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September 14, 2008

Sound/chair — by Matthew Plummer-Fernandez


He was born in Colombia and started blending industrial techniques with music while studying mechanical engineering at King's College, London.


Long story short: "His Sound/chair, on sale for £3,950 at Designersblock's pop-up shop at Selfridges [Oxford Street flagship store, 4th floor] during the [London Design Festival], began as a sound, drawn on a graph using volume, time and frequency plots; the shape was then crafted into a chair made from water-jet-cut polyethylene," wrote Nicole Swengley in the September 13, 2008 Financial Times.


From the designer's website:



The chair is an exact replica of a sound wave graph. The result is a product with dual existence as both a sound and a chair.

Sound/chair is the initial stage of a project exploring the translation of furniture into sound and sound into furniture. The link between the two is that sound can be visualized as a 3-dimensional object when it is graphed mathematically on a volume/time/frequency plot.


When sound is presented in this manner, the beautiful and unexplored aesthetic of sound is discovered; a landscape of spikes and shapes that vary accordingly to the type of sound. This is taken further by altering the sound's volume, length and frequencies to create a sound wave in the shape of a chair. The end result is a chair that carries the inherited aesthetic of sound and also a chair that can be heard as a sound.


The 3-dimensional graph is used as the lines to create the full-scale chair, made up of layers of polyethylene foam.

Dimensions: -31dB x 1.35s / 80cm W x 70cm D x 85cm H.

Material: Polyethylene foam, water-jet-cut (1st prototype was hand-cut expanded polystyrene.


*New facts revealed April 2008:

1) I do my own programming to graph the sounds.

2) I made 719 sounds to finally reach the one I produced as a chair.

3) There is a lot of mathematics involved in the process as the frequency domain has to be extracted from the data and plotted against time and volume.


Note: The man in black in the fourth photo from the top is the designer.

September 14, 2008 at 01:01 PM | Permalink


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Quick comment: Matthew was born in ColOmbia, not Columbia. It's a common mistake people make, probably driven by the spell check which thinks you are trying to spell the name of the US region, and not the South American country.

Posted by: Paulo Londono | Sep 21, 2008 8:55:27 PM

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