Clark Bardsley Design 19 Bun

  • Pou Auaha / Creative Director
    Clark Bardsley
  • Kaitautoko / Contributor
    Lou Ashford (Snick Upholstery)
Judge's comments:

Bold, clever and super comfortable. Bun truly captured the judges attention starting with its imposing oversized presence, through to its cleverly manipulated foam core that create a luxurious retreat for those lucky enough to take a seat.


Bun is the name for a block of foam industrially produced or 'baked' , before it is sliced in to sheets.

The goal with this self initiated furniture project was to explore the structural properties of foam under compression to form an ergonomic shape. Early scale models, later proven at full scale, indicated that by compressing the foam in the seat area naturally deformed the flat surface in to a chair like shape with arms and a back.

A tubular steel frame, completely external to the foam, was developed and tested over a period of 2 years. 4 different prototypes were made to achieve and refine a luxurious and 'loungey' level of comfort from a slab of foam. While the shape of the chair was achieved without any support for the foam in the back, it was quickly realised that the foam needed support at the back to maintain that shape under the weight of a relaxed human body. The frame was adapted to provide this.

Once the right form was achieved a key challenge was to upholster the chair in way that communicated the stretch and compression of the foam. After a failed attempt to upholster after compression, it was decided to upholster the block of foam before compression using a specialist stretch upholstery fabric, with a geometric quilted pattern that helped to express the distortion of the original shape. The frame went through a final refinement at this point to gather the natural slack of the fabric at the front by wrapping around the front of the chair.

An ottoman was added using the same basic principles as the chair, to further enhance the comfort.

The result is a playful and unique chair, simply upholstered, with a fully external structure that expresses comfort and luxury through distortion and compression.