Peter Traag is a furniture designer born in Tegelen in the Netherlands. He studied 3D Design in Arnhem and Design Products at the Royal College of Art in London. Since graduating from the RCA in 2003, he has worked for Mike Smith Studio, making artists’ installations, as well as on an evolving series of his own designs.
Traag is fascinated by mass-production and how it might be thwarted to make products less ‘generic’; the things he makes are governed almost entirely by his desire to challenge and unpick furniture manufacturing processes. His sponge chair, now manufactured by Edra, constitutes an exploratory essay on upholstery: why should it be built outwards from a rigid inner frame? What happens if you form the chair by sucking an upholstery skin too large for the unstable volume of material within until it fits? What happens, of course, is that you get infinitely varied crumples of fabric and compressions of foam and lots of different chairs out of a single mould and process.
Technological developments from the software used by designers to automated prototyping and manufacturing processes made it possible for designers to be virtually removed from making. By experimenting with the conditions of manufacture and intervening in processes, by making his own tools and moulds, he is almost seeking out the innate form of a volume of material rather than pressing it into a pattern that exists.
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