The Australian launch of the Tio Collection of seating took place at Saturday in Design in August 2011. Nicky Lobo spoke with designer and Massproductions founder, Chris Martin, to get the inside word on the wire range.
October 13th, 2011
Chris Martin (left) and Magnus Elebäck of Massproductions
NL: What is the concept behind the Tio Collection?
CM: Many people think chairs made in metal wires are uncomfortable. I thought it would be interesting to challenge that assumption. I started with full size polystyrene comfort models and then built a logical wire construction from that, which would also allow for stacking.
NL: What are the design features?
CM: The Tio collection is quite transparent, so it doesn’t compete with architecture or interior spaces. This makes it very adaptable to many situations. The chairs are stackable, comfortable, available with an optional seat pad, relatively light for a metal chair (5.35kg), and suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.
NL: How does it express the Massproductions approach/aesthetic?
CM: We always try to harness the benefits of serial production in our work. We find this makes a better product at a better price. The wires are bent on a computer controlled bending machine and then welded together by hand. It’s this combination of mass production and skilled handwork which defines our products. You can also see this in our new Crown chairs, which are made from moulded foam components which are then upholstered by hand. I think furniture in particular is suited this approach to production.
NL: What is the target market for Massproductions and how does this collection appeal to them?
CM: We tend not to think too much in terms of target markets, but rather produce things which we ourselves have a passion to see in the public realm. I’m quite conventional in my approach to design – I favour sculptural forms, rich materials and pragmatism, things which have been challenged in recent years. Having said that, our work does tend to end up in places like hotels, restaurants and bars a lot, as well as people’s homes.
NL: What’s your opinion/understanding of Australian design?
CM: It seems there is very little industrial production in Australia, so designers are working with a more handcrafted approach. Many designers I spoke to here were frustrated with the lack of opportunities and had a feeling that working with European companies was the best way develop their careers.
NL: What about Saturday in Design – how does it stack up against international design events?
CM: We had almost 3000 people through the door at the Spence & Lyda showroom on the Saturday. In all of the events I’ve attended promoting Massproductions, I’ve never experienced such a busy day.
Spence & Lyda
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