The chair is a universal touchstone of design. What if we apply the science of genetic engineering to an inanimate object? By crossbreeding individual chairs with desirable traits do we eventually end up with the ultimate chair? Can there even be a perfect chair, given our always-changing demands as users?

To find out, we developed Chairgenics: a continually evolving modeling experiment.

We started by modeling the chairs that already exist, to use as our “parents”.
We do this by either modeling them ourselves or through scanning a chair we have.

We then quantified the desirability of existing chair types, assigning a value to each of these characterstics. Ergonomics, cost, durability, and construction: these could be objectively assessed, but aesthetics are subjective. For our purposes we relied on a mix of FormNation’s own opinion and popular onion based on Google and Yahoo! rankings.

Armed with these variables, we were ready to begin breeding chairs. We worked with the US-Norwegian company Uformia, who had a 3D software called Symvol we were able to customize for this project. Symvol morphs complex objects using mathematical volumes.

The functional models survived and went on to be bred further, producing a family tree of chairs. All the models were eventually 3D printed.

Chairgenics was featured in a major exhibition in Greece dedicated entirely to 3D printing at The Onassis Cultural Centre in Athens, Greece during winter of 2014.

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