The Gingko chair, a fan favorite in the commercial and contract furniture markets, turns eight years old in 2019. The relative newness of the product feels rather surprising, considering the timeless modernity the form of the ubiquitous chair exudes. But that’s just what the designers, Markus Jehs and Jürgen Laub of jehs+laub, were going for when they designed the Gingko for Davis Furniture. They relied heavily on the classic dictum “form follows function” to create a sophisticated multi-purpose chair that celebrates the product’s organic materiality.
“At the end, we had already discussed the best solutions,” explains jehs+laub. “We knew that our design was the best it could be.” That solution was to fabricate the Gingko chair with sustainably-harvested, German beech trees. This type of wood was the ideal pick to craft the Gingko, as it’s both incredibly pliable and strong. Very thin sheets of beech veneer were peeled and conditioned using an electronic imaging process that contoured the wood into the iconic Gingko shape using heat and high pressure. Outer faces of walnut or oak veneer were then applied as finishes.
This technique proved to be so successful that it naturally lead to the creation of a full Gingko collection. Today, the original Gingko chair is accompanied by the Gingko Ply Lounge Low Back, Lounge Mid Back, Lounge High Back, and Gingko Conference. These additions were introduced in 2015 and included a new innovation in material: foam and full upholstery treatments, which are connected to the Gingko’s form by Davis’s upholsters by hand, rendering a virtually seamless look. The organic form remained, but with this new experiment in high-end materiality the Gingko could find even wider applications in the contract market. Footrests were also introduced for this new line.
But Davis and jehs+laub weren’t done evolving Gingko yet. In 2018, the Gingko Wire and Gingko Plastic debuted, making the Gingko fully equipped to beautify indoor and outdoor spaces. The Gingko Wire, made from solid steel rods and hand-welded techniques, features chairs, barstools, lounges, and tables that exude a minimalist grace. Gingko Plastic suggests that just because a product’s material is all about durability and economy doesn’t mean that it can’t make a bold architectural statement. Together these new forays into different expressions of materiality make the thought behind the original Gingko’s form that much more impressive.
“In the end, our most basic desired goal was to create a truly unique and elegant multi-use chair,” says jehs+laub. It’s safe to say that goal was met, and then some.