How the Flower Petal Chair Went from Viral Rendering to Real-Life Piece of Furniture

published Mar 2, 2020
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Credit: Reisinger Studio

The Hortensia Chair from a distance looks like a pom pom sculpture or the lower half of a plump and very fuzzy muppet. Its texture resembles the fringed crepe paper of a pinata. Up close, though, you’ll see it’s made of thousands of flower petals.

The original version of the chair was just a 3D rendering, shown above. When it went viral on Instagram, enough people wanted it to be real that artist Andrés Reisinger received orders for it before it even existed in 3D. He searched for six months for a collaborator who could help him bring it to life, eventually teaming up with product designer Júlia Esqué.

Credit: Reisinger Studio

“Beginning with sketches and paper models, the design process sought to create a system based on petals that could then, be reproduced with a surface looking and feeling as natural as its counterpart,” explains writer Anna Dorothea Ker in a press release for Reisinger Studio. 

“The succession of prototypes resulted in a series of individually laser-cut polyester modules that are subsequently manufactured. Thousands upon thousands of these modules cluster together to create the unique petal system that swathes the foam base fabric of the chair’s broad wooden base in supple petals.”

Credit: Reisinger Studio

In an interview with Dezeen, Reisinger explained that the clusters are sewn onto fabric, which is then layered over the foam-covered wooden chair.

The petals are meant to look random and light, like the petals of a real flower found in nature, “as lush as the head of a hydrangea in full bloom,” as the press release puts it.

Credit: Reisinger Studio

While the petal chair was a challenge to realize, Reisinger sees value in designing objects before you know how to make them.

“Working only in the physical world, you are limited by its borders and you begin to think only of objects that can be easily developed,” he told Dezeen. “That is a very common mistake in the market, to avoid any complication of production.”

“With 3D tools, there are no limits. They give me the freedom to design whatever I can imagine, without problems of matter or development, and that helps me develop unpredictable processes.”

The Hortensia Chair debuted at Montoya Gallery in Barcelona, Spain.