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11 Sep 2014

If the true measure of greatness in the world of contract furniture is the number of chairs sold, then Martin Ballendat is up there with the best of them. The Austrian has been designing since 1983, and over the years has produced many highly regarded and commercially successful chairs for a raft of global brands. Here, Ballendat talks onoffice through just a few of his bestsellers.

Little Perillo for ZÜCO

Züco Little Perillo 4c

"Perillo was modelled by hand in our workshop. I think it is only possible to do such organic forms with clean lines by grinding them manually. Afterwards, everything was scanned and based on that we did the construction data. The construction was extremely difficult, as we had to bear in mind the mould release for the tool made for that complex form; the tool for the injection moulding cost over €150,000. Only very few design studios are capable of doing such freeform constructions in 3D."


Xenium for Rohde and Grahl

Rohde und Grahl Xenium

"The strong point of my Xenium chair family, introduced in 2004, is the very individual and ergonomic design, together with the fact that it is based on a modular construction system. [For example] the backrest has mesh or regular upholstery or the so-called DUO-back [above left], which can all be mounted during production according to the modular construction system. This concept is my most successful – 50,000 of these chairs have been sold just in the last year."


Magnum for Team 7

Team7 Magnum Freischwinger seitlich 4c

"What made this chair special was the technique we used for the mesh upholstery, consisting of a single piece
of knitted mesh that covers the frame of the shell completely. We used only one layer of the mesh for the surface, which makes it very transparent. The construction is hidden in what's called the piping channel. This technique for upholstery was developed in our office and we have now a patent for it."


Up-chair for Tonon

Tonon Upchair 4c

"I have realised my formal concept of twisted forms in various projects [such as Little Perillo] and I am continuing to do so. I would like to regard it as my special handwriting as a designer. But the interpretation of the various chairs is very different and individual. For example the twist of the timber armrests of Up Chair, in contrast to the Perillo, is an absolutely individual highlight."

up chair 2013W rt


Alite for Brunner

7 Rueckseite alite

"For many years Brunner has been known for being a specialist in stacking chairs. But Alite was a niche product, an extremely light aluminium construction. Thus the chair had a special position in the market. It was an important factor when Brunner received one of the biggest orders in its history, over 12,000 Alite chairs for Qatar."

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