Jasper Morrison Cork Chair
  • Jasper Morrison Cork Chair
Depending on the varying stylistic trends that have dominated product design during the past two decades, Jasper Morrison has been alternately regarded as a rebel or a trendsetter. In fact, the British designer has simply followed his own path over the past twenty years. During the 1980s, when the flamboyant design vocabulary of the Italian group Memphis dominated the scene, Morrison's objects stood out because of their simplicity, subtlety and multiplicity. He transformed a common funnel and flexible tubing into a ready-made lamp; the shape of a light bulb was adapted to a doorknob. The 'New Simplicity' of the 1990s, which was especially prevalent in furniture design, found in Morrison one of its most convincing protagonists.

Due to the intelligent use of materials, the emphasis of radial geometries in contours and details, as well as subtle colours (devoid of patterns or ornamentation), his products have an innate serenity and implicit naturalness - irrespective of whether the object is an electric kettle or a streetcar.

This applies in equal measure to Morrison's latest design, the Cork Chair, which was created for Vitra Edition 2007. Its computer-generated form is precision milled from a solid block of material, which has the advantage of dispensing with joints or connections of any kind - the chair requires no screws, adhesives or veneers. Morrison explains: 'I wanted to find a form which suited the material and was a bit mysterious in terms of when, where and why it was ever made. I described it to Rolf [Fehlbaum] as a chair looking like it was made by Eskimos (if they had cork oak trees of course).' Morrison had already used cork in a small table for Vitra, for which he sought a distinctive type with a heavy grain incorporating larger bits of material. 'The [...] reconstituted cork block [...] makes use of reject wine bottle stoppers, which are visible in the material. It's a very beautiful material, recycling something not very beautiful or at all useful into a material with an incredible quality.' The markedly inclined backrest of the Cork Chair offers a very relaxing seat. It is paired with a rectangular block of cork as a low side table. Who knows, perhaps the chair's shape will eventually find its way into Inuit culture and be reproduced in a material that is hardly scarce in their natural environment: ice.

Jasper Morrison