Behold the bounce
By Manjul Misra
22nd June 2012 09:05 AM
It’s not just a seat, it’s a seating innovation. Light and airy, fun yet functional, The Bounce Chair uses silicone for the surface and polycarbonate for the base. An unlikely combination for chic furniture, but then that’s what sets this trendy piece apart, besides of course its clean, minimal looks and cool curves.
The buzz around it ever since it debuted at SPOGA+GAFA in Cologne six months back has further heightened with the second edition that was unveiled this April at the Maison et Objet in Paris. It was displayed at the fair’s special section—Now! Design a Vivre. The honour was particularly special for the debutante designer because it was the first time in 16 years that a product design from India had found a place at this prestigious section of the global design expo.
Besides, the Bounce won an honourable mention in this year’s Red Dot awards. But more than anything else, says Fenny Ganatra, the Mumbai-based product designer who created it, is the fact that within just six months of its launch, the Bounce Chair is already available in 14 counties across the world.
So what makes the Bounce so special? “The experience of Bounce can range from an uncanny feel of levitation to a supreme tranquil relaxation, in addition to its simple function of seating,” says the 24-year-old designer who describes her design ethos as “hyper experiential.”
Through her designs, her aim is to create a unique experience for the users as well as a product that would look like an art installation when not in use. Which is exactly what the Bounce is about. While the base is basically either white or black, she uses vibrant hues for the webbing ranging from fuchsia to red to aqua. Pretty as a picture, comfy as a couch.
Explaining the development of Bounce, Ganatra, who graduated from Singapore-based Raffles Design International, says: “The concept for Bounce first hit me during my days at design school when I was assigned a project. I happened to discover silicone that sent me to an overdrive. I literally had to do the rounds of companies that make silicone and somehow managed to get my hands on their waste.”
Determined to use silicone in a non-traditional medium, Ganatra started relating the product to her personality—vibrant, cheerful, relaxed and full of life. “The agony was to translate the design into a product, finding the right materials, travelling the world to discover the most efficient injection moulding shops, designing the colour schemes, getting the product tested for safety, durability and tensile strength, conducting experiential surveys and adding finishing touches days on end,” she says as she traces the journey.
“Once an idea hits me, I’m restless till I am able to execute the concept in a simple, minimalist manner that needs to exude a hyper experiential feel. And it’s easier said than done,” she confesses, adding: “It’s a constant battle between inspiration and perspiration until a product is launched.”
It’s been a similar experience with the second edition as well. She attributes this one’s inspiration to ‘Biometrics,’ a trend that examines nature, its models, systems, processes and elements to evolve into modern, contemporary design. “The new model is a tribute to the most natural human organic system—that of breathing. If the first edition had webbings, this one has pores like those on skin that help in breathing and transpiration. Like natural corals that evolve gradually in the ocean, it feels almost evolutionary.
Both editions are being manufactured and marketed by Mumbai-based, One Group, of which her husband, Akhil, is the managing director. Today, as she readies for the launch of her second product at Salone Satellite, the young designer feels vindicated. “What’s exciting,” she confesses, “is that my restlessness has started again. Which is a good sign for whatever comes next.”
The future of design, as she sees it, will have a lot more colour, will have unconventional use of materials and will transgress seamlessly into the world of virtual reality. The manufacturing process will also head more towards 3D printing, which will make designs more easily executable.
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