LDF22: Meet Yonk and the Groovy Chair

The Conran Shop is opening the 2022 edition of the London Design Festival in style, collaborating with the cult art and design publication It’s Nice That for a new immersive installation entitled Meet Me in the Metaverse, highlighting the work of six digital artists. The first of these, Yonk, have reimagined Pierre Paulin's iconic Groovy Chair by truly making it groove.

Yonk is a 3D studio based in the Hague, Netherlands, that specialises in using virtual reality sculpting software to create character design and animations. This tool has enabled Yonk to develop a maximalist and whimsical style that has been featured in advertising, identities, video clips, and much more. Their clients include the likes of Nike, Selfridges, Vice, and now, The Conran Shop, having tansformed Pierre Paulin's timeless Groovy Chair for the Metaverse.

In exclusive collaboration with Paulin, Paulin, Paulin, the getekeepers of Pierre Paulin's legacy, we can finally unveil the late designer's signature Groovy Chair with a four-colour Conran Shop makeover. Informed by the technology used in the car industry, the Groovy was prototyped in 1964, and finessed in the 1970s. Each Groovy flaunts a soft and elegant shape that highlights its function while accentuating comfort and aesthetics, bringing a sculptural dimension to any interior décor. Our exclusive iteration transforms the chair's wide, fully padded seat and backrest with a remarkably soft and vivid wool blend, complete with aluminium glides and unmatched back support; the perfect base for Yonk's characterful enlivenment.

Continue reading to learn more about the design studio's work and inspiration in our exclusive interview.

1. Welcome to The Conran Shop, Yonk! Please could you tell our readers all about you?

Thanks for having us, The Conran Shop! We are Yonk, a 3D animation studio based in The Hague, Netherlands. We specialise in using Virtual Reality Sculpting software to create whimsical and maximalist 3D character designs and animations. Our aim at Yonk is to create work that is entirely playful, dream-like and sometimes, damn right weird!

2. How did your relationship with It’s Nice That begin?

Our relationship began with It's Nice That from the very beginning of YONK when they discovered our work at DEMO Festival 2019 and decided to feature us on their site. We have worked with It's Nice That on many exciting projects since, including the 3D Identity for The Next Generation 2021, an annual showcase of emerging creative talent.

3. Please take us through your journey in reimagining Pierre Paulin’s Groovy Chair for Meet Me in the Metaverse; what was your favourite part of the process?

When we began the reimagination of Paulin's Groovy Chair, we were fixated on its name and form. The chair almost screamed to be in motion and we knew that with our digital tools we could gift the chair movement and transform this solid object into a dynamic character. We first took a deep dive into the chair's history, form and various colourways to build our character and then hopped into VR to start fleshing out its digital form. Our favourite part of the process was when we began animating and finally see the Groovy Chair... groove!

4. What does the Metaverse mean to you?

In a way, we enter a Metaverse every day when putting on our VR headsets and sculpting in our virtual studio so it's quite integral to our process. In terms of the future Metaverse, we believe that it will swing open so many doors for creatives, paving the way for new processes and never before seen art styles. We can already see this happening and it's already incredibly exciting.

5. As we celebrate the 20th London Design Festival, what is the importance of such events for artists and designers?

Festivals like London Design Festival are necessary for celebrating creatives and designers from across the globe and allowing an exchange of stories and ideas all within one city. The vast amount of displays, exhibitions and discussions on offer is enough to inspire anyone who's within the creative realm and will pave the way for future trends and ideas.

6. Finally, what does the future hold for you?

At Yonk, we are always exploring where our style and process can live. Some current examples are the development of our video game and the beginning of creating physical products and artworks with 3D printing. We believe the future will bring a bounty of opportunities to continue to push our process and style into many different facets and just can't wait to explore them all.

Meet Me in the Metaverse may be over, but you can still shop the LDF22 edit today.