Furniture Fridays: The No 8 Chair

  • Posted: August 31, 2018

In many cultures, eight is considered a number of good fortune, construction and ancestry – all of which provide a pretty good summation of the No.8 Chair from Sibast.

Sibast No 6 - back in the days

Family trees
The story began in 1908 when Peder Olsen Sibast opened a family carpentry business on the island of Funen in Denmark. His son, Helge Sibast was born the same year and later became his apprentice, honing the local beech and oak woods and learning Peder’s consummate skill in furniture design and craftsmanship.

As the carpentry business grew, Peder’s three children took over the day-to-day running of the company, and in 1943, Helge was appointed as design and production manager of the fast-growing furniture factory – now known as Sibast Furniture.

Looking back at the prototype

Sibast Furniture’s immense passion for Danish Design and in-depth focus on quality craftsmanship led to a series of collaborations including the renowned designer, Arne Vodder, apprentice of Finn Juhl – the father of Danish Design. Together they designed dining chairs, tables with a focus on architectural line and balance. Hegle Sibast designed the Sibast No.8 chair in 1953, and the chair rapidly became immensely popular.

The resulting simple, functional designs played an essential part in the design wave of the 1950s and 60s. Sibast Furniture was sold around the world – to Scandinavia, Europe, Japan, Australia and even to the White House.

The carpentry - Sibast No 8

The return of a classic
With a shift in design trends, the No.8 was put out of production for a number of years until 2012 when it was reintroduced into the market nearly 60 years after its launch. This story of a revival of mid-century design is really something special. It demonstrates the timeless legacy of Danish design and its enduring strength in the residential and commercial markets.

Sibast No 8 at Desk setting

Form & line
Now, to talk about the design itself, it is distinct and striking due to its linear quality. The eye is drawn up and down the repetitious lines. These repeating shapes are elements which create an almost perfect balance of form and line. This mechanism creates a movement which leads your eye through the design so that when you see the same line over and over again, your brain takes less notice of it and begins to see something that is entirely unique and different.

There are many elements to its form which, combined, gives the chair a unique expression. For example, the characteristic y-shaped legs which are aesthetically pleasing but also functional as the main-frame.

Once you take a closer look at the seat, you’ll notice it creates the illusion that it is floating, suspended above the frame and nested next to the press moulded backrest.

Sibast in Oak White Oil, Oak Oil and Oak Black Lacquered respectively with Spectrum Honey seat
No 8 Chair in Oak Oil with Remix seat and AC2 Chair in Oak Soap
No 8 Chair in Oak Black Lacquered with Victory Black leather

Round & around
The chair offers multiple perspectives and its character changes when walking around the chair. It is evident that some of the No.8 chair’s inspiration is drawn from architecture; the sculptural elements alter as it turns where new lines are formed.

If we take all of these factors into account, the heritage, design and popularity of the chair we can conclude that the No.8 chair is a product that will forever be seen as a Danish design classic which combines refined functionality and design to create a truly outstanding piece of furniture.

Considering each of these facets of the No 8 Chair, from heritage and design principles to popularity, we start to see why the chair is seen as such a remarkable piece of furniture design.