Ondarreta + Estudi{H}ac

A conversation on the new Hari chair

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Ondarreta + Estudi{H}ac
16/07/2020 - Hari is the result of the latest collaboration between Ondarreta and Estudi{H}ac. Hari is also the word for “thread” in Euskera. Threads are the raw material of linen and wool cloth, the elements with which tailors work.

Threads make the warp and the weft, they are flexible and versatile, they come together, and they split apart. They can absorb pigments, and they can be folded, tensed and interwoven to shape the fabric necessary for the tailor’s craft – a craft that consists of measuring, cutting, combining, folding, ironing, and sewing textiles together to create unique garments that will meet every client’s needs to the very last detail.

Ondarreta wanted to make a flexible collection of chairs. They were looking for a design that could be customized by different clients and yet remain authentic. Estudi{H}ac specializes in precisely that: making adaptable pieces capable of maintaining signature features so unique that you would recognize them anywhere.

Their partnership gave birth to Hari, a collection of chairs that evokes the simplicity of yarn as well as the countless creations that can come from it; a design based on a line similar to the winding movement of fibres being intertwined; an idea conceived by two creative teams who left room for a third contribution: that of clients who, by determining how colour and material are put together, will also leave their imprint on the final result.     
 
How did the collaboration between Ondarreta y Estudi{H}ac come to be? What concept prompted the creation of this collection of chairs?  
Nadia – We already knew José Manuel, as we had collaborated with Estudi{H}ac before. This time around, we had something very specific in mind when we went looking for a studio: we wanted a versatile product, something with reduced dimensions, something different from other pieces we have recently developed at Ondarreta. We wanted to go back to when we began making pieces for installations or hotels; we wanted to make a product that worked, for example, in a dining table situation. We told Estudi{H}ac what we were looking for and they came up with a proposal for a very flexible product, so we decided to move forward with them.     

José Manuel – From the outset, we understood their intention to make a chair whose design was convenient, a chair that could fit in a line of lightweight pieces and express character while remaining simple. It was important for us to make it adaptable, to make sure it allowed the possibility to play a little with different materials and combinations. At Estudi{H}ac, we always try to include this feature in our designs. We want them to be flexible so that product designers, interior designers and architects can play with them, so that they can transform each piece to suit the specific needs of a project, tailoring it to every space they conceive. That was the point of departure: to create a simple product that would, nonetheless, allow for this type of creativity.
 
Versatility is a feature that is usually present in the world of bespoke products – designs that leave room for clients to tailor final details to their needs. Can you tell us a bit more about this?
José Manuel – We always try to make our products versatile so that end-users, or intermediary clients such as architects or interior designers, can customize each piece and somehow make it their own. That is, in fact, the philosophy of Estudi{H}ac. We have always been interested in that aspect of tailoring and the work that it entails; the fact that tailors are always thinking of end-users when they choose how to use textiles and materials. Therein lies the value of developing bespoke products. When we design at Estudi{H}ac, we are always thinking of making room for playfulness, keeping our clients in mind and avoiding being repetitive. Every buyer has specific needs, and that means that, even when maintaining our studio’s distinct features, it is important to offer the client something unique, something that will stand out as much as possible. That is the point of departure for all of our projects. 

In this particular case, we wanted to evoke, with one simple piece, the vast universe related to yarn and tailoring. Looms –the textile-making machines– inspired us in the creation of these lightweight chairs that stand on a structure made of a very thin metallic strand, similar to a moving thread. On ancient looms, you could work with a technique called piqué, a system in which figures are woven directly into the textiles. This idea of having different elements and textures come together was translated into the design of the chair – we wanted it to fuse a variety of elements and to allow many possible combinations of wood, plastic, upholstery, and size.  
 
