Type to search

Breeding chairs of the future


A joint project between Dutch-born designer Jan Habraken and New York-based design studio FormNation, ‘Chairgenics’ first began in 2010. The concept revolves around ‘breeding’ the ideal chair by applying the principles of genetic engineering to design inanimate objects.


According to the design team, the core building blocks of the ‘perfect’ chair already exist; their task was to identify the fittest combination. The project, based on Darwin’s theory of evolution, is a ‘quest to breed he ultimate chair’. Speaking on this concept, Jan Habraken said, “The future of 3D design and creation will be limited only by our imagination. We believe technical barriers will be solved to make perfect prototypes indistinguishable from production models.”


The team based the genetic structure of chairs on the following factors: ergonomics, durability, construction, costs and aesthetics. While rapid prototyping software emulated digital breeding, the project was not entirely automated until FormNation teamed up with Californian-Norwegian start-up Uformia and morphing specialist Mathieu Sanchez.

breed f2

The project is currently on display within the Out of Hand: Materializing the Postdigital exhibition at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York. The exhibition will end on 6 July 2014.


The 3D-printed ‘chair child’ is a rather strange-looking chair but what is intriguing is the idea and the process behind the end product. The exhibition not only displays the final piece but also the entire ‘family tree’, which also includes some legendary members such as, Verner Panton ‘S’ Chair, the Plia Folding Chair, the Thonet Vienna Chair, among others.



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *