is accentuated by the visual grain of the wood, which resembles the fine detail on a flower – the lines emanating outwards in the direction of a bloom.

It’s fitting that the Petal shell is pressed at Davidson Plyforms in Grand Rapids, MI –the same company that has been pressing the Eames’ molded plywood chairs for decades. It draws a line back to the 1940s, but also represents a significant development for 21st century design. 20 years ago, CNC carving was in its infancy. The ergonomic and organic BassamFellows Tractor stool – which debuted in Milan
in 2003 – was only made possible through use of that technology. Today, it is standard. The Petal is similarly ergonomic and organic-looking, but pushes the boundaries of what’s possible with molding: despite advances in 3D tech, the curvature of the rump of the shell, the waterfall edges and the shape of the arms are all extraordinarily difficult to achieve. But as with Charles Eames’ experiments in the 1940s, technology exists to be developed more than it does to curb ambition. It is constantly being shaped.

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Petal bushes the boundaries of what is possible with wood. It is the most advanced 3D molded wood veneer chair ever put into commercial production.

MARCO FAVALI

The back is wider at its top to provide support, while rolled waterfalls of shaped wood soften the edges.

MARCO FAVALI

The stacking version of the chair stacks to 12 high with a companion trolley.

MARCO FAVALI

Despite advances in 3D tech, the curvature of the rump of the shell, the waterfall edges and the shape of the arms are all extraordinarily difficult to achieve

MARCO FAVALI

The super-shaped wood mimics the unfolding of flower petals, creating a comfortable ergonomic form.

MARCO FAVALI

The lounge chair can be specified with a fully removable seat pad called the Petal Jacket.

MARCO FAVALI

Detail of the Petal Jacket. Pockets slip over the seat back and arms and the pad is anchored underneath the front edge of the seat with a hidden velcro strip

MARCO FAVALI

Organic and ergonomic. Sculpture and comfort

MARCO FAVALI

Petal Counter and Bar Stools utilize a smaller shell with a lower back, proportioned appropriately for the stools without sacrificing comfort.

MARCO FAVALI

CB-292 Petal Counter Stool with Walnut 3D veneer shell and solid Walnut base.

MARCO FAVALI

CB-292M Petal Counter Stool in Oak Raw Effect 3D veneer with powder coated steel base..

MARCO FAVALI

CB-292M Petal Counter Stool in Walnut 3D veneer with powder coated steel base.

MARCO FAVALI

CB-293M Petal Bar Stool in Oak Raw Effect 3D veneer with powder coated steel base.

MARCO FAVALI

The Petal is state of the art and environmentally friendly, but the industrial nature of the process behind it, and its economic use of materials, makes for a democratic price point.

LEAD IMAGE
Today, 3D wood veneer allows for wild organic shapes to be realized in sliced veneers of American Walnut or European Oak.

Photography by Marco Favali

DIMENSIONS

CB-29 Petal Armless Chair
W 19 3/4” D 21 5/8” H 30 3/8” SH 18 1/4”
W 50.2cm D 55cm H 77.2cm SH 46.3cm

CB-290 Petal Armchair
W 23 7/8” D 21 5/8” H 30 3/8” SH 18 1/4” AH 24 7/8”
W 60.7cm D 55cm H 77.2cm SH 46.3cm AH 63.2cm

CB-29M Petal Armless Chair Metal Base
W 19 3/4” D 21 5/8” H 30 3/8” SH 18 1/4”
W 50.2cm D 55 cm H 77.2cm SH 46.3cm

CB-290M Petal Armchair Metal Base
W 23 7/8” D 21 5/8” H 30 3/8” SH 18 1/4” AH 24 7/8”
W 60.7cm D 55cm H 77.2cm SH 46.3cm AH63.2 cm

CB-29SL Petal Armless Chair Sled Base
W 21 3/4” D 21 5/8” H 30 3/8” SH 18 1/4”
W 55.3cm D 55cm H 77.2cm SH 46.3cm

CB-294 Petal Armless Lounge Chair
W 22 1/2” D 25 1/2” H 26 5/8” SH 16 3/4”
W 57.1cm D 64.8cm H 67.5cm SH 42.5cm

CB-295 Petal Lounge Armchair
W 27 1/8” D 25 1/2” H 26 5/8” SH 16 3/4” AH 21 7/8”
W 68.9cm D 64.8cm H 67.5cm SH 42.5cm AH 55.5cm

CB-294M Petal Armless Lounge Chair Metal Base
W 22 1/2” D 25 1/2” H 26 5/8” SH 16 3/4”
W 57.1cm D 64.8cm H 67.5cm SH 42.5cm

CB-295M Petal Lounge Armchair Metal Base
W 27 1/8” D 25 1/2” H 26 5/8” SH 16 3/4” AH 21 7/8”
W 68.9cm D 64.8cm H 67.5cm SH 42.5cm AH 55.5cm

CB-292 Petal Counter Stool
W 17 1/8” D 19 7/8” H 34 1/2” SH 25”
W 43.4cm D 50cm H 87.6cm SH 63.6cm

CB-293 Petal Bar Stool
W 17 1/8” D 19 7/8” H 39 1/4” SH 29 3/4”
W 43.4 cm D 50cm H 99.6cm SH 75.5cm

CB-292M Petal Counter Stool Metal Base
W 17 1/8” D 19 7/8” H 34 1/2” SH 25”
W 43.4cm D 50cm H 87.6 cm SH 63.6 cm

CB-293M Petal Bar Stool Metal Base
W 17 1/8” D 19 7/8” H 39 1/4” SH 29 3/4”
W 43.4 cm D 50cm H 99.6cm SH 75.5cm

MATERIALS
Shell:
3D White Oak Veneer 3D Walnut Veneer
Finish:
Ebonized black lacquer on White Oak. Raw effect lacquer on White Oak. Natural lacquer on Walnut.
Base:
Solid White Oak or Solid Walnut. Base matches shell wood type and finish.
or Tubular steel base with powder coat finish.

Design 2018

MARCO FAVALI