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Views by Designer Tom Hancocks

The chair is the design world’s ultimate archetype, the object many furniture designers define their careers by, and the one they pin their frustrations to when lamenting the scourge of overproduction. Because of the prevalence of chairs in our lives, and their relationship to our bodies, they can also be deeply symbolic and evocative — a notion that New York designer Tom Hancocks decided to explore in his new Views series, created exclusively for Sight Unseen. Using the 3-D graphics software Blender, he conjured six different rooms inhabited by various types of chairs, whose forms and relationships to their immediate surroundings were intended to convey certain moods and emotions.

One of those moods is creepiness. “A major inspiration for these images was the American-Canadian photographer Lynne Cohen,” explains Hancocks, a self-taught, Australian-born designer who currently works as an interior architect for Rafael de Cardenas. “Cohen’s photos generally depict interiors that feel recently occupied, but not inhabited, as if the occupants have fled for an unknown reason. The images are eerie and unsettling. Cohen used a process of subtraction — the scenes were set by other humans, and then the humans were removed — whereas mine were made through a process of addition, developing the spaces piece by piece until they got to the point where the human would be the next addition.”

Each of Hancocks’s images focuses on one of three themes meant to invite the contemplation of the viewer — comfort, intimacy, and focus — while the name of the series, Views, also has three reference points: “There’s the view outward, through a strategically placed window in each image, which alerts the viewer to the location of the space,” he says. “But there’s also the view inside, into an unknown person’s domestic space, which you perhaps shouldn’t be seeing. And the view that’s imagined, in which you place yourself inside the space as a subconscious reaction to seeing a certain piece of furniture.” Explore the Views series below, then be sure to check out the rest of Hancocks’s portfolio on his website and his (very popular) Instagram.

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