WEIRD WEDNESDAY: This Chair Rocks! (And So Does Its Light!)

Incheon Metropolitan City, Korea, together with designboom recently held a competition (iida) open to international professionals, students, and design enthusiasts. The subject of iida was “Green Life,” which was broken down into the following concepts:

  • 21st century design is the philosophy that suggests harmony of humanity and nature.
  • 21st century design is the imagination that enables sustained urban life.
  • 21st century design is actions that buffer radical changes in society.
  • 21st century design is a beautiful link between business activities and consumer activities.
  • 21st century design is a tool that expresses beautiful imagination of people.
  • the philosophy of the 21st century design is the philosophy of iida.

In the end, 3709 designers from 96 different countries participated. Rochus Jacob was awarded the first prize for his Murakami Chair (along with his thermodynamic cooler), which incorporates nano-dynamo technology into the skids of the chair to run an OLED light—thereby powering an attached reading lamp with energy generated from its own rocking motion. (Note: as one of the competition requirements, the product could not currently be in production.)

Jacobs explains his thoughts behind the design process:

I was looking for opportunities to generate energy through activities we naturally do. The final result is a rocking chair that enables the user to experience production and consumption of electricity in a gentle and rewarding way. An abstract process becomes tangible and eventually cultivates natural awareness. Complexity is covered by simplicity. During daylight, the energy gets stored in a battery pack. The construction of the flat and bendable organic light emitting diodes allows new form factors such as using the traditional shape of a lamp but instead of having a light bulb the lampshade himself turns out to be the light source. To have a drastic reduction of consumption the big challenge will be to make consuming less feel like getting more.

The jury, composed of Julien de Smedt, JDS, architect, Karim Rashid, industrial designer, Jerszy Seymour, industrial designer, Martin Videgård Hansson + Bolle Tham, Tham & Videgård Hansson Architects, Birgit Lohmann, designboom, Sang-Soo Ahn, Hongik University visual communication design professor, Soon-Jong Lee, Seoul National University design major professor, Joo-Yun Kim, Hongik University industrial design professor, Chul-Bae Lee, LG eletronics vice president, and Heung-Soo Jeon, Incheon Metropolitan City design manager awarded designs and concepts that were deemed innovative in terms of their formal/technological aspects as well as their social relevance.

The competition was hosted by Incheon Metropolitan City and organized by Incheon Business Agency.
Sponsors of this competition are: Ministry of Knowledge Economy of Korea, Korea Institute of Design Promotion, LG electronics, designflux, Incheon Industrial Design Association, and Incheon Design Company Association.