The atelier is divided in half. The first part looks like a constructor’s workshop with rows of machines and tools. In the other part we immediately notice the conspicuous stand with colourful fabric samples. The first part is the realm of Dietmar Fissl. Angela Eberhardt rules in the other, artistic part of the studio.
This designer duo, known as 2 D O D E S I G N, has been working together in Stuttgart for 12 years. They have come up with the YouTEAMTM line of chairs for Nowy Styl. This line is a perfect epitome of the characteristic 2 D O D E S I G N style, where the fusion of two worlds and two points of view is the key – this is where the masculine meets the feminine to create a unique work of art.
Dietmar Fissl openly admits that without Angela Eberhart, YouTEAMTM chairs, just like all the other office furniture they have designed together, would have been much... bigger. Angela immediately knew that the original size would appeal to men, but if a tiny woman were to sit in one of these chairs, she would not feel comfortable. ‘It would feel like sinking,’ she explains.
In the world of office furniture design you often encounter oversized products, especially chairs. Dietmar is convinced that this is because the designers are mostly men. Women designers are an exception. ‘This is slightly unfortunate: after all, there is roughly the same chance of the chair being used by a man and a woman. And yet it is usually men who get to decide about its shape,’ says Dietmar. ‘It was Angela who opened my eyes to this. Initially, I didn’t realise it was a problem.’
Therefore, the chair includes individual touch from both Angela and Dietmar, as well as the results of their teamwork. This is why the name YouTEAMTM seems just right.
It is not only the feminine touch that makes the YouTEAMTM chair so sleek. It is also the gently arched back line, which – unlike in the vast majority of products – does not end where the seat starts. The designers decided to extend it and let it slide under the seat as part of the casing for the integrated adjustment mechanism. This is what makes the whole construction look lighter. Plus, it is the trademark of this line.
And yet it was not so easy to achieve. It turned out that designing this casing in a computer software repeatedly ended in a failure. In the end, Dietmar Fissl decided to come up with a clay model. It was like creating a sculpture and it took quite long, but the result was stunning. ‘If you look at the chair from the side, you will immediately notice this lightness. At the same time, the chair is exceptionally luxurious and chic,’ both designers explain.
Chic and timeless. But how do you design a timeless chair? ‘It’s definitely not that you sit down, take a clean piece of paper and say:
'Now I’m going to draw something timeless', Angela and Dietmar smile. ‘If we’re talking about the YouTEAMTM chair, we can mention a number of details that account for its character. The profile line is just one of them. It’s good to look at the rear edges of the back, which look as if they were covered with a ribbon. We wanted to make it look like a kind of frame for the chair,’ the designers point to the next detail.
And there is more: the back line is slightly sidecut in its lower section in an hourglass-like shape, dark elements are anthracite rather than black, and the frame of the whole chair is based on parallel lines and matching angles between individual parts.
The whole shape is complemented by the base designed especially for this model. The designers claim the aesthetic role of the base is often underestimated, which is why many designers choose to work with a ready-made component. This is not a good idea.
‘The base is like shoes,’ Angela and Dietmar manage to find the right analogy. ‘You can have a designer dress or suit, but if you couple it with old or dirty shoes, the final effect will be disastrous. On the other hand, if you wear a tee and worn jeans, but opt for decent shoes to go with it, you can still look good.’
If you look at the individual details and aesthetic solutions in the YouTEAMTM chair, you will find no discord or dissonance. They all speak in one voice. They are like a choir. You can feel the harmony, which was one of the designers’ priorities. ‘It was the key to the timeless shape of this product. Not only does the chair look perfect today, but it will remain so for the years to come,’ they assure.
Shape is the key word for the YouTEAMTM chair. It defines this model and makes it one of the premium products, although, as the designers note, it is an affordable premium class. Angela also repeats one word closely related to shape. It’s silence. ‘We didn’t want this chair to make a visual uproar in the office. It doesn’t need noise: it draws attention in its own, subtle way. In this sense, it is rather minimalistic. The version with elasto-net back is slightly more conspicuous, but still far from garish. We wished to avoid this association, because there are so many things around us which clearly fight for our attention with their form,’ she says.
This is not to say that the chair has no personality of its own. With the wide range of upholstery colour options and two colour options for the frame – anthracite and off-white – the model can be customised so as to match any taste and interior. And all the time it will retain its understated elegance.
You will remember the silent design philosophy also when you adjust the position of the chair. The adjustment process is highly intuitive, not least because of the specially designed button icons. They are perfectly visible even when the user is sitting in the chair. This is yet another example of the diligence and foresight of the designers. You could even think that each of the details was carefully sculpted, just like the mechanism casing.
‘You can literally feel the advantages of the YouTEAMTM chair,’ argue the designers. You don’t have to be an expert in design; you can even fail to notice the extended back line, the matching angles or anthracite colour instead of the usual black. It would be hard to name all of these details if you’re not a specialist. But one glance at the chair is enough. And once you are seated in it, you will immediately feel the top quality and class.
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