STRATUM by Ammar Kalo
Baltic Birch Wood, Polycrylic
70cm x 55cm x 40 cm
UAE-based designer Ammar Kalo‘s Stratum Chair has been acquired by The Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York. The chair along with a second piece will be added to the museum’s permanent collection.
The Stratum chair was born out of a desire to create a chair that expresses its materiality in a very organic fashion, while taking advantage of advanced CNC milling and fabrication technologies. Comprising of two interlocking parts, the chair can fold and reduce its overall volume by half. Sharp sinuous lines run along the edges and highlight the its functional features. The flowing striated pattern is revealed by carving strategically designed local and global geometries into laminated plywood. Terminating the chair at the ground with three legs creates a sense of delicate balance.
Kalo is an Assistant professor of Architecture at the American University of Sharjah (AUS) and is currently the Director of AUS College of Architecture, Art and Design (CAAD). From inception to 3D modeling, machine programming, assembly, and hand finishing, Kalo is solely responsible of his designs and products during the prototyping phase to ensure the highest level of design integration and quality.
Having his work in this prominent global collection is a notable achievement. Dr. Varkki George Pallathucheril, Dean of CAAD said: “It brings prestige to the College of Architecture, Art and Design and is a reflection of CAAD’s support for creative work as valued and valuable scholarship.”1
For this design, there were a number of sources that helped inspire its formal qualities; from the sinuous shapes of a human body, to the works of Hector Guimard, to rock formations carved by natural forces. In addition, the inspiration for the interlocking connection joint came from studying religious book stands that are carved from a single piece of wood and feature two interlocking parts. The swiveling action of the chair also helps reduce its original volume by half, making it easier for shipping.
The main parts of the design are composed of laminated sheets of Baltic Birch plywood. Most of the features of the chair, its sharp edges, flowing form of its back and seat, as well as the central interlocking joint were designed to leverage the extra axis of freedom that a 5-axis CNC milling machine offers. Multiple iterations of those features were produced made to properly calibrate their fabrication process while maintaining a strong design language.
About the designer:
KALO is an architecture and design studio founded by Ammar Kalo. He received a Master of Science in Architecture Degree with concentrations in Digital Technologies and Material Systems from the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan. Ammar also researches new fabrication processes using industrial robotic arms. He was recently awarded the KUKA Young Potential Award for best scientific paper the Rob|Arch 2014 conference.
Kalo also won Emerging Designer of the Year Award, at the Harper’s Bazaar Interiors Awards 2015. According to the Harper’s Bazaar Arabia website, Kalo won the award “for his technologically advanced designs, most notably his ‘Stratum’ chair, which takes advantage of innovative fabrication technologies, creating two interlocking, folding parts. The Emerging Designer of the Year Award is not only one of the most prized awards of the night, but also an aspirational achievement for new designers to set the benchmark for up-and-coming creative talent.”2