Gustav Winsth and Alexander Lervik use virtual reality to design real-life chair

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Swedish designers Gustav Winsth and Alexander Lervik have unveiled a chair that was designed in virtual reality and brought to life by skilled metalworkers who normally work on motorcycles.

The Reality chair formed part of the Stockholm Furniture Fair exhibition Älvsjö Gård, a showcase of collectable and limited-edition furniture pieces.

Winsth and Lervik developed the design through a series of virtual design sessions. Instead of meeting in person, they would put on virtual reality (VR) goggles and come together via the digital platform Gravity Sketch.

The bulbous form of the Reality chair is crafted from aluminium

This led them to create a completely freeform design, featuring bulging volumes that are reminiscent of inflatables.

“Drawing in the VR world is like working with clay,” Winsth told Dezeen. “It’s such a great tool for creating these kinds of surfaces.”

Rather than allowing the design to be shaped by physical constraints, Lervik and Winsth waited until later in the process to think about how the chair might be manufactured.

It was made by specialists who typically shape motorcycle gas tanks

Keen to produce the design in metal, the only solution was to work with skilled sheet-metal specialists who typically use their skills to shape motorcycle gas tanks.

The bulbous shapes were created through a process of manual pressure turning.

Winsth sees the project as an example of how futuristic technology can create new possibilities for traditional craft techniques.


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“To create these really soft shapes, you can’t go to a large-scale manufacturer,” he stated. “You have to go back in time and find a real craftsman, someone who can make something out of nothing.”

The result is a chair made entirely out of polished aluminium, with the only visible weld lines located where the smoothly curved seat meets the legs and the backrest.

A red version was painted by expert airbrushers

The Reality chair is the first collaboration between Lervik, who is well-established on the Scandinavian design scene, and Winsth, who is one of Sweden’s most promising young talents.

Lervik initiated the partnership after being impressed by how Winsth was already using VR in his design practice. A recent example is the Tension Trolley, launched by Swedish brand Lammhults, which was designed in the same way.

“I’m fascinated by new technology,” Lervik said.

Gustav Winsth (left) and Alexander Lervik (right) designed the chair in virtual reality

The collaboration involved the pair both bringing sketches into the virtual space. Winsth would use hand-held controllers to translate the designs into full-size 3D visualisations they could critique and refine.

“Drawing furniture in the air, with me in my studio and Gustav in his, and then seeing the finished result next to other armchairs – it’s like magic,” said Lervik.

“When I take off my headset, it’s almost like I forget it’s not physically there.”

The pair would put on VR goggles and meet in the digital platform Gravity Sketch

The Reality chair was on show at Älvsjö Gård in two versions.

One had a polished silver finish while the other featured a red colour gradation that was achieved with the help of a specialist airbrush painting studio.

The chairs were displayed alongside VR binoculars, allowing visitors to step into the virtual studio and understand more about the design process.

Winsth used hand-held controllers to translate sketches into 3D visualisations

Älvsjö Gård was one of several curated exhibitions at this year’s Stockholm Furniture Fair, which offered a positive response to the challenges facing the traditional trade fair format.

Other designers presenting their work at Älvsjö Gård included Carsten in der Elst, who attracted attention with his Greywacke Offcut Collection furniture made from sandstone offcuts and his playful Pasta Chair.

The photography is by Martin Brusewitz.

Älvsjö Gård was on show at the Stockholm Furniture Fair, which was open to the public from 7 to 11 February 2024. See Dezeen Events Guide for more architecture and design events around the world.

The post Gustav Winsth and Alexander Lervik use virtual reality to design real-life chair appeared first on Dezeen.

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