Crafted in the Amazon and made to mimic the human body, this piece is pure joy.
“It’s simultaneously a chair and an anthropomorphic embrace – a human form embracing a human form.” This is how American designer Chris Wolston describes his Nalgona chair.
The piece was originally made for a 2019 exhibition at The Future Perfect gallery in New York, which showcased one-of-a-kind creations from international artists and designers. Wolston, who is based in Brooklyn, New York, and Medellín, Colombia, wanted to contribute “something voluptuous and sensual that really had a juicy bottom” to the show.
Inspired by the human body and the stackable plastic Remax chair (ubiquitous throughout Colombia), the Nalgona is made of wicker ethically sourced from the Colombian Amazon. Local artisans weave the wicker around a welded steel frame, meticulously fashioning the tricky fingers and toes using traditional techniques. The finished product is then shipped all over the world (you can get the Nalgona’s price on request from The Future Perfect website).
To the layperson, though, the Nalgona is simply fun, which is why skincare entrepreneur Zoë Foster Blake gave it centre stage in her whimsical Sydney home, with the seat gracing the cover of Vogue Living magazine in 2022. The humanoid quality encourages sitters to have an emotional connection with the piece, according to Wolston, but comfort is also a priority; its softness is a surprise bonus. “Wicker is deceptive,” says the designer. “It looks uncomfortable but it’s actually quite lovely.”
This kooky piece of furniture, available in 10 different poses (and counting), including one with a hand making the two-fingered peace sign, is so friendly it literally waves hello from the living room. “Humour and liveliness are inherent to my practice,” says Wolston, whose work is on show in the sculpture garden of Los Angeles’ Hotel Bel-Air this month. “The idea of functionality and aesthetics are inextricably bound.”
Image credit: William Jess Laird