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.
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.
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.’
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.
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.
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, 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.
Other favourites include a paean to Pamela by Hawkins Brown and Tom Woof by Coffey Architects, as modeled by this French Bulldog.
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.
Tailor My Tom Vac takes place from 20-22 May at Vitra, 30 Clerkenwell Road, EC1M 5PG