Andrew Jones (BArch 1991) doesn’t usually enter contests, but the 2012 Battery Conservancy Americas Design Competition, called Draw Up a Chair, caught his imagination. The chairs for this famous waterfront park in New York City had to be stackable and light enough to move around easily – yet sturdy enough to comfortably support whoever sits in them. They also had to demonstrate a quality that the conservancy calls “aesthetic literacy.”
As Prof. Jones tells his students at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, “Any great design finds a synthesis of form, material, structure and use.” In this case, he also asked himself, “How can 300 chairs add up to a much larger idea than a singular object?”
He says, “I really wanted people to understand the flower reference or metaphor.” The name of his design, Fleurt, reflects Jones’s belief that “when people flirt, it’s like they are ‘flowering’ or at their best.” He chose it “hoping that people would enjoy the pun” and participate in the spirit of play his chair was meant to inspire.
More than 650 entries were cut down to five finalists including the Fleurt. Prototypes were created – so that the public themselves could select the winner. When they chose the Fleurt, all doubt was removed: people not only enjoyed it – they loved it.
Download Prof. Jones’ 12 page Fleurt Process Book to read his account of the design process behind the Fleurt chair.
A U of T lab is working with actors, writers and directors on how they could harness AI and other emerging technologies to generate new ideas and – just maybe – reinvent theatre