a little crazy and happy, our everyday objects become a regressive pleasure… – Marc BrÃˆtillot
It was a chair, it is no more a chair / it was function, it is fun. – Alok Nandi
In a society that stigmatizes always more sugar consumption, this playful chair is a manifesto in favor of the sweet life! – Caroline Champion
Aesthetics and realism or surrealism that carries the function. – Alexandre Gauthier
We designed the first chair fully made out of sugar. Everybody could edit his chair. The sugarchair is working as the blueprint for the consumer, he turns part of the design concept. The consumer has to personalize the sugarchair with his consume in his own style. The basic form of consumption is licking and eating: The more you consume from the chair the less raw material you have. Overconsumption will lead to the loss of functionality and is linked to the functionality of our world as a whole.2. The Brief: Summarize the problem you set out to solve. What was the context for the project, and what was the challenge posed to you?
The challenge was more how to implement the approach and in the process. We had a lot of people that said that this approach is not design, that we are going the wrong way. The biggest challenge was to confront a very gridlocked perspective from designers that designed shelves all their life.
This concept pushed their usual design approach so far in two dimensions.
First of all we think that design should open up options for the consumer. Design has a function for distinction; we want to go beyond the process of buying, we want to be the consumer as an active part of the design. The future of design will be an union between consumer and designer in an early stage to the recycling of the product. We can not make an shelf and celebrate us because of our delighted point of view.
Normally new production techniques are leading to new chair designs, but we thought we could change this process the other way around. We came up with a material that we first thought it would be impossible to build anything. Through research, try and error we solved the problem and build the sugarchair.
We did not solve any problem, (except a lot of problems on an operative process level) we wanted to question again.3. The Intent: What point of view did you bring to the project, and were there additional criteria that you added to the brief?
We wanted to question with this design again, without being too obvious.
The context of design is spreading, we are not any more in a form follows function doctrine, we need to question the surrounding an the use of a design with different criteria’s. This may leads to visualisation of thoughts that can be showed, discussed. We think that design has to develop in this direction soon.
The future of design in industrialized space will be for sure personalisation, but will the future of food and resources in the rest of the world be design? Is the picture of a chair designing designer still actual?
We have to manage our resources and we have to design ways how we can do this for as many people as we can, so what design can edge out the polarity of design for the rich and design for the poor on the edges of the pyramid, eating on the one hand and self distinction on the other? The sugarchair could be a symbol for this polarity.4. The Process: Describe the rigor that informed your project. (Research, ethnography, subject matter experts, materials exploration, technology, iteration, testing, etc., as applicable.) What stakeholder interests did you consider? (Audience, business, organization, labor, manufacturing, distribution, etc., as applicable)
We need good ideas. We work as team. We work from different angels. We work with a lot of research. We have time for a lot of tries. We work slow. We sleep over it. We work a lot on details. We write an thesis every project with relevant scientific informations. We value manufacturing. We work in an iterative process untill its good. We confront business and shareholder with our ideas. We collect the opinions and evaluate them. And we consider design as an disciplin to maximize the options of the consumer.5. The Value: How does your project earn its keep in the world? What is its value? What is its impact? (Social, educational, economic, paradigm-shifting, sustainable, environmental, cultural (see larger cultural question below), gladdening, etc.)
Its kept alive by the interest, specially by the persons that share and see it. The char was seen in media by about 15 million people (estimated), that have read magazines, blogs and books with the sugarchair.
Secondly the chair has been recognized by a lot of design critical people, has been showed times in Exhibition, galleries, salone milano and the cologne biennale.6. How is your project positioned on a cultural level? Or, are there elements that show a blending of cultures or is it monocultural?
Yes and no. Sugar is mostly known for a strictly monocultural thing, but we think eating and personalisation should be the most distinctiv desires. We tried to unify this in a design. Secondly sugar is material that is based on a trade agreement and defines a form of dependes between first and third world countries. We tried to show this different approaches and fields for design.7. Does your project have nutritional elements? If so, are these elements available and affordable on a global or local level?
Sugar is a very durable and affordable on a global level. Sugar is always based on a trade agreement, a new form of capitalism to stabilize the prices for example in the European union. We will have sugar in the future as a basic material for plastics, oil and a lot of other raw materials. Sugar is a very complex material that will have a great impact in the future regarding to the end of the fossil resources.