“I think ‘flow’ is a good word for it,” says designer Hlynur Atlason when asked to describe the Lína Swivel Chair in one word. “Because of the way the shapes come together as one, and how they play off each other.”
Born in Iceland, Atlason began his studies at Parsons Paris, but when it became clear that product design was his passion, he transferred to Parsons in New York, where he continues to live today. “At first, I found New York very disappointing, especially coming from Paris, which is so beautiful, but over time I started to really appreciate this city,” he says. “Primarily, it’s the people. There are really great, really smart people here doing great and smart things.”
Now married with two children, Atlason has made New York his home, but his Icelandic upbringing continues to influence his work. “Where I come from, the people are very straightforward and to the point. There aren’t a lot of flourishes in the language or the way people interact. Icelandic people have this can-do attitude. As a nation, it has spirit, like they can do more than their size suggests.”
Such can-do attitude can be seen in the Lína Chair, for which he bypassed the typical methods of construction in favor of making one molded piece. To get the form just right before investing in tooling for the mold, Atlason and his team made a full-size 3-D printed chair and even had it upholstered. “With 3-D printing, we were able to be in full command of the shape, and of what we were designing,” he says. “Rather than a craftsperson interpreting our sketch.”
In addition to its compelling shape, Lína features a compact design, which was one of the requirements outlined on the brief Atlason received from our product development team. “Katie and Liz [from DWR] were very clear about what they wanted, and it was my job to deliver that. The chair looks a little smaller than it actually is. People, especially tall people, are surprised when they sit in it, how deep it is and how comfortable.”
As for what makes this chair so right for right now, Atlason says it’s the versatility of it. “As we move away from the traditional boundaries between work and home, and more toward spaces that are more seamless, pieces like Lína become more relevant to how we live, in all areas of our lives.”
Working out of his SoHo office, with a team of 10, Atlason has designed furniture, products and packaging for MoMA, Ercol, Stella Artois, Billie Razor, L’Oreal and many others. Like most designers, he’s drawn to things used for exploring or enjoying, and in his case that includes motorcycles. The former Icelandic road racing champion gets around town on a Moto Guzzi. He still races, but it’s more motocross and dirt biking these days. “You’re more likely to get hurt, but you’re less likely to die,” he says.
DWR is very excited to introduce the Lína Swivel Chair by Hlynur Atlason. This is a designer who we’re proud to say helps make design within reach.