East River Chair
Developed by Vitra in Switzerland
Design: Hella Jongerius, 2014
A project for the United Nations inspired Dutch designer Hella Jongerius to create a new lounge chair: the East River Chair, which features a handle on the back of the seat for easy relocation and comes in a number of vibrant colour combinations.
Products designed by Hella Jongerius exhibit her unique manner of fusing industry and craft, high- and low-tech, traditional and modern - characteristics which are also evident in the East River Chair: with its distinctive form and casual combination of such diverse materials as wood, metal, leather and fabric, this small armchair clearly bears the Dutch designer's signature.
The colours of the East River Chair are carefully coordinated, with a lighter fabric framing a darker tone on the seat and backrest surface. Depending on the selection of colour combinations, the chair has a very different look, ranging from muted and calm to cheerful and bright. The choice of colours and materials is not based on purely aesthetic reasons: the practical leather covers protect the armrests from dirt and wear, and the thicker padding of the seat cushion, which extends up to the backrest, provides comfortable lumbar support. Thanks to the convenient strap handle on the rear side of the backrest, this compact armchair also lends itself to flexible applications in public spaces.
‘In a lounge, which is primarily used as a neutral space for spontaneous meetings, the furnishings play an important role in creating a lively setting', says Hella Jongerius, who is convinced that heavy furnishings are counterproductive in a busy environment. The most important element for facilitating conversations in a casual atmosphere is a new kind of armchair - one that is solidly constructed, yet also lightweight and mobile.
Hella Jongerius and her team were commissioned in 2009 by the Dutch Foreign Ministry to remodel the North Delegates' Lounge at the United Nations headquarters in New York. The East River Chair is based on a design that was especially developed for the UN Lounge in collaboration with Vitra.