Royal College of Art, 2019

backyard + old chair + wire + friends + time + beers = good time


This is not (only) a piece of furniture.
This is a ceremonial experience.

When you go to a famous blue and yellow Swedish furniture store, you will have to assemble your purchase at home. That is not only lowering the price of the product, but it is also part of the concept. The so called “IKEA-effect” happens subconsciously on a psychological level. Because you have built your furniture yourself (partly at least) you form some kind of personal attachment to it.

So.. what if this is reversed;
You don’t assemble yourself, you destroy yourself?

By giving you the opportunity to burn the raw chair, bench, table, whatever, wrapped in wire, it will be your decision how you are doing it. It aims to provide an activity for that you can invite friends and family. If you prefer to do it alone in a midsummer night, reminiscing about old days, you can surely do so. However you are deciding to put it to the stake, the process will involve time and this is the time you will remember.

If that is feasible as a product really is to further testing, it might not be, but the one night I tried tells the story.

Summer of 2019.
The process of wrapping over 600 metres of wire around a street-salvaged chair took me 12 hours of manual labour. In order to ease the workload I chose 1mm wire as it is more flexible, taking the high risk that the structure will be to ‘wobbly’ after the wood is gone. With all that time with myself and my thoughts, I was really looking forward to seeing it burn. I came up with the idea to share this experience with my friends. At that point I wasn’t sure how it would work out and if we will manage to burn it completely. We gathered in the most perfect backyard of Shoreditch and opened some beers.

Some old logs kept the fire running for about two hours, but the varnish of the wood somehow prevented it from catching fire properly. White spirit now and then did the job to finally get rid of it. In order to combust the chair enteriely we needed to keep the fire at a fairly high flame. Eventually the logs were gone so we went off to collect a pallet from a nearby store. After dismantling it and feeding the crippling fire, the flames went back up and reached the upper parts of the chair.

Not that it was a surprise, but as soon as the wooden structure couldn’t support its‘ own wheight the chair began to collapse. So we put it on its side and just let it go.

The process of the not so little bonfire took around four hours, half a bottle of whiskey, two bottles of wine, 16 beers and around 43518 topics we discussed. Thanks Max, Felix and Aqib for hosting me and doing this with me! It was a good time...