The Sprint chair by Hong Kong-based US designer Sean Dix is a lightweight, stackable chair and stool with a simple profile that belies its complexity. Originally developed specifically for the Bar Veloce, an Italian bar in Beijing, the series was named after the Vespa “Sprint Veloce” which is an Italian design classic.
The origins of Sprint as a bespoke design for an interior are characteristic of many of Dix’s industrial design projects since he also runs his own interior design practice and often will design products for an interior that subsequently have a life of their own. For Dix and his team, the opportunity to feed industrial and interior design projects off each other brings many advantages, both creatively and for the business.
Designed as a product for a hospitality interior, Sprint is a compact, stackable chair whose legs have been rotated, then tilted and tilted again to achieve a subtle angle that makes the chair look like it is about to spring into action: “I like the idea that it’s just about to hop,” says Sean, who was in Australia recently to give a talk at Den Fair.
The design is so difficult to reproduce that it hasn’t been copied: “There are counterfeiters trying to copy it but they haven’t been able to,” says Sean. “It’s one of the most complicated things that’s ever come out of my office. The angle of the legs was the most difficult thing to get right – every time you change it the wrong way, it won’t stack.”
Other details are just as considered – the frame of the chair is set into the back of the seat by halving the tube (below, it is a hollow tube and above, it is a solid rod) creating a seamless profile that also acts as a handle when moving the chair.
And on the upholstered version of the seat, a further detail that looks decorative is actually functional: a raised seam with a double stitch inspired by a baseball seam means that, when the chairs are stacked, there is no imprint created by the chair above as it rests on the seat. “One of my biggest inspirations are those anonymous things that have a certain beauty because they weren’t designed, but were engineered – engineered by somebody with a sense of aesthetics,” says Sean.
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Available at Zenith