Ron Arad’s Tom Vac chair reimagined

Ron Arad’s Tom Vac chair has been reinterpreted as, variously, a box cart, a lifeguard’s tower, and a flea collar for dogs, as part of a new exhibition for Clerkenwell Design Week.

King of the Swingers by Morag Myerscough and Luke Morgan
King of the Swingers by Morag Myerscough and Luke Morgan

Top designers and architects have come together to laugh squarely in the face of the ‘If it ain’t broke…’ saying by creating one-off versions of the chairs that completely change its form.

Move Over Rover by [re]design
Move Over Rover by [re]design

The exhibition, Tailor my Tom Vac, is the response of more than 20 architecture and design studios to the brief, ‘to explore both novelty and memory in design, art and architecture’.

It’s the same brief Arad was given by architecture magazine Domus in 1997 for the Milan Furniture Fair show. He responded at the time with a totem pole made up of 100 of his Vac chairs, stacked.

Excitingly, for us and the designers, the brief is intended as a pure concept with no restrictions on medium or discipline, in the spirit of Arad’s original response.

All Decked Out by Jump Studios with Millenium Models
All Decked Out by Jump Studios with Millenium Models

Arad says, ‘It’s very interesting to see other people taking the same idea and expressing their responses. Inspiration comes from strange places sometimes, so it’s good to know that Tom Vac is being used as a starting point as well as being an end product.’

Pamela Hawkins Brown
Pamela Hawkins Brown

The designers have projected new meanings on to what is quite a simple form, giving it motion, making it acoustic, and unlocking practical and impractical sculptural properties.

Move Over Rover, a nod to another Arad classic, the Rover chair, sees the Tom Vac ready to be propelled as a box cart.

King of the Swingers by Morag Myerscough and Luke Morgan
King of the Swingers by Morag Myerscough and Luke Morgan

Similarly, King of the Swingers by Morag Myerscough and Luke Morgan gives movement to the chair, which has ben designed in Myerscough’s signature vibrant colours and type.

Those were the Days by HLW International with TMJ
Those were the Days by HLW International with TMJ

HLW International Ltd and TMU  have also gone down the swing route with Those were the days.

The Rise and Fall of the User by El Ultimo Grito Studio
The Rise and Fall of the User by El Ultimo Grito Studio

The Rise and Fall of the User by El Ultimo Grito Studio, Fathom it by Emulsion Architecture, and Memory Vac by Woods Bagot, have made art pieces out of the chair, but the best effort in this direction is The Udder Tom by M Moser Associates which has made this.

The Udder Tom by M Moser Associates
The Udder Tom by M Moser Associates

Other favourites include a paean to Pamela by Hawkins Brown and Tom Woof by Coffey Architects, as modeled by this French Bulldog.

Tom Woof by Coffey Architects
Tom Woof by Coffey Architects

The acoustic efforts use the funnel-like form of the chair in a new way. Get into the Groove 97 by ID:SR and mVac+ Don’t Sit, Just Listen by Scott Brownrigg give it a speaker-like form.

Get into the Groove 97 by ID:SR
Get into the Groove 97 by ID:SR

Tailor My Tom Vac takes place from 20-22 May at Vitra, 30 Clerkenwell Road, EC1M 5PG

mVac+ don't sit, just listen by Scott Brownrigg
mVac+ don’t sit, just listen by Scott Brownrigg

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