Shapes based on vegetation served as inspiration for the Vegetal chair by Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec. Its plant-like construction, made of polyamide dyed right through, goes right up to the limits of what’s technologically possible, while the six colours that are unusual for plastic chairs highlight the link to nature.
‘As designers, it’s our duty to find new structures and new construction shapes - and this chair is a structure, not just a motif.’ - Ronan Bouroullec
Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec’s interest in organic shapes has manifested itself previously in the ‘Algues’ they designed for Vitra in 2004. This preference - and the knowledge of a technique which in 19th century America was used to bring young trees into the shape of a chair while growing - gave the designers the idea of a chair that could look like it had grown naturally.
Neither Ronan nor Erwan Bouroullec could have imagined what they’d have to do until the new chair - Vegetal - satisfied their shared demands:
they didn’t want a design that just looked like it had grown naturally. Much more, they also wanted a construction method that would most resemble an organically grown structure and reinterpret it credibly. Four years of intense joint work passed between the first ideas and the presentation of the finished chair made of dyed polyamide: flat beams resembling branches weave and branch out asymmetrically across three levels on Vegetal to a seat shell, which forms an irregular circle and is carried by what looks like four naturally grown legs.
To provide the best possible appearance of natural vegetation with the stability and lightness required as well as good seating comfort, countless models were produced in a trial and error process for Vegetal and the technological boundaries of the injection moulding process pushed to their absolute limits.The Vegetal chair by Vitra is available in various colours with plastic glides (for carpeted floors) or optionally with felt glides (for solid floors), with a frame made of chrome-plated and powder-coated steel.