Dezeen Magazine

Ten unusual chairs created by design students on Dezeen School Shows

Dezeen School Shows: we've picked 10 weird and wonderful chairs that have been featured as student projects on Dezeen School Shows, including seating that responds to the post-pandemic world.

The roundup also includes an armchair designed to bring users closer to nature, an "urban rocking chair" created for the elderly and designs that contrast traditional making techniques with modern features.

The selection of projects comes from product, furniture, industrial and interior design courses at international institutions, including Estonian Academy of Arts, Kingston School of ArtHongik University and Istituto Marangoni London.

Read on for 10 unusual student chair designs featured on Dezeen School Shows:

Leopard print armchair with pink side table

Wiggle Chair by Georgia Hatton

Product and furniture design student Georgia Hatton has created an armchair and a side table that seek to move away from "the monotony of commercial consumer furniture".

Named Wiggle Chair, the armchair was designed to reference historical design styles, including the early modernist movement.

"Created to be visually exciting, the designs featured within this project centre their aesthetics around designing and producing fanciful furniture that playfully borrows references from historical decorative styles, with particular inspiration stemming from the early modernist movement," said Hatton.

Student: Georgia Hatton
School: Swansea College of Art
Course: Product and Furniture Design

View the full school show ›

Visualisation of various futuristic furniture pieces on a white backdrop

Stoto by Hoon Choi and Hyemin Jin

Hongik University industrial design students Hoon Choi and Hyemin Jin developed a stool brand named Stoto, which explores the future relationship between products and humans.

Taking the year 2045 as the imagined setting, Choi and Jin imagined a collection in which stools are self-aware, hold different personalities and possess the ability to choose their future human owner.

"Stoto is a stool brand that ignited the revolution of sentient products," said Choi and Jin. "In 2045, regardless of massive technological innovations in products, humanity was blindly selecting products only at the top of the affection pyramid – however, the paradigm soon drastically changed."

Students: Hoon Choi and Hyemin Jin
School: ​​Hongik University
Course: Industrial design

View the full school show ›

A plywood chair

Lean Back Chair and Side Chair by Marissa Mutt

Product Design student Marissa Mutt has developed two waxed birch plywood chairs motivated by historical plywood furniture pieces.

Called Lean Back Chair and Side Chair, the seats reference an Estonian plywood furniture company and is made up of three-plywood veneer panels.

"The earliest plywood furniture pieces were low-cost tram-car seating and the use of plywood wasn't disguised," said Mutt. "This served as an inspiration for the Lean Back Chair and Side Chair."

Student: Marissa Mutt
School: Estonian Academy of Arts
Course: Product Design, BA

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Farago Studio

Chiaroscuro by Farago Studio

As part of the One Year In course, student team Farago Studio designed two sets of furniture that aim to play with light and shadow.

Called Chiaroscuro, one set uses blackened wood and traditional woodworking techniques while the other is made of aluminium and panel beating techniques.

Featuring angled supporting trusses and tenon-wedge legs, the pieces were designed to cast shadows onto the users' living spaces.

"Chiaroscuro's purpose is to give the user extended stimulation beyond practical, using the movement of light throughout their home to cast unusual shadows," said the studio. "One will stand out in the day as ebonised ash, the other will stand out at night as sanded aluminium."

Student team: Farago Studio
School: New Designers
Course: One Year In

View the full school show ›

Olive by Lulu Pennell

Interior design student Lulu Pennell has designed an armchair with a low seat, motivated by the urge to connect with nature.

Taking references from post-pandemic interior trends such as zen, minimalism and Scandinavian design, the three-piece collection consists of smooth shapes and earth-coloured textiles.

"Research suggests people are trying to feel more connected to nature post-pandemic, with a surge towards minimalism and Scandinavian design trends", said Pennell. "Olive brings you lower to the ground, proven to help a person feel more balanced and connected to Earth."

Student: Lulu Pennell
School: Savannah College of Art and Design
Course: BFA Interior Design

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The Gloy Chair by Marc Sweeney

MA Product Design (Contemporary Furniture Design) student Marc Sweeney has completed The Glory Chair – a seat that reinterprets the material and techniques used in the traditional Scottish Orkney chair.

The reinterpretation maintains the characteristics of the Orkney chair, such as a high-backed design and oat straw material.

"Traditionally, the Orkney chair is a piece of Scottish vernacular furniture rich in narrative," said Sweeney. "From its first inception, the chair's high-backed design was created through limited materials – native black oat straw and found driftwood – to keep wind draft away from the back and to trap heat from a fire."

Student: Marc Sweeney
School: Istituto Marangoni London
Course: MA Product Design (Contemporary Furniture Design)

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A Glimpse of What Ain't There by Marcelo Suro

Marcelo Suro, an industrial design student at Savannah College of Art and Design, has produced a low lounge chair with bent plywood and synthetic materials.

The chair, called A Glimpse of What Ain't There, is comprised of a silicon cushion and wooden backrest and legs, which were deliberately placed to present a play of juxtapositions.

"By using traditional wood, bending materials, classic techniques and new synthetic materials, this chair presents a set of juxtapositions that work in tandem to convey a sense of dualism – between what is there and what is not, what is in and what is out, and what is soft and what is hard," said Suro.

Graduate: Marcelo Suro
School: Savannah College of Art and Design
Course: BFA Industrial Design

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O by Elias Berg, Mikaela Midell and Felicia Mebus in collaboration with Lammhults

Elias Berg, Mikaela Midell and Felicia Mebus – three product design students at Beckmans College of Design – have produced a stool that aims to adapt to the new work culture.

Consisting of a round seat made of leather and curved legs made from steel, the pieces come together to create "a stool that doesn't feel stereotypical".

"Our aim when developing the 'O' stool was to design a piece of furniture that would align with the current more fluid work environment that has developed during the pandemic," said the students.

"The legs and the seat have been developed in separate processes, a method none of us were familiar with, and something that we thought might result in the pieces being incompatible, but when seeing the finished stool, we believe this is what gives our project excitement."

Students: Elias Berg, Mikaela Midell and Felicia Mebus
School: Beckmans College of Design
Course: BA Product Design

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Turnaround Chair by Rory Mullins

Rory Mullins, a product and furniture design student at Kingston School of Art, has designed a seat that responds to user seating habits called Turnaround Chair.

Featuring a backrest that can also be used as an armrest, the chair intends to offer the user multiple movement options in several contexts, including cafes, schools and public spaces.

"Turnaround Chair is a new typology of contract furniture which reacts to users' real-world seating habits," said Mullins. "The circular omni-directional seat base further offers users complete freedom of movement."

Student: Rory Mullins
School: Kingston School of Art
Course: BA (Hons) Product and Furniture Design

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Verv by Fanny Axnér and Siri Boekhout in collaboration with Nola

Product design student duo Fanny Axnér and Siri Boekhout have reinterpreted traditional urban furniture as rocking chairs for the elderly.

By experimenting with strong metal, Axnér and Boekhout sought to play with contrast and dimension to create Verv's visual identity.

"Furniture adapted for the elderly often has many technical additions and we asked ourselves, are these necessary?" said Axnér and Nylander. "As rocking is proven to be therapeutic and good for our muscles, balance and blood circulation, we saw an opportunity to reinterpret a classic piece of furniture for a new context."

Students: Fanny Axnér and Siri Boekhout
School: Beckmans College of Design
Course: BA Product Design

View the full school show ›

Partnership content

These projects are presented in school shows from institutions that partner with Dezeen. Find out more about Dezeen partnership content here.