I've admired Nanna Ditzel's (1923 - 2005) design work for ages. Not because she is a woman designer who stands tall in the impressive arc of Danish design legends. Or even because her iconic Trinidad chair design, seen here, was directly informed by the lattice-work and Gingerbread houses scattered across the country of my birth.
I find it intriguing that some of her notable works were released in her later years, but for me, Ditzel's most enduring allure lies squarely on her ability to cut through the evanescence of inspiration in order to isolate the small, almost imperceptible notions at the heart of her ideas.
In production by Fredericia since its launch in 1993, Ditzel's Trinidad chair was inspired by her vacations on the island, and in particular, by the interplay of light and shade across the airy, post-colonial wooden homes built in response to the stifling equatorial heat.
And yet, if you were to Google 'Trinidad Gingerbread Houses,' the resulting images will look nothing like Ditzel's ingeniously arched plywood chairs. A typical Gingerbread house is typified by its lace-like, delicately fret-worked finish, whereas Ditzel's chairs are quite sleek and precise. What she brings to the design of her chairs from the island - what links the two - is the feel of sitting on the verandah of a Gingerbread house: the distinct sensation of being cradled in the breezy form of a vented, wooden space.
That somewhat contradictory idea has been at the core of my visual examinations for an editorial collaboration with Fredericia around the Trinidad chair. Set for publishing in the forthcoming late summer release of Au Courant Vol. 03, the photo series will combine some of Ditzel's original inspirations, reinterpreted for this era and informed wholly by my own understanding of, and interactions with, the Trinidad design.
Here, a few early experimentations to better understand its line and form.
Click through to learn more on Fredericia's Trinidad chair.
"The cutout fretwork lightens the visual density of the chair [and also] functions as a decorative element."
Words & Images | Lisa-Marie Harris
In partnership with Fredericia
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