Spin on the Southbank

If you’re around London’s Southbank over the weekend, it’ll be worth popping round the back of the Southbank Centre to give one of Thomas Heatherwick’s new chairs a spin – literally.

The Spun seats, which have been positioned in a pack on the centre’s patio, were made for Magis and launched in Milan, but have been amassed in a swarm for the first time for London Design Festival. The seats are made from heavy duty moulded plastic and allow visitors to spin around in them to their heart’s content – see the video below filmed by the guys at the London SE1, if you’re unsure of the logistics.


But despite the fun that those guys are clearly having, Heatherwick says the gyrating mayhem wasn’t part of the original concept but a by-product of the process. Inspired by timpani drums, he started experimenting with the rotational shape and then aimed to make ‘a serious, comfortable chair.’ Luckily, they’ve ended up being attractive on the eye, practical and an exciting play thing.

The fine grooves added to the plastic, which Heatherwick says were added to make what is essentially a lump of plastic look precious and special, also make the seats look like they have been produced by a giant potter.

Heatherwick adds, ‘They’re stood like these Japanese pots with purity and then [someone jumps on an] it all goes wrong.’

According to Heatherwick, the chairs have been met with particular approval from Pilates teachers, who say the rotational activity is good for your core. Heathwick was just on the way to present one to his dentist, so let’s hope they’re just as popular with other healthcare professionals.

Take the Spun Chair for a spin at Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road,
London SE1, 
from 17-19 September.

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  • Eliza Campbell November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Had a go, just brilliant fun!

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