In Conversation with

Architect duo
Strand+Hvass

Tell us about the origin of FourCast® chair
CS: When given this design project almost 15 years ago, the task was initially to create a chair with optimal stacking abilities. This was back in the days where Four Design was all about office furniture. The stacking element of the chair optimises the space needed for storage and transportation. By stacking up the chairs, you can pack more chairs, reducing the number of vehicles required to deliver the products. 

NH: We then moved on to create an entire design line for Four Design. Embodying the clean, crisp lines of Scandinavian design the design is minimalist with an international touch. The signature v-shape on the backrest became a Four Design trademark. When designing, it’s essential to us that our products do not harm the environment. Minimalist design, in this context, facilitates material efficiency due to a straightforward and easy disassembly process. 

Elaborate your thoughts on environmentally conscious design

NH: Both Christina and I have been teaching design students for many years. We taught our students about material efficiency and made them aware of social and environmental responsibility. Being designers ourselves, we have a huge role to play.

Therefore, contemplating a design process, we focus on achieving minimal environmental impact. We focus first and foremost on a product’s longevity on three fundamental parameters; design, function and durability.

Even though we drew the very first lines 15 years ago, the Four Cast chair is still going strong. This testifies to the chair’s longevity on all parameters. Four years ago, we launched the FourSure® chair, and we are incredibly proud of this chair because it is the first chair in Scandinavia to achieve the EU Ecolabel. 

CS: Basically, the whole product lifecycle, is taken into account. From the extraction of the raw materials to production, packaging and transport, right through to use, disassembly and end-of-life. 

NH: Both chairs have been specially designed with focus on disassembly and recyclability in mind, ensuring re-utilisation of materials and components. The unique casted cradle and plastic lock replaces the need for an embedded metal knot. This makes the assembly and disassembly of the product easy and quick. This assembly method is pivotal in today’s throwaway society because it provides the ability for replacement of components meaning the chair can be renovated instead of disposed of. The chair is also available fully upholstered, or partially upholstered, which is straight forward to dismantle. 

“When designing, it’s essential to us that our products do not harm the environment. Minimalist design, in this context, facilitates material efficiency due to a straightforward and easy disassembly process.”

– Niels Hvass

Why do you think this chair is still so popular?
CS: The chair is light, customisable and comfortable. It has character, but it is subtle. It is versatile, and works really well with different architectural styles and built environments; whether it is a public space, the local hall, canteen or an auditorium. The visual quality is an obvious factor, but we can’t ignore the fact that we have created an extremely comfortable chair. The v-shaped backrest and the seat itself both have high ergonomic qualities.

NH: Creating an entire range of furniture which complements each other promotes flexible interior design solutions. If the need for change emerges or you feel like following a trend, you can easily change the upholstery, the frame or shell bringing forth a completely new look and life to the chair. This is where timeless design comes in…

CS: I would like to challenge the timelessness term. Timeless design isn’t about creating something that doesn’t stand out, so it stays on-trend. To me, it is about creating excellent sustainable solutions, where the design goes above and beyond… that’s my perception of brilliant design. 

FourCast® 2 Four - EU Ecolabel in anthracite or Ebony Black