Explore the latest projects from the UK’s commercial interiors industry, featuring the best of workspace, hospitality, living and public sectors.

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Finnish design meets applied physics – the self-rising Virén Chair from Fortum

Plastic waste specialist Fortum has teamed up with TBWA\Helsinki to create a recycled chair that refuses to stay down when it falls.

11/03/2022 2 min read

European energy company Fortum has created a chair made from Fortum Circo® recycled plastic, made from post-consumer plastic waste and 3D printed with Maker3D, and specifically designed to pick itself and return upright should it tip over.

The creative partner behind the idea is TBWA\Helsinki, developed together with a variety of professionals, from engineers to physicists and researchers.

The self-rising functionality of the Viren chair is based on CAD simulations: the unique chair design, the weight geometry and the raising arm shape are all iterated in the design process to force the chair raise after it falls. The key is the location of the centre of gravity point in relation to the chair geometry.

The Virén Chair is inspired by Lasse Virén, a Finnish long-distance runner who fell in the middle of the 10,000-meter final in the 1972 Munich Olympics. The odds were not in his favour – but he got up, won gold, and set a new world record.

“Honouring the running legend Lasse Virén was very present at all stages of our design process. We wanted the chair to reflect his legacy with a design that is both aerodynamic and organic and takes its inspiration from running motion. When taking a closer look at the chair and more specifically the legs, one can distinguish a form of a runner preparing to take off from the starting line”, explains Umberto Onza, Lead Designer of the chair from TBWA\Helsinki.

The Virén Chair also pays respect to Finnish design, with characteristics of plastic furniture developed in the 1960s by Finnish designers.

“Plastic is in many ways a superior material that is hard to substitute,” says Anniina Rasmus, Brand Sales Manager at Fortum Recycling and Waste. “The consumption of plastic is growing globally all the time; the discussion around plastics should instead focus on how to increase recycling. We should make sure that the value of the material is preserved by recycling the plastic and converting the waste into reusable material whenever possible.”

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