With living urban spaces shrinking as the world's population increases, it seems the concept of dual-purpose furniture and fittings is heading towards the mainstream. Joining the likes of the sofa bed workstation and the shape-shifting apartment in this space is Sensei – a pair of chairs which transform seamlessly into a coffee table.
Sensei is the work of Uruguayan industrial designer Claudio Sibille, who specializes in providing innovative solutions to the growing problem of reduced living spaces. Sensei features two simple, modernist chairs which can be converted quickly and easily into a usable coffee table.
The black and white combination and the way in which the chairs fit together to form the table invoke yin and yang, the Chinese philosophical belief in natural dualities. However, Sibille points out that this wasn't the inspiration, instead it's a mere accident of design as Sensei grew from the drawing of abstract forms, essentially "random geometrical shapes," into AutoCAD.
Sibille drew a form which resembled the "top view of the two chairs forming a table." Thus the idea to create two chairs which can be turned on their sides in order to be transformed easily into a coffee table was born.
Sensei represents the first piece Sibille has designed in such a way, drawing "many shapes – some simple, some complex – until ... something of value that can help solve problems somehow [emerges]." In other words finding the form first, and then applying a function to it.
The chairs are 76 cm (30 in.) tall, 44.5 cm (17.5 in.) across, and 51 cm (20 in.) deep, while the table is 51 cm (20 in.) tall, 116 cm (46 in.) across, and 44.5 cm (17.5 in.) deep. We've seen similar two-in-one furniture before, but Sensei is not only practical but also easy on the eye thanks to a strong aesthetic.
Sensei remains just a concept for now – while Sibille has constructed two prototypes, the piece has yet to be turned into a commercial product.
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