Award-winning rocking chair uses a tensile fabric and metal framework to achieve uniqueness

Close your eyes and imagine a rocking chair. You probably thought of the archetypal chair, right? The kind granddads sit on – made from wood, with armrests, a long back, and probably a creaking sound when rocked. Chances are that what you imagined was NOTHING like the ZHE rocking chair. Designed to bring a sense of disruption to how comfortably boring rocking chairs have begun looking, ZHE does things differently. Instead of wood, it uses a metal structure with a stretchable fabric draped on it. The fabric, which contorts and bends due to tension (or tensile strength), ends up forming the unique contoured shape of the ZHE chair. Sit on it and it feels like sitting on the future – there’s no wood under your body, just fabric, metal, and a sense of weightlessness as you rock to and fro!

Designer: Alan Hung

ZHE’s lightweight appeal comes from the fact that it’s designed around the core idea of ‘nothingness’. It’s essentially just a bent metal-tube frame with fabric draped over it, but it’s the way the fabric drapes over that gives ZHE all its character. The fabric wraps almost entirely around the metal armature, except for a small arc at the bottom which pulls the seat down and gives it concavity. It doesn’t particularly look like the fabric can be removed, washed, or interchanged, but then again those seem almost like secondary details.

The ZHE isn’t like your average rocking chair, as I’ve alluded to… but it behaves just like a traditional one. Sink into the comfort of its fabric seat and rock back and forth like you normally would. The curved metal channels on the base allow the chair to rock back and forth, while the chair’s fabric gives you the feeling of being in a hammock of sorts!

The ZHE Rocking Chair is a winner of the Red Dot Design Concept Award for the year 2022.