Student makes waves with chair concept

A talented furniture design student of Unitec Institute of Technology has won a prestigious National Award for his striking design of a chair.

Norman Lin, Year Three Student, said that ocean waves inspired him to create the ‘Lax Chair’ in Formica.

He entered the first ever Formica Formations Design Competition with the design incorporating shades of blue, green and white laminate to invoke feelings of calmness, relaxation and recovery.

He was declared winner.

“I was completely surprised to hear I had won. It was quite overwhelming. When I was told of the result, everything around me became white noise. I could not believe it,” Norman said.

Launched by The Laminex Group earlier this year, the Competition challenged emerging and professional designers to create a sculptural piece of furniture using Formica.

Well-known designer David Trubridge led the panel of judges.

Norman said his approach was to investigate Formica furniture of days gone by, and go in a completely new direction.

“I looked at the previous use of Formica materials and found that they were typically used horizontally and vertically. I wanted to break this norm and design a piece of furniture that used Formica materials in a more curvilinear way.

“I began looking at curved objects, eventually drawing inspiration from waves and Maori motifs,” he said.

The design resembles the way waves weave into each other, creating an interesting flow of curves.

Norman placed coloured laminate on the inner planes to tempt people to come closer and view the piece from different angles. The colour palette expressed calmness and relaxation.

“I designed this piece for a transient place such as a lobby so that people could just sit down and take a moment out of their busy day,” Norman said, adding that he was always keen to design furniture, which comes from a fascination with the way a single object can transform a space.

He hopes to find work as a junior designer in a furniture company.

The Award winning chair (pictured here) along with ‘Beehive,’ by Graham Roebeck, which won in the Professional Category, were on display at the office of Laminex Group in Penrose last month.

The following information arrived as we went to printers:

Laminex Group has agreed to loan to Unitec the ‘Lax Chair’ for the Grad Show, a major event that the Institution conducts to celebrate its graduates and their work. The Show begins on December 1 at 530 pm at Entry 2, Unitec, Carrington Road, Mt Albert, Auckland. The Exhibition will be open on December 3 and 4 from 10 am to 4 pm).

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