The Parabola Chair

The Parabola Chair  is an award winning chair design by Carlo Aiello. The design is the outcome of Aiello’s intention to create something “sculptural, but easy to manufacture and ergonomically correct” – which sounds really hard to achieve. The chair is available at ENSSO.

Courtesy of Carlo Aiello

Courtesy of Carlo Aiello

The primary challenge in designing this chair was in achieving the usual components of the chair – the arm rest, backrest and seat using a single surface. This was done by developing a shell which was curved in two directions – a hyperbolic paraboloid (called Pringle). It conformed to the sitter’s body as well. Truly, a whole lot of math went into designing this iconic chair.

Courtesy of Carlo Aiello

Courtesy of Carlo Aiello

The Parabola Chair is made out of straight chrome-plated steel rods which slightly change angle successively to give a parabolic basket. Thus, it is economical and easy to manufacture.  Appearing as symmetrical, the chair gives a womb like presence which accommodates the user very comfortably. A cushion is added to make the chair more comfortable.

Courtesy of Carlo Aiello

Courtesy of Carlo Aiello

The chair gives a ‘mid-century’ feeling as parabolas were first implemented in design during that time.”Calibrating curvature was the most difficult thing,” says Aiello,“if you pull one curve down it affects the other. If you have enough space for the seat, then that pulls the backrest really far behind. We had to calibrate it to the perfect size to be comfortable.” The outcome is a chair which allows light to pass through. It would create beautiful shadows on the floor, wouldn’t it?

By : Ruchi Patel

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