Sicilian designer Matteo Guarnaccia has frequented the most populous countries in the entire world and collaborated with neighborhood makers to develop a seating structure in each and every nation as element of his Cross Cultural Chairs project.


The outcomes, which ended up unveiled together with a focused guide as element of the Base exhibition at Milan design week, consist of a chair for cross-legged sitting and an awkward seat motivated by the politics of Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro.

The Cross Cultural Chairs project was exhibited at Milan design and style week

Guarnaccia‘s “freestyle exploration” project noticed him expend a month in each and every nation – checking out Brazil, Mexico, Japan, Indonesia, China, India, Russia and Nigeria – and inquiring the first individuals he encountered what they considered of as the “community chair”.

Mindful of his restricted viewpoint as “a white gentleman raised in Europe”, he collaborated with a regional designer in every place to deliver a one-off style and design, incorporating the aesthetics and culture of that spot and analysing how context can condition our strategy of sitting down.

Wide black wooden lounge chair with metal wire seat
The Brazilian chair is intentionally uncomfortable to reflect the country’s political predicament

“My technology wears the exact shoes, listens to the similar playlists and watches the identical flicks but do we use the exact same chairs,” Guarnaccia questioned.

“Do we sit the exact same way? I was driven to have an understanding of and see in the to start with human being the impression of globalisation on design and style among young generations of designers, makers and architects.”

Colourful pink and green chair on a street in Mexico
The Mexican chair plays with stereotypes by embracing brilliant colours

The chair made in Japan is legless and developed for use on tatami mats. Performing with local designer Mikiya Kobayashi, Guarnaccia required to seize his interpretation of Japanese minimalism, which is translated into elegantly joined wood and a easily upholstered leather-based seat.

“Basically, I you should not feel Japanese design is minimal,” he told Dezeen. “There’s generally this type or this intention to explain to a tale.”

Wooden chair without legs with wood backrest and leather upholstered seat
The chair Guarnaccia produced in Japan is intended for sitting down on tatami mats

The relevance of chairs in jap societies, the place floor-sitting down is regular, was also questioned in India.

Right here, chairs had been only launched all through British colonial rule and the the greater part of people however prepare dinner, eat and function sitting on the ground. This has resulted in a “hybrid” way of sitting, Guarnaccia observed, in which folks take away their footwear and sit on chairs cross-legged, even in official options.

Chair photographed against a yellow sheet held by two cricketers on a cricket field in India
The chair he created in India has curved “leg rests” supposed to support cross-legged sitting

To honour this, his Indian chair built with Sameep Padora and Ajay Shah characteristics indented “leg rests” in its place of armrests for people to rest their splayed knees.

The chair’s shape is derived from a modernist German chair frequent in India when its seat employs a weaving procedure commonly utilised for beds.

Guarnaccia offered his get the job done at a community art or design and style museum at the conclusion of every single thirty day period to obtain feed-back from locals, and in the circumstance of Nigeria even altered the ultimate style and design based mostly on the public’s response.

The chair he intended in collaboration with Nifemi Marcus-Bello originally highlighted an all-wooden frame, knowledgeable by the Diy home furniture he observed on the streets of Lagos and the city’s wood sector, which is the biggest in Africa. But Guarnaccia added metallic panelling to the chair’s exterior after locals considered it as way too simplistic.

Metal-covered wood plank chair in the Cross Cultural Chairs project
He included metallic into the Nigerian chair after suggestions from people

“They were being like: ‘you’re 1 of all those white, heterosexual Europeans that come to Nigeria and you present this wooden chair but Africa is a lot more’,” he told Dezeen. “So it also induced this discussion about colonisation and globalisation.”

In Brazil, his collaborator Brunno Jahara felt that the country experienced become an awkward spot less than the leadership of Jair Bolsonaro, so the duo made an not comfortable chair with metal wire for a seat.

Rattan chair with modernist armchair shape
In Indonesia, Guarnaccia created a chair from regional rattan

Other individuals clearly show a much more light-hearted solution, with the Russian chair borrowing its aesthetic from the country’s passion for plastic bouquets, able of surviving the winter, though the Mexican chair plays with stereotypes by embracing vibrant colors.

The Indonesian and Chinese chairs reflect on the country’s generation strategies. Indonesia is the world’s biggest rattan producer and tends to replicate Scandinavian style in nearby materials, as does Guarnaccia’s chair.

Chair photographed against a red sheet held by two locals on a Chinese street
In China he made a chair wrapped in an costly material

In China, reflecting on knock-off methods and his very own perception of what “manufactured in China” means, he upholstered a chair in an costly, recycled plastic material by Kvadrat, striving to give it worth.

“You can basically trace the evolution of humanity in terms of approaches and supplies by means of chairs,” mentioned Guarnaccia.

Cross Cultural Chairs exhibition by Matteo Guarnaccia at Milan design week
The venture was showcased at the Foundation Milano exhibition

The chairs ended up exhibited together with the Cross Cultural Chairs e book, which contains an introductory job interview by FormaFantasma and Aldo Cibic.

Milan design week returned in a far more lower-crucial structure this yr, with exhibitions including a showcase of candleholders by the likes of Marcel Wanders to Patricia Urquiola, as properly as a Shed Graduation Display from pupil designers who weren’t been able to exhibit last 12 months thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.

Cross Cultural Chairs was exhibited as aspect of the Base Milano exhibition at Milan structure 7 days 2021, which ran from 4 to 10 September. See Dezeen Functions Guide for an up-to-date listing of architecture and style situations having location around the planet.