For many designers, the opportunity to make a mass-produced plastic chair will never come. Too high an investment, too big a commitment in stock and too much risk for an industrialist to take.
The more innovative the design, the deeper the risk. From my perspective as a designer, the interminable length of time between making a chair and seeing it on the market, as well as the pathetic standard return in royalties from the typical deal in this industry, made it an unappealing proposition. There had to be another way. Why not, I speculated, look at other sectors – say internet search engines such as Google – and give away the product, completely free, in exchange for advertising or sponsorship? Three months later the sponsor was found, the chair was made and 500 were given away in Trafalgar Square one sunny day during the London Design Festival.
We teamed up with the EPS (expanded polystyrene) Packaging Group to develop a lightweight structural chair concept, anyone arriving in time got to take one home for free.
Tom said, “EPS is incredibly lightweight and totally versatile — making a polystyrene chair has given me the opportunity to fulfill an ambition to make design available to all; this time literally, by giving away hundreds of these chairs to Londoners with absolutely no chains attached, 100 per cent FREE!”.