A sculptural chair with an air of drama

The cleverness of artist Yinka Shonibare’s Windy design is mind-blowing. 

Yinka Shonibare steel, aluminium and resin Windy chair, edition of three, £160,000
Yinka Shonibare steel, aluminium and resin Windy chair, edition of three, £160,000

Earlier this year, the British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare – whose work is in the Tate collection, Smithsonian and New York’s Museum of Modern Art – installed his Wind Sculpture in Central Park, emblazoned with the bold batik textile pattern that has become a signature of his work. “The sculptures developed out of the sails in my piece Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle, commissioned for Trafalgar Square in 2009,” he says. “My art is usually autonomous – you can’t do much with it – and I wanted to see if I could evolve that project into a cross between art and furniture. I did the original sketches for the design and worked with Carpenters Workshop Gallery to develop them into the Windy chair.” The piece is crafted from handpainted aluminium, stainless steel and resin and is both functional and aesthetically engaging – it resembles a swathe of batik fabric unfurling in the breeze, just as Shonibare’s sculptures do on a grander scale. “It’s a piece of art when you’re not sitting in it,” he says.

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