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1 Inch Is All It Takes

One inch, 77 steps, 150 years – Jasper Morrison has tapped into Emeco’s heritage in aluminium manufacturing to create a versatile, extremely durable and deceptively simple family of seats named the 1 Inch collection.

1 Inch Is All It Takes

In design, often the simplest and most elegant solutions are also the hardest to come by. American furniture company Emeco’s 1 Inch Collection by British designer Jasper Morrison is an example.

Launched in Milan at the Salone del Mobile in a characteristically succinct Emeco display, the collection comprises a chair, an armchair, stools in three heights, and café and bar tables based on one-inch square-section recycled aluminium tube.

The one-inch square section was selected for its ideal strength-to-weight ratio. “I’m more and more interested in working towards designs that take part in everyday life as naturally as possible,” says Morrison. This seemingly simple design belied a lengthy manufacturing process, which dated back to the brand’s founding in 1944.

Emeco was established that year to produce chairs for the US Navy. The brief was both simple and complicated – the chairs must be lightweight, non-corrosive, fire resistant and torpedo-proof. Using aluminium and a 77-step process, Emeco fulfilled the brief with the 1006 Navy Chair. The chair was expected to last for at least 150 years – a tradition that can be expected from Emeco’s subsequent products, including the 1 Inch Collection.

“It’s probably one of the most complicated chairs I’ve designed, though it doesn’t look it,” says Morrison. The result is simple, utilitarian and environmentally sound. “The design of the chair seemed basic enough and we were not expecting much trouble in developing it, but we underestimated the complication of bending square aluminium tube in more than one plane simultaneously. It took Emeco several months of experimentation and false starts and it took us uncountable revisions to the drawing before we found the way to do it,” recounts Morrison.

The bare bones of a good chair, this family of aluminium seating is available with various ecofriendly materials, including seven colours of wood polypropylene, two shades of plywood, and a selection of fabric and leather upholstery.

In Singapore Emeco is available from Space Furniture.  

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