Visual sleight of hand is hard to sustain in design because, well, the illusion (or joke) may work once, but it gets old pretty quickly. Truth is, people want to live with design magic, not tricks. So for his seemingly gravity-immune Cut Chair, designer Peter Bristol revealed his secret with his product. He put his cards down on the table, drafting a diagrammatic explanation of just how the chair suspends disbelief.
First, a quick walkthrough of the setup: The chair has all the standard parts, i.e., a seat, a back, and legs. Only the latter–“stumps” as the designer calls them–have been sliced at angles, like a light saber had been applied. Three of the legs are discontinuous, separated by gaps that appear to nullify their functionality. A single leg remains intact, fused to the seat and back, neither of which escapes the slice-and-dice. (Both the top of the back and the corner of the seat are shaved off.)
So how does it work? “It’s pretty simple,” Bristol tells Co. Design, pointing to the swatch of carpet that looks like it’s glued to the legs. One easily glosses over its presence, focusing instead on the razzle dazzle of the Suprematist-like form above.
The answer is something like the seating equivalent of Michael Jackson’s patented dance shoes that made the anti-gravity lean possible. (See this amazing GIF.) As Bristol explains it: “The seating surface is cantilevered off the single supporting leg that’s welded to a solid plate. A shaggy rug covers the base plate, and the other legs and cuts work together to complete the illusion.”
Admittedly, the effect is lessened by the necessity of towing the carpet every time you’d want to reposition the chair, though it does seem that the rug can be customized. And Bristol views his product with an apt dose of levity: “It isn’t really a statement, just a fun idea,” he says, the result of his sketching and “playing around.”