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Considering the Details

Allseating partnered with distinguished industrial designer Carl Gustav Magnusson to design a new collection of side seating.

The simple Lyss chair is an exercise in the work and consideration it takes to edit. By using both an interior and exterior shell—with the exterior created in a much higher durometer—seams have been almost completely removed from the design.
09/01/2017 By Kadie Yale

Carl Gustav Magnusson has had an illustrious career in industrial design, including working for Charles and Ray Eames, and a 30-year tenure at Knoll where he retired as executive vice president of Des Taking inspiration from luxury automobiles, Magnusson’s Lyss chair utilizes soft curves and thoughtful use of materials. Even the color tone was taken into consideration to make the Lyss chair easier on the eyes (and body). Although it can come in a variety of colors and upholsteries, the standard default is offered wit For the base—available as either four- or five-prongs with a variety of options from caster to wood frame to height adjustable—it was important that the piece be relatively simple to cast and act inte Magnusson starts every design with a sketch by hand, rather than using drafting software that can impact the final design. “It’s really dangerous for people who are working in CAD because if they draw For Magnusson, the use of aluminum is important in that it contains warmer tones than chrome or steel, and is inspired by the details on luxury cars, such as Audi.

In looking to expand its side seating offerings, Allseating tapped renowned designer Carl Gustav Magnusson to create a comfortable collection that would blend into contemporary office settings. The design, Lyss, was well-received during NeoCon, bringing in designers from Fortune 500 companies seeking new ways to transform their offices. “I think that there’s been a wonderful sort of morphing from cubicles to a much more open landscape,” Magnusson said. “The walls are finally coming down … [it] makes for much better team work. That’s where we are today.

“As a designer, you always love the introduction of your product,” he continued. “[Allseating] identified that they wanted to head toward side seating, either as pull-up chairs or for breakout areas and dining. When I looked at that, I naturally went back to my roots. I thought, ‘I want to have a product that’s as visually simple as possible, with lots of roundness.’”

With a career spanning back to his start in the Eames office, the result was Lyss, a thoughtfully constructed exercise with consideration for all aspects of the design, which Magnusson described as “a certain embrace between the different materials.”

For example, the standard use of aluminum was for aesthetic purposes rather than a purely cost-driven component. “Aluminum relates to warmth,” Magnusson noted. “It comes off as congenial, warm, and works very well, I think, with the rest of the shell architecture.”

This use of aluminum was inspired by Magnusson’s love of automobiles. “I’ve always been mad about that stuff. If you think about the details on Audis, for example, [there is] beautiful trim. If you take a real close look at it, it’s never chrome; it’s always extruded, or cast, or stamped aluminum, and it’s finished with a nearly acid-etched texture. After that, it’s anodized.” It’s this clean use of warm metal that ties into the luxurious look and feel of the Lyss chair, he added.

Additionally, Magnusson’s adoration of Dieter Rams and career with the Eames may have contributed to the inspiration. “It hadn’t occurred to me that there would be some sort of nexus, but surely [the inspiration is] an accumulation and conflux of various aspects of [my] history, from the time when I began sketching cars at the age of 12. But more so, when I began working with the Eames office, a new definition of what design could be really became my working textbook.”   


For the full transcription of Magnusson’s interview, visit interiorsandsources.com (bit.ly/2uNM3fn).