An uneven, somewhat spiky surface of sticks poking up from the seat of a chair doesn’t exactly make it a welcoming place to relax. But take a seat on one of these unusual chair designs by Annie Evelyn of New Colony Furniture and you’ll find it surprisingly soft. The chairs are ‘upholstered’ with rigid materials on top of foam to produce an illusion of discomfort.

Evelyn reclaims wooden chair frames, lines the seats and backs with foam, and painstakingly covers these surfaces with small pieces of hard materials that give way when pressure is applied. With this technique, she’s able to make cracked cement, tiles and faceted pieces of wood into exceptionally comfortable seating surfaces. Instead of poking you, those sticks will cradle the curves of your body.

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A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, Evelyn has been developing her unusual furniture upholstery techniques since she was a student. Other works in her portfolio display a sense of humor about seating, with an ‘impolite chair’ boasting a built-in whoopee cushion, and a piece entitled ‘Sit on My Finger’ that’s a tiny chair you wear as a ring.