“The inspiration for this project came forth from wanting to preserve the original shape of the wooden shell whilst also creating a new function, this function being a seating element.

The Karekla-chair is a chair created from a series of neglected wooden shells. A simple adjustment of cutting the shell into segments made it into this one of a kind furniture piece. When one decides to sit in the chair, the segments will succumb to the weight of the user and create a comfortable seating. When the user stands back up again the shell returns to its original shape forming an almost sculptural object.

The shell itself isn’t fit to be used for seating, whichever position you place it in it still remains uncomfortable to sit in. That is where the segments offer a solution. When one decides to sit on the chair the segments succumb to the users weight and proceed to take on the shape of the users underside, creating a comfortable seating. After the user stands back up again the shell returns to its original shape. Underneath the shell an arch is attached to the frame to prevent the segments from flexing too far when a person sits in the chair.

Wanting to preserve the shell I started researching how I could make a furniture piece out of it without cutting the shell into separate pieces and therefore create more waste. By making cuts in the shell the flexibility in the seating was created. Each time a cut was made 3 mm of material in between would disappear. This is crucial as it prevents the segments from grinding against each other which in turn prevents skin or clothes from getting stuck in-between.

The challenge for me was to create a furniture piece out of the shell, this altogether without altering or destroying the shells volume. It was a difficult task as cutting the shell up would have provided more possibilities for a design. The second problem was the shell on itself didn’t offer any possible way of being used as a seat since every position it was put in proved to be very uncomfortable. As suggested by my mentor I hid the safety arch underneath the chair so the design as a whole would look more like an abstract object, making people doubt it’s purpose as a seating element. The fact that most of the people who tested it were afraid the segments of the chair wouldn’t hold out (because the safety arch wasn’t visible) gave it a sort of a comical twist.”

Phebos Xenakis (1994) is a young Belgian designer with Greek roots. By the time he was 21 he graduated as an Industrial Product Designer at Howest University. Still having the urge to learn more he finished a postgraduate involving Brand & Packaging design. Now he systematically explores the possibilities within the furniture and packaging design sector.

The project ‘Karekla’ has been awarded in the A’ Design Award & Competition 2018 & in European Product Design Awards 2018.