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Almost Genius

Recession Chair Pokes Designers For Living Under A Rock

Frank Tjepkema's Recession Chair makes a statement about design's obliviousness to the economic crisis.

Recession Chair Pokes Designers For Living Under A Rock

In October 2011, designer Frank Tjepkema (a.k.a. Tjep) attended Dutch Design Week. "I was struck by how little the design world seems to react to the immanent economic crisis threatening Europe and the world," he says.

In an effort to make up for his colleagues’ deficiencies, Tjep created the Recession Chair. Starting with an Ikea chair—we think it’s a Lanni—Tjep took a sander to it, "sanding it to the finest possible version."

"The resulting object is barely functional as it most likely wont withstand the weight of the person it’s trying to support," says Tjep, "much like a society plagued by recession." The chair, in other words, is no longer a mass-produced cheap artifact, now it’s a one of a kind hand-sanded spindly objet-d’art, exquisitely non-functional except as a statement.

But as statements about design and excess go, I find myself more drawn to Ore.e Ref.'s call to stop designing chairs altogether.