When Thomas Pedersen was about to complete his graduation project from the Aarhus School of Architecture in 2002 he stumbled across a problem: the school has an excellent wood workshop but no facilities for working in metal or glass fibre, facilities which Thomas Pedersen needed for his project. “Together with another student who also worked in glass fibre, I completed my project out in the school car park. That caused a few problems because the fibre glass made a mess and the dust settled on the teachers’ cars,” Pedersen explains.
His tenacity was rewarded, however. His project culminated in the unusual Stingray rocking chair, which assured Pedersen his place among the most talked about design talents. “It’s not that I’ve got anything against wood, it’s just that there already is so much wooden furniture about. I wanted to show that it pays to think in new ways and use unconventional materials,” he says. The name of the chair derives from the stingray. The Danish word for stingray is “rokke” which sounds like the first part of the word “rock” in “rocking chair” and the shell does resemble a giant stingray moving across the seabed. But it was the functionality that came first, not the design. “I wanted to make a swivel chair with lots of different sitting positions. The stingray-like shape came into being as a result of the functionality,” insists Pedersen.