Hot Seat

Paul Sandip has taken a little help from basic physics to create the quirky Mr Chair that is sure to delight kids.


The childhood aspirations of the children who flock Paul Sandip’s home, thanks to wife Suhasini, were all the impetus Paul needed to dream up Mr Chair. “I was bombarded with dreams and hopes such as ‘I want to be a magician’, ‘I want become a scientist’, ‘I want to be a pilot’…. so this triggered a thought that sought to make these desires tangible,” reveals Paul. Since he was already interested in basic physics, and how everyday objects behave Paul finalized on electrostatic energy as a premise for the design of Mr Chair. This choice was especially important because it also took into account the fidgety and constantly experimenting nature of children, all easy sources of electrostatic energy. A few inventive testing methods followed. Paul burst poly-bags and bean bags to get hold of polystyrene balls, and then observed their movements under electrostatic energy, especially that created by plastic chairs. Soon he was convinced that these non-descript roundels would best animate his design. Polycarbonate was decided as the material of choice once the prototypes of vacuum-foaming acrylic, etc, were done. Created with the usual injection moulding process, Mr Chair, was divided into three categories: Mr Scientist, Mr Painter and Mr Magician. The first has a transparent surface to relate to the glass equipment found in laboratories, and once charged, the white polystyrene balls within its body, float to wherever the energy takes them. Mr Painter, on the other hand, has an opaque yellow seat with transparent legs, filled with yellow polystyrene roundels, which stick to the underside of the seat simulating dripping yellow paint. The red Mr Magician comes with opaque legs, but a transparent seat. So when the electrostatic energy is created, the red polystyrene balls come rushing to the surface, as if by magic!

Shortlisted for the Red Dot Award of 2011, Mr Chair needs no high-level maintenance. A quick wipe with a dry or damp cloth will do just fine. Paul shoots down any queries about extending this idea into other merchandise, saying, “It will take the spotlight away from its uniqueness! I do not want to dilute my designs — my USP is that I create one design, so that its iconic value remains.” And so, one-of-a-kind Mr Chair will remain!

A Red Dot Award winner, first in 2007, and then again in 2010, Paul Sandip is an electrical engineer, as well as a professional cartoonist, who received a master’s degree in product design from NID.