chairless alejandro aravena in snow

Regular flat-pack wood folding chairs are fine for short distances, but carrying one with you to the park to watch fireworks for a few hours or on a camping trip can be a bit of a pain in the, well, you know. ‘Chairless’ is a solution so simple it takes the mind a moment to grasp just how clever it is in its stark minimalism.

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chairless alejandro aravena strap system

So wait, the design is … a strap? Is it a seatless chair or a chairless seat? There is a no seat surface and there are no chair legs, so perhaps it is both – or neither. This simply perplexing idea takes advantage of the natural outward forces of your body trying to unwind, and uses them to create a stable seating structure out of a single loop you wrap around yourself. It reminds one a bit of a belt-and-buckle set, or perhaps a car seatbelt, and is not really that much different in shape or size.

chairless alejandro aravena in use

There is not much to this design by architect and industrial designers Alejandro Aravena, but by being simple it saves on money and materials – not to mention being able to fold into a unit small enough to stick in your pocket. And believe it or not this is nothing new: a similar technique has been employed by nomadic tribes since time out of mind – but perhaps now its contemporary counterpart will catch on in the modern world as well, funds from which are in turn to be sent to a charity foundation for the indigenous people who are the true source of the design.

chairless alejandro aravena inspiration

Aravena is a Chilean architect who got the idea when he saw the way the nomadic Ayoreo Indians of the Gran Chaco region between Paraguay and Bolivia sit comfortably without chairs using similar straps. It’s a brilliant solution, and though it might not be as comfy as, say, a stadium seat, it’s definitely more compact.