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It could be a playful piece of furniture or your shot at levitation. Bounce, a chair by Mumbai-based product designer Fenny Ganatra, has received the prestigious Red Dot Design Award 2012 in the product design category.

Bounce comprises a circular acrylic frame holding together a mesh of super-flexible knits made of re-engineered silicone that sink in as you sit on the chair. Without any mechanical support and just the tensile strength of the re-engineered silicone, it adapts to the shape of your body.

Ganatra will be heading to Essen, Germany, where the winners of this year’s competition will be honoured on 2 July.

The 24-year-old graduated from Raffles Design International, Mumbai (affiliated to Raffles Education Corp., Singapore), two years ago. The idea of Bounce occurred to Ganatra while she was still in college. “It began with a fascination with the material—silicone. It is currently used only in the medical or construction field, but its flexibility, durability and what it allows in terms of shapes, colours and uses, made me want to explore it more," she says.

She spent the next two years experimenting with the material. “It took several hits and misses of moulding. Several prototypes broke before we got a composition with the right strength and elasticity," says Ganatra, who has now patented the composition.

Once the designer was done understanding her medium, her inspiration for the design came from a philosophy described as organic essentialism—to use nothing more, nothing less than is needed.

In spite of its minimalist approach, Bounce is definitely a statement piece. Bright fuchsia pink knits on a transparent frame make you feel like you’re suspended in mid-air. It also comes in colour combinations of red and white, and black and blue.

The problem with most sink-in furniture is that it’s a task to get up, but that’s not true of Bounce. It is of the right height so your feet can reach the floor, and the silicone knits are firm enough to offer slight resistance, making it easy to pull yourself up.

In January, the first edition of Bounce was showcased at Maison&Objet in Paris, an exhibition that attracts the best and latest in furniture and product design from across the world. In April, at SaloneSatellite, a furniture design trade fair in Milan, Ganatra launched the second edition of Bounce, inspired by “biomimetics", a trend that borrows from the patterns and processes of nature and turns them into contemporary designs. “It is a tribute to the most natural human system, that of breathing," explains Ganatra.

Bounce, starting price 62,000, is available at IDUS, Kirti Nagar, New Delhi; One Group, Survey No. 1000, Devidayal Road, Mulund West, Mumbai; and Couch Italia, 90, MG Road, Pune.

komal.sharma@livemint.com

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