designed for BULO


"The innovative Belgian manufacturer of office furniture ‘Bulo’ asked me to design the newest addition to its Carte Blanche collection, a range that includes designs of renowned designers from the realms of architecture, fashion and interior design. They had seen my Man-Chi, a massage chair on which you sit backwards. Their briefing was to design a relax-office. I aimed for something that would not only require minimal means to attain maximal flexibility in terms of versatility and mobility, but would also be humorous, playful and elegant. The result is a mobile object in which the seat of the Man-Chi remains essentially the same, but the back organically spreads into circular arms that embrace the user and can be used as a backrest, armrest or working surface. A desk and seat combined into one, to sit with a laptop and mobile phone near at hand, but also offering the warmth of a comfortable armchair. Viewed from above, the Easy Rider is no more than a simple circle, with a sunken part that serves as a seat and three legs with either casters or gliders. It’s true that it resembles a baby walker, because of the suspended seat. We were originally even thinking of calling it by that name, but changed our minds because it might make people feel a little infantile. Still, it indicates the fun factor: Timberland Benelux asked me to design a new boardroom and I recommended them the Easy Rider. Immediately, the meetings seemed to take a totally different course. There’s no head of the table, and much less hierarchy, since there is no table anymore, while all participants can move away or come closer as they please, be it only to show their approval or discontent – the interaction is phenomenal. Things become much more informal, and from the very onset the ice is broken with newcomers. Technically, there are several novelties. The wheels are like those of inline skates, while the frame is covered with three-dimensional upholstery. Instead of twelve pieces required to upholster the chair it only needs three. Since its introduction as the official chair of the Interieur Biennale 02, it has also become one of my most awarded designs. It won a Red Dot Award, an Adex Platinum Award, a Henry van de Velde prize and a Good Design Award. But what pleased me most was that it was the first piece in the Carte Blanche collection that was also commercially a hit."