chair sculpture

Observer At The Bunkers

The Bunkers is a special property within vast stretches of polder on the border of Belgium and Holland. From the remains of two farm buildings and war-torn ruins, owners Margaux and Axel Corman have brought new life to these historic grounds which served as bunkers during both world wars.

There are plenty of intriguing details included in the restoration, but none more eye-catching than a towering chair sculpture erected on the grounds. We had to know more!

Turns out this sky-high seat is an art installation called Observer by Jonas Van Put, with a Series 7 seat by Arne Jacobsen crowning the spindly steel base. Sitting in the chair brings one’s eye level to 5.2 meters, shifting the boundaries between heaven, earth, and the horizon. Jonas designed the structure so that participants can see for a distance of 8 kilometers, which is 1.75 times further than at normal eye level. Observer offers a different view of the world and distances sitters from the earth and its inhabitants.

“I always try to figure out what a piece of furniture needs to do for me,” says Jonas of his design process. “Does it need to serve me? Support me? Give me a certain feeling? Encounter certain problems? Give me comfort? In this case, make me dream and play.” He brought this mentality to his creation of Observer, which he originally built for a BULO design contest. “We had the opportunity to do something with an original Frits Hansen Arne Jacobsen seat,” he explains. “Because I thought its shape was already perfect, I wanted to make a different approach.” Jonas fixated on the concept of broadening horizons, and landed on the idea of designing a framework for the Arne Jacobsen chair that would dramatically alter one’s observation point.

Each of Observer’s eight installations captivates audiences and passersby. Jonas credits this popularity to its unique, intuitive, and simple construction that isn’t designed “too much.” It incorporates satisfyingly sharp straight strong lines that are pleasing to the eye. “The story and pythagorean calculation adds to the pseudo-scientific reason of its existence,” Jonas continues, “and it literally and physically broadens your horizon.”

Observer thrives in all sorts of natural settings. “Most of them are placed in gardens or fields with a clear sight upon nature and its horizons,” says Jonas. “Two are placed within smaller fenced gardens, which makes it great because the chair lifts this boundary.” There’s also one on a hill in Switzerland, providing a stunning view over the Swiss Alps and the sprawling valley below.

Jonas says Observer compliments the Bunkers so well because it serves as a dreamy and light-hearted landmark. “It’s a place to reflect and quietly observe Flanders Fields at sunset, sunrise, or during the day,” he says. “The Bunkers is a serene place where aesthetic and well-being are prime. Observer matches this place perfectly.”

Margaux couldn’t agree more! “It’s a really nice artwork to see in the garden,” she says, “and it’s a perfect fit as we are surrounded by nature and the horizon is amazing from there.”

Jonas’s sketch of Observer 2.0

Jonas is keen on making Observer 2.0, which would move 360 degrees and have two chairs. We’re on the edge of our seat!

Any comments?