Boaz by Daniel Libeskind
Drawing on the language of architecture and the play of light, Daniel Libeskind designed the Boaz Chair as a freestanding entity that creates an ambience of elegance around itself. Available as a chair and a bar chair, Boaz opens up a world of imagination and possibilities as well as being functional, adaptable and extremely comfortable. The steel frame, leather upholstery and its structural form evoke a high degree of sophistication. To celebrate the launch of the Boaz chair we sat down with the architect and had a conversation about the design process and his thoughts on the similarities and differences between architecture and furniture design.
“A good chair creates an atmosphere that is attractive. You want to sit on it, you want to look at it. It is not just a utilitarian object it is also a sculptural object which catches the light and gives form to the person sitting on it. In that sense it is like architecture.”
It took more than a decade to end up with the Boaz chair as a result of the collaboration between you and Wilde + Spieth. Can you tell us more about the creative process?
It is a really different chair, a chair that really has integrity, in aesthetic form but also in a practical and functional sense. It is a huge challenge to design a chair and it is not by accident that Frank Lloyd Wright said that it is harder than to design a city. There are so many chairs on the market, and so many tricks and fashions. But to design a chair that is modern, that is going to be serviceable, be elegant in all sorts of environments – that is classical but also 21st century and combines the dynamics of the history of chair design with the time we live in – that is a huge challenge. And, I am very grateful that I worked with a company that really cares. They are really pushing the design – technically and aesthetically – to its very limits and I think that is why this design is not just a gimmick. It is not five minutes here, a sketch, a prototype and manufacturing. It is really as serious as designing a building.
Boaz bar chair with black upholstery and black frame
One can clearly see your design language in the chair. Can you talk a bit about the choice of material?
The language of the chair is the language of architecture, the language of light. The structure of the chair is really an integrated composition because a chair of course is a commodity but it is also part of the environment. You look at it, you sit on it, you offer it to your guests. It is both very much a functional entity that has to be adaptable to any user – anybody should find it extremely comfortable – but at the same time it is part of the world of imagination. The world of possibilities. And so the Boaz chair – both the chair and the bar chair – has a representative aspect. It creates a sophisticated ambience around itself and I think that’s what I love about all chairs, whether they are ancient or modern, they create a particular ambience that is more than decoration.
Boaz chair with black upholstery and black frame
That is interesting because there might be a similarity between furniture and architecture here. You have said before that you design a building especially for a certain environment, to make a statement and to serve a purpose for people living in it. But furniture in that way is not limited to one particular space. Does this make designing a chair different?
You are right. There are similarities between furniture and architecture. While architecture is more about scale furniture has to work in different environments but both need to be contextual. A chair needs to have its own charisma to achieve that. A good chair creates an atmosphere that is attractive. You want to sit on it, you want to look at it. It is not just a utilitarian object it is also a sculptural object which catches the light and gives form to the person sitting on it. In that sense it is like architecture. And when you think of the sitting position, it is not just a casual thing that we have it is rooted in ancient times when it was associated with high status. For the Pharaohs in ancient Egypt to sit meant to represent power. And so a chair – if it is well-designed – continues to have that sense of strength; not in the sense of a monarchic power but more of the assertion of integrity. So a chair is a very serious, maybe the most serious object in the household. And let us not forget that the first thing Robinson Crusoe builds when he winds up shipwrecked on the island is a chair. He doesn’t design a kitchen, he doesn’t design a bed, he designs a chair; and then a table. Just to sit down and think what to do next. So I think when Daniel Defoe wrote Crusoe, he was very aware of the importance of these primary objects – and by the way I hope I get to design a table next. (he laughs)
Mr. Libeskind, thank you so much for taking the time.
Likewise, thank you.
Boaz chair with black upholstery and black frame
The seat and back are upholstered with high quality leather in black or brown (other colours on request). The steel frame is available in chrome or powder coated.