Jan Habraken and his team at FormNation have turned the process of designing a chair into a full-on scientific pursuit, imagining what a chair’s ancestors might have looked like based on DNA sequencing, as well as what characteristics constitute genetic perfection. The project is called Chairgenics, and aims to breed the perfect piece of furniture.
As with any experiment, there has to be specific parameters to follow, and this is no different when it comes to designing a chair. FormNation considered the genetic makeup of chairs in terms of ergonomics, durability, construction, costs and aesthetics, which were assigned a 1-10 value for each piece of furniture. The aesthetics value was based on internet search popularity using Google and Yahoo as opposed to visual design.
Collaborating with morphing specialist Mathieu Sanchez, and a small californian-norwegian start-up called uformia, FormNation developed a personal plug-in for chairgenics in rhino, resulting in better-automated breeding towards the ultimate chair. They encountered problems along the way, such as backless chairs and a tendency for design to be “obese,” but over time these difficulties were accounted for, creating a mind-blowing collection of chairs.