This Retractable Chair is a Small Space Wonder for Design Lovers

published Apr 8, 2017
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It may look like an exhibit for a modern art museum, but this space-saving chair is quite practical. (Image credit: Marcin Muchalski)

Having just finished its impressive Kickstarter campaign, this incredible chair is finally available for all of you edgy design lovers out there to purchase. We got to see it in action just last week when the folks over at RockPaperRobot brought a sample to our office. I was SO impressed and have to say that the pictures certainly do not do it justice. Watch the video below to see this unexpected seat in action and read on to see why the Ollie chair is the beautiful new weapon in our small space arsenal.

Made of anodized aluminum and teak, Ollie was designed from the get-go for indoor AND outdoor use. (Image credit: Marcin Muchalski)

The Backstory

I have to start by saying that it feels like a misnomer to call Ollie a “chair.” For something with such a specific, unique design, it almost feels like that word is too simplistic — so for the sake of this post, I’ll stick with “Ollie.” The newest product from design and engineering boutique RockPaperRobot, Ollie is a retractable, storable, and completely versatile seat. In essence, it’s a beautifully designed version of a folding chair — one that you’ll want to show off rather than keep hidden in the back of the closet. Founded by Jessica Banks in 2009, the Brooklyn-based design company describes its transformable and kinetic creations as the type of thing you would find on “Charles Eames’s and Judy Jetson’s wedding registry.”

The two handles on the back are placed for easy unfurling of the chair, while a quick pull of the string makes it retract into its two-dimensional formation. (Image credit: Marcin Muchalski)

How It Works

Ollie is made of an aluminum body and a tambour seat — yes, tambour, the same material that you find on a roll-top desk. Open Ollie using the handles in the back and then flatten it with an easy pull of a string. It’s insanely seamless. The tambour not only gives Ollie its shape-shifting nature, it also creates a supportive, contoured seat. The aluminum is anodized to make it weather-proof, and is available in 3 matte colors: silver, black, and white. The Kickstarter campaign is currently showing four different tambour options, but the plan is to expand the choices as they grow — even offering customizable options.

Best of all, the tambour will be available in different finishings, and RPR will even take special orders for custom graphics. (Image credit: Marcin Muchalski)

Perfect For

Just about anyone who is looking to add what RPR calls “functional flair” to their space. While the piece obviously lends itself to small spaces, I can see it working well as an option for any stylish studio dweller as well as any entertainers out there who want a lot of guests but not a lot of chair clutter. And for anyone who is in the hospitality business? These chairs would be perfect for a restaurant or cafe — especially one with outdoor space. This is all to say that no matter who decides to take Ollie on as their own, they will be getting a front row seat to the future of furniture.

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