Or how Asad Firdosy makes sitting down an art form
What’s in a chair, you ask? It’s a simple piece of furniture that involves a lot - chair design takes into account form, function, ergonomics, size and durability. Designer Asad Firdosy believes that a chair is a “primal piece of furniture - a good one can make you happy and a bad chair can really freak you out”.
Firdosy grew up observing the nuances of furniture making at the ancestral business started by his grandfather in Nagpur. As a school boy, he often experimented with wood and ended up making toys for himself. His interest in design grew along with him, and Firdosy joined an architecture course at VRCE (now VNIT) in 1987. After graduation, in 1992, he joined the family business as a junior architect and designer and began working with wood, seeking to learn more about the “behavioural patterns of teak wood”. His heart, however, always lay in furniture design - specifically chair design.
“Chair design is extremely interesting. It is one piece of furniture that is always in contact with a human being and so the criteria include ergonomics, aesthetics and durability. I am particular about lumbar support, thigh support, height, arm rests, shoulder and neck support,” Firdosy says.
In 1994, he set up his own design studio where he could experiment and designed his first concept chair - the Glass Chair. Since then, there has been no looking back for him. Firdosy’s designs reflect his originality of thought and creativity, and are augmented by a meticulous approach to detailing and quality. “It is very important to understand the purpose of the chair – an office chair will obviously differ from a lounger,” he says. As the head of Firdos Furnishers, he is developing a progressive vernacular modernism by pairing uncompromising traditional constructional techniques with the abstraction of everyday industrial and natural form. His works have been exhibited in New Delhi, Mumbai and Frankfurt in Germany.
We list his top chair designs – each a style statement in its own right.
The Glass Chair is an experiment that stretches glass to its physical limits. The frame of locally grown Indian teak showcases individual panes of glass.
The Leaf Chair is inspired by the leaves of the Ashoka tree and comprises two intersecting leaves - one forms the seat, the other the back.
The Fish Tail Chair is a statement in wood and upholstery. It resembles the tail of a fish, and is like a sentence written in wood and upholstery.
The Asymmetric Chair is an unconventional chair handcrafted in teak and leather, which unites Colonial with Art and Craft.
The Fish Tail Rocker deviates from the Fish Tail Chair, is handmade in solid teak, and is designed for anyone who wants to relax!
The Viper Chaise has two beautiful snakes intertwined in the dance of love. The stripes of the snake skin are ebony and teak, reinforced by a steel flat for stability.
The Autumn (Fall) Leaf is inspired by the falling leaves of autumn. It is handcrafted by joining small pieces of teak.
The Bharatnatyam Chair focuses on the attire of a Bharatnatyam dancer in a particular pose. The fans and pleats form a very strong element of design, but comfort and support are also kept in mind.
The Wings of Forest is a contemporary variation of the Victorian wing chair, and features an intricate jaali at the back. Carved out of solid wood, the jaali finds its inspiration in the forest.
The Banana Peel Chair came about when Firdosy saw a friend carefully peeling and eating a banana during a chat. The result? A design fully inspired by Nature.
The Butterfly Rocker is different. Unlike conventional rocking chairs, this one needs to be straddled and then the weight pushed backwards to swing to a position of total relaxation.
ErgoX-3 is a neatly smoothened and French polished char that gives optimum support to the backbone.