Superb seating, divine design

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By Lee
If you really want to create a talking point in your home, give the floral wallpaper and the Danish lampshades a miss. Instead, go for a striking chair built with unusual materials.

Here are five chairs that might inspire you to create your own centre-piece or to head over to the nearest gallery and enjoy an iconic piece of art.

1. Shoot from the hip 

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Texan designer Alexander Reh was clearly delighting in inverting expectations when he revealed his ‘Fully Loaded’ chair. 

The design certainly lives up to the name because it's built from over 450 .12-gauge shotgun shells. Despite an aggressive sounding design, the brass tips create an unexpectedly charming old-world effect and are said to be surprisingly comfortable.

2. Upcycling is the answer 

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These days we're all encouraged to recycle but British designer Osian Batyka-Williams has gone a step further than most. Unlike Reh’s effort, the Cutlery Chair, made from reclaimed silverware, looks unapologetically uncomfortable.

The original chair began as a university project to draw attention to the amount of waste caused by restaurants that replace all of their cutlery every nine months. 

While the piece did little to affect change, the design soon gained a swathe of admirers and Batyka-Williams soon began working on commissions starting at £3,000 each...

3. Grow your own

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Tokujin Yoshioka’s work has always pushed beyond convention as he blurs lines between the worlds of design and art. 

His previous chair design ‘Honey-pop’ is a great example that blended nature and science to give a paper chair remarkable strength using a honeycomb structure. 

In 2008, the designer took Tokyo’s Second Nature show by storm with the Venus chair. This time his chair would be even more organic. "Grown" in a tank, natural crystals formed around a foam structure giving the chair its unique texture. 

4. Nurturing nature

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The incredible SuperFoam chair was developed in 2009 by Rich Gilbert, a student at the Royal College of Art (UK). Seeking to mimic naturally occurring foam structures, this design was created using a casting process that was designed to manipulate the naturally occurring properties of foam and allows Gilbert to easily shape it into supportive structures. 

Unfortunately, the stunning bubble effect is not naturally occurring. In this instance, it was created by casting a mould full of hollow plastic balls. 

5. Tied down 

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You may need to take a second look at this design. At first it may seem rather unremarkable but this design is actually made entirely from polypropylene rope and no additional materials have been used. 

As part of series, designer Tom Price created ‘PP Rope Blue’ by pressing a heated former into the ball of polypropylene rope, melting and shaping the plastic. 

When it has cooled, the rope retains a sturdy reformed seat. The ‘Meltdown Chair’ series repeats this process with a series of materials including bronze, hose, cable ties and even polyester fleece but none are quite this spectacular.