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Chairs designed by AI look cool but uncomfortable

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Computers can’t sit after all

Four prototypes of weirdly shaped chairs Philipp Schmitt and Steffen Weiss

The chair is a designer’s darling. Often it’s a calling card for a larger body of work—a distillation of a design sensibility or ethos. So what happens when you take the designer out of the design?

Something to the order of these wonky chairs. In a project called ChAIr, designers Philipp Schmitt and Steffen Weiss explore what happens when you allow humans and AI to design together (and let AI take the lead).

Chair with two backs Philipp Schmitt and Steffen Weiss
Grid of classic chairs
The dataset
Philipp Schmitt and Steffen Weiss

To create the series of four chair prototypes, the designers trained a neural network on a dataset of 562 photos of 20th century chairs pulled from Pinterest. We’re talking classics like Eames’ molded plastic, the Aeron, and Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona chair.

Computer generated sketches of chairs
AI’s chair sketches
Philipp Schmitt and Steffen Weiss

From there, the neural network worked to generate new chair designs based on attributes identified across the wide array of existing chairs. The ideas that the AI came up with look like Frankenstein chairs—some have double backs, others only have three legs.

Chair with wonky back Philipp Schmitt and Steffen Weiss

The designers then used the computer sketches as creative inspiration for designs of their own. The reversal of roles—computer leading human instead of human leading computer—is an oddly satisfying partnership. Granted, you’d have a hard time sitting on any of these chairs, but you have to admit they are pretty creative.

Chair with wonky back Philipp Schmitt and Steffen Weiss

Via: Fast Company