In the Czech Republic, a former car showroom has been transformed into a beautiful office building using a highly unconventional building material: plastic chairs.
The imaginative design was conceptualised by studio CHYBIK+KRISTOF for furniture company MY DVA. As it turns out, when the latter moved into the building, the place was outdated and needed some sprucing up. So they asked the architecture firm for a redesign that’s cheap and quick to finish (as the company’s employees were already working inside).
The architects responded by repurposing MY DVA’s own products – 900 of their plastic chairs – and used the items for the office’s exterior. Not only were the chairs cheap and easy to put up, but their distinct look also served as a “functional banner,” attracting the attention of passers-by and advertising the nature of the business.
The interior, meanwhile, was divided into two flexible spaces: an office and a showroom further divided into three galleries displaying school furniture, office furniture, and design pieces.
We recently caught up with the creatives from CHYBIK+KRISTOF to know more about their project:
What was the client’s brief?
“The client’s brief was to change the building from the ‘90s to an attractive showroom of today’s products.”
With the brief that you had, what made you decide to use chairs as the façade? What was the main inspiration?
“The main inspiration was based on three parameters. The first was the budget of the reconstruction. It was extremely low and we found the cheapest way to change the existing condition of the ‘non-visible’ building, built in the ‘90s to use the chairs out of the client’s portfolio.
“The second was the fact that the client rented out the building for 10 years, and that is the approximate lifetime of our design.
“And the last but not least was the location of the building. The site is on the outskirts of the city without any pedestrian potential but next to one of the most frequent roads in the area. The facade made out of chairs became a very attractive point in the area.”
What was the client’s reaction upon seeing the concept?
“First he was shocked and surprised, but after a while, he became happy with our design because he understood the potential of the change in the building.”
Did you ever think of using colourful chairs instead of all black ones?
“Yes, we had several options, but in the end, we chose the simplest one. Even the interior is monochromatic and we like this interior-exterior unity.”
What were the challenges that came with the unconventional choice of material? How much did it cost? How long did it take to install all 900 seats?
“It was actually very simple and cheap to build this facade. The construction time of facade was less than one week. The price for one square meter was around 20 EUR (AUS$29 or US$22).”
Lastly, what’s your best advice to other architects out there who want to create something as imaginative and unique as the MY DVA building?
“Don’t be afraid to use non-architectural materials as architectural elements. Even chairs could be an attractive building’s façade.”