Showroom: Dreaming in Plywood

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The sculptural new Dream chair from Carl Hansen & Son marks the first collaboration between the company and architect Tadao Ando. Image courtesy Carl Hanson & Son.

It started with a letter. You see, for the last quarter century or so, Japan has been one of Carl Hansen & Son’s biggest markets. Eager to work with a Japanese designer, especially one whose designs reflected a spirit akin to the great Hans Wegner’s, the firm reached out to Pritzker Prize–winning architect Tadao Ando to gauge his interest in collaborating. His answer was quick and affirmative.

So began the multi-year process of realizing the Dream Chair. The project would mark Ando’s first foray into furniture design (for his projects, he includes the work of other designers). He was given free rein to create the piece and worked closely with the team at Carl Hansen & Son, devising a piece that encourages the sitter to take time out to dream. On the engineering side, the chair’s design pushed the boundaries of what’s structurally possible with plywood. That’s due in large measure due to the material’s 3D composition—it can be bent along two axles. The end result is strong and durable, with generous curves that challenge physics.

Available in oak or walnut, with or without upholstery and with an adjustable neck support, the Dream chair is modern and sculptural, standing as a tribute to the work of Hans Wegner even as it reflects a wholly contemporary presence and the hand of Tadao Ando. A substantial piece, it will work best in a large space, where its clean lines and compelling angles can be viewed from all sides.

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