Clkrak Chair, Adrien Gardere “I wanted to study traditional crafts in India and other places in Asia in order to project how they could be reconsidered and made relevant to contemporary design, not for the cheap manufacturing

Подпись: © The Cikrak Chair by Adrien Gardere for Perimeter Editions is the result of years of working to find modern uses for Indonesian indigenous materials and craftsmen. Credit: Philippe Chancel Подпись:and local labor, but on the contrary, for their enriching and inspir­ing traditional know how, that might be disappearing otherwise.”

So, began a great adventure for Adrien Gardere that spanned sev­eral years and many trips from France to various parts of Asia. “The idea was to try and understand the phenomenon where the process of production is responding to a lot of demands from the occidental world that conform to our stereotypes as to what is local or Asian or Indian, rather than a truthful and genuine real­ity,” he says. “It is looking for the convergence of design and sus­tainable design.” The process began when he won a fellowship to study and work in India. There, among other projects, he collabo­rated with the National Institute of Design (NID), set up in the mid 1960s in Ahmedabad, following Charles and Ray Eames’s 1958 India Report. “With 5 selected students of NID, I designed a full collection of furniture,” Gardere notes. “The idea was not to be a gimmick or a monkey design of what is exotic or local. The idea was to go very deep into the understanding of the crafts, to un­derstand the manners and attitude of the crafts, and to see if there was an approach or technique that could be transposed, or a material that has interest, or a form that has such a strength that it deserves to be reconstituted.” This year of study resulted in seven pieces of furniture that were shown around Europe, but never went beyond the prototype phase.

About a year later, Olivier Debray, the director of Surabaya Al­liance Frangaise in Indonesia, Olivier Debray, contacted Gardere to see about creating some furniture that reflected the same philos­ophy and approach of his Indian collection. “It was very impor­tant for me to have some local training, to root my experience in Indonesia, and to have a real exchange of know how,” Gardere says, “so I could train people at the same time that I would learn from observing.” He worked with three local design students who became his trainees.

Gardere hoped that this time his creation would go beyond pro­totypes. “The idea was to not only identify the local craftsmen and their know how, but also to identify the local producers and the local small factories that we could follow up with and learn along the way about what we didn’t even know what we were going to make yet,” he laughs. They began by traveling the coun­tryside looking for materials, shapes, and techniques that might be extrapolated to a chair. They settled on an indigenous, tradi­tional Indonesian shovel that is very strong, used for a wide vari­ety of tasks, and is made in several different sizes. “But it was disappearing,” Gardere notes. “It took us a lot of time to find craftsmen that were still making them, because they are now using plastic.” They also began experiments with splitting and

0 A “very first try on a metal frame” shows the key elements that need to come together for the final chair: bent metal, split bamboo, and woven rattan. Per­haps unfortunately, colored ribbons will not be included on final production models. Credit: Adrien Gardere

Clkrak Chair, Adrien Gardere “I wanted to study traditional crafts in India and other places in Asia in order to project how they could be reconsidered and made relevant to contemporary design, not for the cheap manufacturingClkrak Chair, Adrien Gardere “I wanted to study traditional crafts in India and other places in Asia in order to project how they could be reconsidered and made relevant to contemporary design, not for the cheap manufacturing

Clkrak Chair, Adrien Gardere “I wanted to study traditional crafts in India and other places in Asia in order to project how they could be reconsidered and made relevant to contemporary design, not for the cheap manufacturing Подпись: ity of the bamboo. We could not make a straight angle or it would have broken. We needed a curve that the bamboo would support.” Finally, the three pieces of split and bent bamboo are woven with native rattan, which is treated with a fungicide and then given a protective coat of varnish. The chair is made from three pieces of bamboo that are split at each end and then woven into a chair seat and back around a metal frame. This prototype was shown at the Paris Furniture Fair, Salon du Meuble de Paris, “. . . not to be sold, just to show the result of the experience,” Gardere says. But, as luck would have it, a new company, Perimeter Editions, was looking for limited edition products by a few select designers, saw the chair, and wanted to produce it. “What I really wanted happened in the sense that the chair found a distributor,” Gardere says, “but I wanted to be very faithful to the process. It had to be produced in Indonesia.” With a lot more work finding the right craftsmen to make the metal frames, and setting up workshops with the same craftsmen they originally trained to do the weaving, the Cikrak chair became much more than a cross-cultural, somewhat academic experience.

(<£) The bamboo pieces are bent in a shape that provides comfort as well as sup­port. Early prototypes were made with whatever tools local craftsmen had on hand or could create. Credit: Adrien Gardere

22 DESIGN SECRETS: FURNITURE

Clkrak Chair, Adrien Gardere “I wanted to study traditional crafts in India and other places in Asia in order to project how they could be reconsidered and made relevant to contemporary design, not for the cheap manufacturing

Подпись: The Cikrak chairs are being made in an existing factory that has set aside a section for these specially trained craftsmen. “The company is small,” Gardere notes. “For the moment, we’re working on orders of fifteen at a time.” But in addition to the satisfactions of seeing his creation somewhat industrially produced, he’s also helped a group of people find new uses for important aspects of their indigenous culture. “They are very conscious of the need to feed their creativity,” Gardere explains. “They very well know that they are very much limited to a Western order of production, which is stereotyped and impoverishing their know-how. They are very conscious of the benefit they can gain from new applications of their know-how.” Summarizing the whole experience, his enthusiasm is palpable. “It’s a good adventure and a great satisfaction. This is kind of my secret garden design, and it’s also political in a way. It’s a way of trying to take into account what I like in the world, and also trying to set up projects that are not just ego-centered, but are part of exchange and cooperation, and in this very limited way, part of sustainable development. It took a whole range of people and cooperation, and I find this very exciting because other projects are not usually as humanly rooted.”
Подпись: Bamboo provides a critical structural element—as well as natural beauty and comfort—to the Cikrak Chair. Three pieces are split at either end, while the middle section remains whole to provide support between the seat and back. Credit: Adrien Gardere
Clkrak Chair, Adrien Gardere “I wanted to study traditional crafts in India and other places in Asia in order to project how they could be reconsidered and made relevant to contemporary design, not for the cheap manufacturing

Clkrak Chair, Adrien Gardere “I wanted to study traditional crafts in India and other places in Asia in order to project how they could be reconsidered and made relevant to contemporary design, not for the cheap manufacturing

Q Gardere started with a cardboard mock-up of the chair before experimenting with bamboo, which was ultimately used. Credit: Adrien Gardere

Clkrak Chair, Adrien Gardere “I wanted to study traditional crafts in India and other places in Asia in order to project how they could be reconsidered and made relevant to contemporary design, not for the cheap manufacturing(^) A detailed shot shows the sensual curve obtained in the bamboo structural supports, along with the delicacy of the woven rattan, which together create a very strong, versatile, and comfortable chair that uses traditional techniques to create a thoroughly modern statement. Credit: Philippe Chancel