K Chair, 2018

Cathy Cao and Nicholas Tay Meng Kiat have used concepts of Zen design to represent the harmony that exists in the construction of their chair, K Chair. The K Chair aims to be simultaneously complex and simple.

Inspiration for the chair began with Deconstructivism and Parametric design elements that dominate our modern world. Deconstructivism is a movement of postmodern architecture that appeared in the 1980s where the feature of the product/building is its partial construction, well known for its lack of harmony, continuity and symmetry. Parametric design allows the work to have its own freedom as the design intent and design response builds the framework to determine the algorithmic design elements.

The design of both the K Chair and Z Stool are part of a product family, where marine plywood has been used in the design and construction. In correlation to their previous exhibit of the Z Stool, the design fuses both the positive and negative space together with the smart use of the K shape and slatted wood structure. By using the slatted design with a twist in the layout, the K Chair is the combination of both modern and traditional values carefully embedded in the form and function of the design.

Image: Nicholas Tay Meng Kiat & Cathy Cao, K Chair, 2018. Image courtesy of the artists

Nicholas Tay Meng Kiat & Cathy Cao Portraits_Image courtesy of the artists


Cathy is a commerce student at UNSW. She began sketching at a young age and has experience in making miniature art. She is responsible for model making the K Chair project. She has previously exhibited the Z Stool in WORKSHOPPED18. Part of the product family tree of marine plywood furniture.

Nicholas is a recent graduate student in industrial design. He has won numerous awards in the industry, such as the Red Dot Award 2012, and been recognised in the James Dyson Award and the A’ Design Award. Since arriving in Australia, he has been on the board of various international and local design committees, including City of Sydney’s International Student Leadership Ambassadors 2016 & Design Institute of Australia’s Student Council Member in 2017. He takes pride in designing, concept sketching and the technical aspects of the K Chair.

Image: Nicholas Tay Meng Kiat & Cathy Cao. Image courtesy of the artists