SIA Chair

Tom Fereday for NAU

Tom Fereday wanted to create a chair that was slim yet comfortable. Quite often the compromise with slim chairs is comfort, and this formed the inspiration for the development of an articulated backrest. The dining space is often tricky in terms of the space available. The goal was to develop a slim dining chair that would be accessible to anyone no matter where they lived, but didn’t compromise on the luxury and comfort of dining; something that could fit into anyone’s home.

The SIA chair is about movement, and was named after its unique adjustable backrest. Inspired by traditional bearings, the SIA chair is slender in design yet uncompromising in comfort. Shaped from solid ash, the SIA chair curves to the body’s form while using the minimum amount of timber required to achieve comfort. The chair is contrasted by a minimal stainless-steel frame that supports the sculptural timber elements and allows for a stackable design. Solid bronze self-lubricating sleeve bearings elegantly assemble to the chair frame, allowing for smooth angle adjustment of the chair and structural support for the backrest. Using the natural flex of the steel frame, the backrest is simply press-fit assembled allowing for minimal shipping volume and easy end-of-life recycling or repair.

Balancing comfort and aesthetics can be very challenging, especially with slimmer chairs. Backrests are often the biggest source of discomfort for people of varying sizes. The adjustable backrest was a way to tackle this, but it posed a number of challenges – particularly in finding a way it could be aesthetically pleasing as a design detail and yet simple to manufacture. It was the most difficult part of the chair. The frame terminates in the backrest and the use of industrial bronze bearings within the frame allows it to rotate. It turned out to be a very simple solution to what was initially expected to be quite a challenge.

Photography: Fiona Susanto