Damien Gernay approaches his designs with a certain Alice In Wonderland take on sensory experiences. “Touch becomes volume, sight converts to color, and frequencies take shape,” he says. Things can expand and distort, including the very meaning (or un-meaning) of why they’re shaped the way they are.
His Bloated Stool series, for example, like a recent set of shelves he created, was “inspired by the image of a prominent midriff being constrained by a belt,” Gernay says. It’s an exception in a world where so nearly every other product and business is aimed at shedding, rather than showcasing, those extra pounds. Designing from that gut, Gernay’s new seats are a tactile experiment, he says: “The flexible skin, with its gentle curve, contrasts with the rigid supporting structure, showcasing perfectly the qualities of each material.” By using the human body (belly) as a starting point, the designer stumbled across a novel expression for the sheets of black leather that sandwich with their foam centers.
Bonus: The Bloated Stool also mimics the shape of a Whoopee Cushion, proof of where an experiment with midriffs and materials can lead you.
Puerile references aside, this stool is sound, rather than making a sound. Its most important quality, according to the designer? “It’s very comfortable.”