In Review: Fritz Hansen’s PK0 A™ Chair

Fritz Hansen’s PK0 A™ Chair is wondrous, but what’s even more riveting is its legacy. To see how a design rooted in history charters in contemporary waters, we invited Monica Arango of C’est Ici Decor and Cem Kapancioglu of CK Architecture Interiors to look beyond the chair’s layers (literally!). Dive in to see what they had to say…
Location courtesy: ikonhouse Showroom, Dubai

When the Egyptians invented chairs about 6000 years ago by adding a backrest to a bench, they didn’t know that chairs would evolve with such magnitude that they would become design statements someday. The PK0 A™ Chair by Fritz Hansen is that statement piece.

It is a one-of-a-kind chair that will find its place in modern design history. This chic chair, designed skillfully by Poul Kjærholm, is functional and has a design that has stood the test of time. It was first created in 1952 and is now reissued in two striking colours – Lacquered Oregon Pine and Black-coloured Ash with Cinnabar Red Fixtures.

Lorenzo Lovo, Fritz Hansen’s Area Sales Manager Key Accounts & A&D – UK & Ireland, Middle East, explains the interesting story behind the name of this iconic chair. He shares, “PK in the chair’s name is Poul Kjærholm’s – the designer’s – acronym, who is one of our most iconic collaborators. The 0 is because, this is the first chair he ever dreamt about and the first concept he ever had in his mind. Back then he was at the springboard of his career, still at university.” 

The distinctive chair was named winner in Wallpaper* magazine’s Best Sleeper Hits Design Awards 2023, but it wouldn’t be first it has enthralled onlookers. Let’s get a closer look to see if our eminent reviewers had the same reaction…

The Review Crew

From left to right: Cem Kapancioglu, CEO, CK Architecture Interiors; Monica Arango, Founder & Creative Director, C’est Ici Decor

Heritage from the Yesteryears in Tomorrow’s Chair

The PK0 A™ embodies Fritz Hansen’s 150-year-old DNA but deviates slightly from the usual by being curvilinear. Minimalistic yet organic, the chair sits in a fluid genre of its own and can easily be mistaken for a sculpture. Incepted 70 years ago – during the Mid-century Modern era – the piece is an epitome of the philosophy, ‘form follows function’ – which in turn, is its secret to being ahead of time. 

This iconic Fritz Hansen creation also packs sustainability in its merits – as a result, it satisfies the Holy Trinity of product requirements – functionality, durability, and aesthetics. It’s a classic piece-de-resistance – standing at the intersection of art and design and possessing the punch to elevate any space effortlessly.

Cem: “If someone didn’t tell me that this is a chair in the beginning, I would think it was a sculpture. It’s not really something that you see all the time.”

Monica: “The piece was designed in 1952…it’s very nice to see the history back then that has been translated to 2022. When you look at it, it’s obviously wood veneer, but when you sit in it, you really feel that comfort, functionality and design come together.”

A Curved Medley of Innovation and Avant-Garde Design

“Is it a spaceship or a women’s shoe?”, Cem wonders, struggling to find the correct analogy to praise the sinuous form of the chair. Despite looking quite simple, its extraordinariness lies in the significant role technology played in its realisation. Whether it is in the vinyl pressing, the technique that is used for the forming of the wood or the glue substances, the technology is undoubtedly state-of-the-art.

The PK0 A™ is crafted with 94% veneer, 5% steel and 1% Polyester. It has up to 13 layers of veneer depending on the part of the chair, giving it an exquisite look. The way the veneer is curved, and the skill that goes into it, brings out the aesthetic essence of this chair.

Monica: “Now we’re in the era of everything that is curved. Usually, visually, they’re quite chunky. But Fritz Hansen have outdone themselves by keeping their slim DNA, Scandinavian feel, and minimalistic approach to their curve evolution. They have kept that signature aesthetic, which is really beautiful and rare to see in pieces that are curved.”

Cem: “You know, the old saying, that form follows function. If you look at the balance that it’s proposing between the function and the comfort that it’s giving, it looks like a very hard material. But when you sit on it, it’s quite comfortable. This chair is only seven kilos. It’s amazing. With that much less material, they have achieved this design. This is the genius of design.”

Unlocking Endless Possibilities

Ideal for residential and commercial markets, the PK0 A™ curved chair can adapt to multiple design themes. Despite being made of wood, it offers the comfort expected from a cushioned chair. That gives it an edge to be used as a statement piece in residences. It can also be used in any commercial space – a cabin, a waiting lounge, or anywhere else. The reviewers agree that the piece must be used as it is to retain its originality and bring out the history. It should also be allotted the spotlight it deserves. Given its artistic inclination, the chair could form the focal point of any design theme. 

PK0 A™ is also sustainable. It’s made from PEFC-certified wood and uses 5% steel (or metal) and 1% EPDM rubber, with the 94% being all wood. Fritz Hansen’s confidence in their product, is reflected in their proffered 10 year warranty. The designers who also discussed the pricing of the product, found it to be fair for a high-end brand with that much legacy, quality and technology.

For a chair that exudes character, narrates a story and epitomises design history, Lorenzo, awaits the market’s response with bated breath. He optimistically says, “I love the idea that when it was designed back in the day, it was so futuristic that it wasn’t probably appreciated by the market. Whereas today I am sure it will be.”

Monica: “It can be used as a composition of a design or for a living room or an entrance. From a residential point of view, it would be a hit in terms of functionality. From a commercial point of view, I think it’s a feature that should be stated in a CEO’s office. You are not just buying a chair. You are buying the piece, its art and its history.”

Cem: “(The chair) actually deserves the high end. I’m sure you can find imitations of this piece at a much cheaper price, but that’s not the point. It’s about owning an original piece and you become a part of that whole ecosystem and history woven into it. You build a connection with the brand. So, I think it’s a very unique and fantastic product.”

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