A rising star

After graduating, Robert van Embricqs developed a fascination for the complexity of the natural form. Finding inspiration in bone structure, plant life and movement, one question remained ever present in his mind: to what degree is the object you’re creating capable of dictating its own design? This led Robert to develop a minimalistic design approach that can best be described as a collaboration between designer and the used material.

By transforming from flat to three-dimensional, Robert’s work creates an interaction with the end-user. The Rising Chair concept was so well received that he decided to put this into production. In addition to the chair, the Rising collection is still evolving.

The Rising Chair is made out of wood due to its sustainable aspect and natural overall presence, with the option to add different colours.

When beginning to design his furniture, Robert starts out by making small incisions in a flat surface, he then sits back to watch how the new shape is created by rising the structure. An important aspect of his design process is a conscious focus on marrying functionality with an aesthetically-pleasing look. The design formula for every project he is working on can be described as a combination of functionality and art. What sets the Rising furniture line apart is the fact the products can always revert to their base form.

Robert says: “My inspiration came from a project in which an outdoor construction, that is meant as a market stand, hydraulically rises out of the ground. This construction then gradually declines once the visitors leave the market. The challenge was to translate this idea into a transforming piece of furniture. This concept started by using hinges for the designated places on the beams to unfold.


“By repeating every angle for each beam, a fluid rhythm is created and the Rising Chair was born.” Due to the transformation from flat to unfolded, a mechanism had to be designed to prevent the Rising Chair from folding back. This was made possible by placing an aluminum plate underneath the centre beams. This plate goes along with the movement of the Risinig Chair and is used as a stop.

“The chair is made in two sections,” Robert explains, “first, the wood is sawn and planed by the wood factory to the specific size needed for the chair. In the second stage, the pieces are sawn and milled on the place where the hinges are placed and all the corners are rounded for providing the best comfort. In the final stage, the chairs are oiled or painted and put together by a wood company based in Holland.” Robert continues: “The fact that it can transform from a flat surface to a sculptural seat triggers the creative minds of people and gives a new dimension in folding art and chair design.

“I frequently receive emails from students that are inspired by the chair and want to use the piece for a school project.

“The functionality of an object is mostly there, so for the designer it is important how you integrate functionality into the design or make the form follow its function. People like to buy products that are well thought out. Whether it’s a nicely designed functional lamp or functional chair. The final shape of the Rising Chair is a direct result of the incisions made in the flat surface. Without this act, the Rising Chair would have had a different shape.”

The Rising Chair was initially designed as a lounge chair for residential purposes, restaurant lobbies, hotels and design collectors.

“My next projects will be about transformable light designs and natural light filtering systems for roof windows.”


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