Tangent Chair

VOA’s Joe Bertucci tells us about his Bronze A' Design Award Winner

Tangent Chair by Joseph Bertucci has been awarded the Bronze A’ Design Award in Furniture, Decorative Items and Homeware Design Category, 2014 – 2015.

Today, VOA’s John Dugan finds out more about Joe’s furniture design and the Tangent Chair.

What was your background in furniture design before creating the Tangent Chair?
I have ten years of experience in woodworking and furniture-making. Throughout high school and college I took part in various woodshop courses which ranged from cabinet-making and furniture design to home-building. While I was in college studying architecture I specialized in digital design. Since then, I’ve learned about digital fabrication, rapid prototyping and form-finding/making. This has allowed me to broaden my skills and techniques and apply them towards my designs.

Tell us about your favorite iconic chair.
It would be hard for me to not choose the Barcelona Chair. I graduated from Illinois Institute of Technology where Ludwig Mies van der Rohe created the campus master plan. If you visit IIT, you can learn a lot about Mies and his work. The chair was designed for Spanish royalty so it had to be something monumental, fit for a king. Since then it has become an iconic chair.

What inspired the design for the Tangent Chair?
The original inspiration came from Charles and Ray Eames. Their work with bent plywood furniture served as my foundation. Initial research for this chair was about geometry. I looked at studies and theorems on tangencies from mathematicians such as Gian Francesco Malfatti and Jakob Steiner, which helped to define the chair.

What kind of  environments do you envision the chair being used in? Who do you see using it?
The chair was intended for comfort and relaxation while also complementing the space it inhabits. I can envision the chair being used by anyone who wants to put themselves in a tranquil space to escape from the environment around them. The chair was intended to conform to its occupant. The use of the double curved design not only functions as a way to strengthen the chair, but also to conform to those who sit in it. It’s this relationship which makes the chair something special to experience.

The void is very distinctive. Why did you decide to make that an element of the design?
The void has always been an integral part of the design. I wanted to take the chair’s three distinct components (back, seat, and legs) and bring them together to create something unique. I was interested in exploring the idea of tangencies. I chose to represent each component as its own curve so these shapes bend and form to each other. The moment where they all meet creates this void that pierces through the chair. Think of it like three circles tangent to one another, they are represented as their own element but when brought together, they form a unique and elegant experience.

Do you have any other designs in the works?
I have planned and sketched many designs that I would like to see make it into production. I’m excited to see them realized. My main focus has been trying to find a way to market my ideas in order to have my designs manufactured on a larger scale.

How does furniture design relate to what you do at VOA?
Furniture design is an expression of creativity. The idea is to exhibit a form that is not only unique, but also challenges others around it. Here at VOA, I’m always striving to develop new ideas that contribute to my team. I have been able to apply my own designs towards our projects. This includes the use of digital tools, programs and modeling. My furniture design has always been about pushing myself further. I’m always trying to do something that I haven’t done before. If I’m not then I’m not learning anything new. Here at VOA, I’m always pushing myself to overcome these obstacles and to better our design process.

For more on Joe Bertucci and the Tangent Chair, visit joebertucci.blogspot.com

Photos: Sherry Huang

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