Creating the Contemporary Chair: The Gordon Moffatt Gift

Thirty-five provocative and eye-catching contemporary chairs, from a stool coated in Chilean volcanic rock to a hanging seat shaped like a killer whale, are being displayed in the National Gallery of Victoria exhibition Creating the Contemporary Chair: The Gordon Moffatt Gift.

All recently acquired by the NGV through the support of Gordon Moffatt AM, the works explore the continuing allure of the chair and its enduring hold over designers. Some of the most inventive Australian and international contemporary designers are featured including Tord Boontje, Jacopo Foggini, Konstantin Grcic, gt2p, Porky Hefer, Helen Kontouris, Ross Lovegrove, Christien Meindertsma, Patricia Urquiola, Jólan van der Wiel and Oskar Zieta.

Tony Ellwood, Director, NGV, said: “More than almost any other design object, the chair has been subject to endless reinvention and experimentation in material and form. Thanks to the generous support of Gordon Moffatt AM, Creating the Contemporary Chair presents a selection of the most arresting examples from recent decades to explore the varied ways in which the chair continues to be reconsidered by practitioners today.”

Presented as part of the inaugural Melbourne Design Week, Creating the Contemporary Chair explores the significance of chairs as markers of design evolution and as objects embedded with meaning, expression and utility.

Works on display range in date from 1980 to 2016 and include examples of chairs which represented breakthroughs in production, such as Philippe Starck’s daring transparent design for the Louis ghost chair and the ultimate mass produced chair, Jasper Morrison’s Air Chair.

Unique studio-created chairs are also presented including Dirk van der Kooij’s 3D printed Endless chair and Porky Hefer’s handmade hanging seat, Fiona Blackfish, that takes the form of a killer whale.

Other works will demonstrate experimentation with unusual materials such as the Revolution remolten L stool by Great Things to People (gt2p), a stool coated in remelted volcanic rock harvested from Chile’s Villarrica volcanos.

Throughout history, chairs have been utilised across diverse cultures and designed for use as seats of power, discourse, commerce, rest and domesticity. The pervasiveness of chairs, coupled with their long roots in tradition, elevates their significance – leading designers to embrace the chair as a typology within which to reveal their own capability, individuality and inspiration.

Creating the Contemporary Chair: The Gordon Moffatt Gift is on display at NGV International from 17 March – November 2017. Open daily, 10am-5pm. Entry is free.

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