Chairs seem to exist in two states. Either there’s a person sitting in the chair, or it’s buried under jackets, hats, and bags. For some, coat racks and closets don’t really exist. For guilt-ridden folks who are unable to curtail the habit of throwing their clothes on a chair, Arash Eskafi, a student from Sweden’s Konstfack has a fix: the Berg.
When tasked to design a concept on the theme of negative space, Eskafi began at square one, with open-ended research. He conducted workshops in which he asked participants to render an aerial view of their homes and trace their activity during the first five minutes of walking into the door. Colors signaled the day of the week, the time of day. Not knowing what he would find, Eskafi analyzed 30 different maps. The common denominator was obvious: People everywhere have a habit of walking in the door, and instead of hanging their coats and scarves in closets, they throw them haphazardly onto a nearby chair.
“There is a saying in Sweden, when one is somewhat messy: one leaves behind a mountain of clothes,” says Eskafi. “Fairly quickly I decided that I wanted to build some kind of mountain or mountain range.” By welding stainless steel into a 3-D grid with undulating ridges, Eskafi created the Berg (the Swedish word for mountain, of course).
Look at Berg dead on, and you’ll see nothing but negative space. Adjust your angle, or throw dirty clothes on top, and that space shifts into new shapes. Besides changing our line of sight, Eskafi’s piece also alters our attitude toward the space: “I started to reflect on the idea of turning something otherwise considered negative into something fun and positive.” And one less bit of housekeeping to worry about.