In a culture where most consumer items are considered somewhat disposable, it seems almost unthinkable to intentionally use a product that you know will only survive a few uses. The DRM Chair is a seat that self-destructs after being used eight times.
The DRM Chair was designed by a team of current and former University of Art and Design Lausanne students calling themselves Les Sugus. They were participating in the art and engineering competition known as The Deconstruction.
The team’s unique chair is both a commentary on the restrictions of digital rights management music files and an exploration of just how ridiculous our planned-obsolescence manufacturing methods have become.
First attempts at making a self-destructing chair involved the use of weak gunpowder charges, but the team quickly realized that no one would want to sit in that chair even once – much less eight times. They settled on wax joints that would melt after receiving a small electrical charge from the attached battery.
The chair contains a contact switch that counts off the number of times someone has sat on it. A small solenoid knocks on the wood of the chair following each sitting session to indicate the number of uses left. Once the eighth use is completed, the wax joints melt, causing the chair to fall to the ground in pieces, now just a jumble of parts.
“The DRM Chair has only a limited number of use before it self-destructs. The number of use was set to 8, so everyone could sit down and enjoy a single time the chair. A small sensor detects when someone sits and decrements a counter. Every time someone sits up, the chair knocks a number of time to signal how many uses are left. When reaching zero, the self-destruct system is turned on and the structural joints of the chair are melted. This was a 48h-long project, from concept to final video shooting.”