Creating a product that hits internet viral gold: just an ego-boost or long-term gain?

It’s every designer’s dream to produce something that meets with great success, but the fickle nature of going viral across the web means it’s often a hit-or-miss affair. Idealog has a chat with Dan Kamp, the creative director of the design firm responsible for a very comfy-looking chair that’s tickled the internet’s interest.

Commissioned for the New Shoots Children’s Center, the “Hideaway Chair” designed by Auckland-based holistic design studio Think  & Shift is being met with critical acclaim across cyber space.

Featured across a number of design-centric blogs, websites and magazines, the chair is designed to serve as a space that gets children away from the hustle and bustle of their busy surrounding environment.

“[The attention’s] great. I mean, it’s always a great ego-boost for something to go viral. We’ve had a lot of requests for the product, because it’s not available on the market at all,” says creative director Dan Kamp.

According to Kamp, the popularity the project has received doesn’t directly translate to success or influence for the design firm, as it’s something that’s very hard to gage.

“Having something picked up internationally isn’t the goal of the project. It’s a great result, but it would never be what we intended when we design something,” he says.

For Kamp and his fellow designers at the firm, creating a project to brief is more important than it is to win internet brownie points.

One mum at one of the centers that had the chair sent the firm a thank-you letter for the chair.

“We had an email saying thank you. [The mother] had an autistic son who loved the chair, and it became a positive influence for him,” says Kamp, and that’s something far more rewarding than accolades from media.

However, Kamp does believes the direct influence of the success will be measureable once the product goes to market. That’s certainly something not far off, even though there’s no strict timeline for that to happen at the moment.

“We’re currently looking for the correct retail partner, and we’re looking to create an adult version simply because of the [amount of] people asking after it,” he says.

Funnily enough, the amount of attention they’ve been getting have all been from overseas media. Almost no one in New Zealand has picked it up.

Why?

Kamp is equally puzzled. “I honestly can’t tell you why that is, actually.”

Produced with natural sustainable materials, the chair is made up of four sweeping circular plywood sections that form a spherical shell, like a cut-in-half cocoon. The inside has upholstered panels that is affixed to the chair with clips that can be easily removed individually, allowing for easy cleaning or replacement. The chair itself can also be easily broken down to fit into a small box for shipping.