‘Boss Lady Chair’, 2018
Anna Aagaard Jensen
THIS CHAIR FIRST hit the design media headlines in autumn 2018, when it was picked by the renowned Dutch design company Droog for its annual exhibition of the best student work from Design Academy Eindhoven (DAE). Anna Aagaard Jensen had just graduated from the DAE’s MA department Contextual Design, where young designers are encouraged to work conceptually. This Danish designer’s graduation project ‘Basic Instinct’ took its title from the most paused scene in movie history – the moment when Sharon Stone, under interrogation by a team of male police detectives, uncrosses her legs. Jensen had chosen chairs as her research topic after observing how a male and a female guest on the late-night US TV programme, The Jimmy Fallon Show, sat very differently on their chairs. As she explained at the time, “They had the same amount of space, but they used it completely differently – the man with an open body language taking so much space, and the woman sitting so confined it almost looked uncomfortable.” Stone might be an ambiguous feminist icon, in a scene calculated to appeal to men, but there is no doubting the taboo-breaking power of her change of posture.
Jensen takes that licence and runs with it with this exuberant chair, which she insists is reserved for women only. It expresses a cheerful, ballsy, life-affirming femininity, with its powder-pink colour and unruly bulges, counterbalanced by the tongue-in-cheek neatness of the base. Mostly made from a radical mash-up of Polyurethane Foam, styrofoam, triaxial fibre and acrylic resin, the finishing touch is definitely the MAC blush lavishly applied to the surface, primping it up.
Since being taken on by Functional Art Gallery in Berlin, Jensen’s chairs have toured the world. One example, this ‘Boss Lady Chair’, is up for sale (€12,500) in the collaboration between travelling art fair Nomad and Phillips auctioneers. Unable to hold its planned session in real life, Nomad has designed a virtual presentation alongside the equally surreal organic masterpiece Palais Bulles, near Cannes. One of only three built works by the Hungarian architect Antti Lovag it is now owned by 20th century design legend Pierre Cardin and has never been open to the public before. Lovag once said, “Whether for economic reasons, or lack of technical solutions, human beings have confined themselves to cubes full of dead ends and angles that impede our movement and break our harmony.” ‘Boss Lady Chair’ shows a Danish designer determined to defy such strictures.
‘Boss Lady Chair’, 208, €12,500 at Phillips