A Spinning Top or a Spun Chair…

Spun came out of research into the geometric simplification of a familiar object type. Could a completely rotationally symmetrical form make a comfortable chair?

Developed through full-size test pieces, an ergonomic was established where seat, back and arms were all the same profile. The result is not immediately apparent as a chair and when upright looks more like a sculptural vessel. When lent on its side however, it forms a comfortable and functional chair that the sitter can rock from side to side in, or even spin round in a complete circle.

Spun is made using rotational plastic moulding, a very efficient and low cost manufacturing process. Plastic pellets are heated in a spinning mould, the plastic melts and flows around, adhering to the mould wall and forming a uniform wall thickness. The mould is in four parts and is machined from aluminium. The process also enables a rippled surface texture to be imparted into the chair to accentuate the form.

Spun was launched in Milan in April 2010.

British designer Thomas Heatherwick is an Honorary Fellow of the RIBA and a Senior Fellow at the Royal College of Art in England. He is the recipient of honorary doctorates from four British universities – Sheffield Hallam, Brighton, Dundee and Manchester Metropolitan. He has won the Prince Philip Designers Prize and in 2006, was the youngest practitioner to be appointed a Royal Designer for Industry. He has served on numerous judging and advisory panels and has given lectures, tutorials and talks at the Bartlett School of Architecture, London’s Victoria and Albert Museum and Yale University.

Thomas established Heatherwick Studio in 1994, which exists to make extraordinary projects happen. The studio is recognized for its work in architecture, urban infrastructure, sculpture, furniture design and strategic thinking. Team members come from disciplinary backgrounds that include architecture, product design, model-making, fabrication, landscape design, fine art and curation.

Heatherwick Studio operates from premises in Kings Cross in central London. Part of the studio has always been a workshop for making models, experimental pieces and prototypes. With this resource, it has been possible for Heatherwick Studio to act as a contractor on its projects.

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