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SEAT Pavilion: Who Needs Bricks When You Have 400 Chairs?

Despite using over 400 chairs, this new art installation only seats 20 people.

In your life, how many times has a chair let you down? Maybe once or twice? We sit in multiple, new chairs every day. We plunk our bodies onto them without a second thought, and they simply bear the weight time and time again. What else in our world is so durable?

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“Chairs are remarkable pieces of furniture. When you think about the loads they are required to carry, both dynamic and static, in supporting people of all sizes and dimensions, you realize just how strong they actually are,” designer Brian Brush tells Co.Design. “But of course we don’t think of them as structural components, we just think of them as chairs. Their domestic identity overwhelms almost any other interpretation of their use.”

Brian Brush, with Yong Ju Lee and their studio e/b Office, has decided to celebrate the chair in their newest project: SEAT. It’s a pavilion for Atlanta’s Freedom Park, constructed from 400 “simple wooden chairs.”

Of those 400 chairs, you can sit in about 20 of them. The rest are less accessible parts of the 3-dimensional sine wave surface design, a graceful arc of concrete-anchored chairs that will be absurdly difficult to assemble. Because despite the fact that each chair is built the same, the process is a whole lot harder than laying bricks. “With 400 chairs there are 1600 legs, or vertical posts, attached in groups of 4 with connection points varying,” Brush explains. “In order to align the chairs correctly to each other, we will need an instruction set which specifies the chair, the appropriate leg, and the appropriate location for placing the connecting bolt hole in each leg.”

The build process sounds hellacious. But ultimately, the effect of all that painstaking arrangement is what will make SEAT look so mind-bendingly satisfying when the project breaks ground this May. Just be sure not to lean back too far in any of the chairs. If my life experience is any indication, the results could be devastating.

[Hat tip: Archinect]

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About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company. He started Philanthroper.com, a simple way to give back every day.

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