#031 Group A
The ´Xhosa´ Charity Chair - reciprocity through design
GROUP A´s approach to designing the ONO Charity Chair bears great resemblance to our approach to designing in general. We search for integrated solutions that are practical as well as beautiful, solutions that cross the boundaries of scale.
We are an international studio for architecture with an open and exploring outlook; we work enthusiastically on a broad range of projects. Over the past thirteen years we have worked on offices and theatres, industrial buildings and housing projects, redevelopments and museums. Also, we work on projects of differing scale, comprising concept studies, strategies and urban plans, architecture, interiors and tailor-made product designs. We are convinced of the need to treat interior design, architecture and the surrounding urban landscape as mutually interactive parts of any design solution.
A chair never stands alone; it is part of a larger unity, surrounding a dining table or with other chairs and sofa´s, often facing inward. To strengthen this unity, and to emphasize the contrast between the ´inner circle´ and the ´outside world´,
GROUP A decided to give both the inside´ and the ´outside´ of the ONO charity chair a different appearance. We therefore decided to upholster parts of the chair with fabric. This will have the additional effect of strengthening the chairs´ tactile qualities, emphasising its ergonomic function.
In order to establish a relationship between the inner circle and the outside world, we will make perforations in the fabric - so we can make visible what is hidden underneath - , and we will make perforations in the chair itself - so we can show a side of the fabric that was not meant to be seen, i.e. the back. Where the perforations in the fabric and the chair coincide, the inner circle and the outside world connect, and a whole new pattern emerges.
The patterns we used for the perforations are inspired by patterns used in traditional Xhosa face painting. These patterns are still widely used in South Africa, including in the Langa Township. By using these patterns in our design, we feel we go one step further than just making a contribution to the lives of the people in the Langa Township. The people of the Langa Township themselves also contribute to the design of our Charity Chair by inspiring us with their rich cultural heritage.
In our approach, we seek to address the same values as the Guga S´Thebe cultural centre and AIDS orphanage, which use this rich cultural heritage to strengthen the residents´ self-esteem. We feel both these initiatives have a very positive effect on the lives of the citizens in the Langa Township, and we ourselves feel glad to be able to make a contribution.