Which features remain present in all of the pieces? Where do these come from? What needs do they meet?
Nadia – Throughout the collection, there is one iconic feature inspired by the yarn. It is a piece visible from behind in all the chairs – an angle that is very important for us, aesthetically, because one sits on the front of chairs but always sees them from behind. In this case, all of the pieces in the collection have a button on the back, framed in the same metallic filament that outlines the base. It’s a small detail honouring the link between this design and the world of tailoring, a connection that is also visible in the name we gave to our chair: Hari, which, in Euskera, means thread.   

Which elements will vary depending on each client’s needs? Which are the parts you can play with the most?
María – On the one hand, you have the materials. We’ll have a wooden version of the chair and one made out of polypropylene. With the wooden one, we offer the possibility of combining the upholstered seats with different backs. This means that, for example, the back can be wooden while the seat is upholstered. This would be new for us. Then there’s polypropylene, the other material we’re working with. In this case, we’re using a special type of textured polypropylene that gives a sense of lightness that we like a lot, as does Estudi{H}ac.
 
José Manuel – Yes. Part of what makes this product unique is giving clients the possibility of choosing their own combination. This will allow each client to create a “total look”. Starting from the metallic structure we use for the base, they will have the possibility of bringing in polypropylene or wood and of choosing among a range of upholstery colours in harmony with Ondarreta’s broader collection. In fact, in the beginning, when we presented the project to Ondarreta, we didn’t show them the chair as one piece, but rather itemized, with each element presented separately. Only then did we begin showing them how these elements could be put together to create each tailored piece.
 
How has the joint design process worked? 
María –I feel we have been working collaboratively ever since. We’ve been in touch constantly, which is crucial because the work often focuses on the details: introducing small nuances, making and assessing prototypes, modifying dimensions, defining shapes... to do this, we have had to communicate continuously, and I think we have managed to do this with 100% teamwork.
 
José Manuel – I entirely agree. In order to achieve good results when you work collaboratively with a client, there has to be direct and continuous contact. In this case, our and Ondarreta’s technical offices have been in contact daily, defining every detail so that the final piece can reflect our initial idea.  
 
When will the chair be produced? When will it be available in the market? 
Nadia – The first step was to present the chair at the fair in Valencia last year, which is home to Estudi{H}ac and is a very important fair at a national level. Currently, we will still have some of work ahead of us, finalizing details for the polypropylene version which will give us a wider range of possibilities to our customers, staying on track with the original purpose of the collection.  

Who will enjoy this chair most? Who will play most with the possibilities to customize the design?
José Manuel – I think that, being such a versatile chair, it can be enjoyed in homes, restaurants, meeting rooms, or, even in big installations with a variety of needs, which is made possible by the fact that we offer several chairs in the collection. I think that when clients start seeing the possibilities it offers, they will highly value the flexibility of our design.
 

Hari is unique because of the wide range of possibilities it offers. It is not static or fixed, even though it has a distinct identity. Every time a client purchases it, the chair is recreated: its parts are taken apart and then put together in a new composition, taking a new form to meet a specific purpose, to nourish a particular space or aesthetic universe. Hari is unique because it is simple and, at the same time, strong, because its design is versatile yet authentic and unmistakable. 

Ondarreta on Archiproducts.comOndarreta + Estudi{H}ac

Ondarreta + Estudi{H}ac

Ondarreta + Estudi{H}ac

Ondarreta + Estudi{H}ac

Ondarreta + Estudi{H}ac

Ondarreta + Estudi{H}ac

Ondarreta + Estudi{H}ac

Ondarreta + Estudi{H}ac

Ondarreta + Estudi{H}ac

Ondarreta + Estudi{H}ac

Ondarreta + Estudi{H}ac

Ondarreta + Estudi{H}ac

Ondarreta + Estudi{H}ac

Ondarreta + Estudi{H}ac

Ondarreta + Estudi{H}ac

Ondarreta + Estudi{H}ac

Ondarreta + Estudi{H}ac

Ondarreta + Estudi{H}ac

Ondarreta + Estudi{H}ac

Ondarreta + Estudi{H}ac

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