The winner of Avenue's second annual design competition.
By Omar Mouallem | February 11, 2010
Photography by Curtis Comeau
The Human Genome Project inspired Andrea Leitner‘s contemporary chair. Her entry, the Everro, has evolved from an earlier design. The original Everro design had separate-coloured cushions, like rungs of nitrogen bases in the DNA double-helix diagram. The metal frame was like the sugar-phosphate backbone that held them together, and the seams were a metaphor for “the inside being revealed,” she says. That design resulted in a second-and inadvertent-metaphor: natural selection. That is, the law governing all species; that a population changes its traits for improved chances of reproduction according to the influences nature exerts upon it. In this case, nature is man’s big ass. Salone Internazionale del Mobile, Milan’s premier design expo, where she went with her class. “By the end of the show, it looked horrible because it [the cushion] was just upholstery foam and there wasn’t anything solid underneath,” she says. “So with people sitting on it, over and over, and profs sitting on it all day while showcasing their pieces, it was flattened.” Leitner couldn’t afford to ship the chair back to Canada, so she trashed it. But, she says, she didn’t trash the idea. “I needed to rebuild the chair. It wasn’t completely out of my system.” Over the next two years, Leitner adjusted its maladaptive traits, starting with putting a lightweight fibreglass skeleton under the felt upholstery. She added a concealed crossbar to the metal frame under the grey top, to keep the chair from losing form, used denser foam and narrowed the width so only one person could sit on it at a time. She lowered the height of the back support to look more contemporary and less like a recliner. She kept the exposed seams. Leitner premiered the second generation at Toronto’s 2010 Interior Design Show. It brought positive reactions from professionals and manufacturers impressed by its esthetic power-but so far there are no signs of reproduction.