The original rocking chair likely wasn’t even a chair. It was a crib, until sometime in 18th-century Europe (as far as records show), when that back-and-forth tipping motion was converted into something upright and adult. It didn’t take long for early American industrial designers to create the now-classic Windsor Rocker. The Philadelphia-born favorite sported a bow-spindled, hooped back and quickly became a front-porch favorite.
Now, in the hands of German Paulsberg design studio, the rocking chair looks more like a rocket ship. Their mixed-media version is built primarily from a carbon-fiber reinforced concrete composite. “We wanted to create something totally new,” says Lars Schmieder, the studio’s managing partner. “Swing addresses a younger, hipper crowd.”
Swing is actually the Dresden-based studio’s final piece in a collection of furniture inspired by the easily shaped new composite material, which can be slimmed down to a thickness of just five millimeters. Whereas most concrete furniture is designed with square edges and weighs a staggering amount, Swing checks in at 66 pounds (sprightly for a chair in the cement family).
Of course, it’s hardly the first modernized take on the porch rocker–Frank Gehry’s Easy Edges did it in the 1970s, and then Ron Arad drafted his glam, pop art version–but Paulsberg’s contrasting materials deliver a new sensory twist.
“We wanted to create a soft chair, that you can literally sink into, [giving] a feeling of security. This is normally not an attribute for concrete at all,” Schmieder tells Co.Design. “On the other hand, we wanted sitting to be fun, having this bonus of rocking.”