Here's something I stumbled upon within hours of arriving in New York (for the International Contemporary Furniture Fair/ICFF) last week - a chair that is ridiculously simple: a single, thin sheet of powder-coated steel with laser-cut perforations that, with a touch of origami-style folding, becomes a sturdy and very comfortable seat. Ridiculous and simple pretty much sum up the approach of Blu Dot, the company that designed and makes it: for John Christakos, Charles Lazor, and Maurice Blanks, three former college friends who founded the company in 1997 and design most of its products, simple is at the heart of everything they do. It's all about straightforward, modern and affordable design. But their seriousness of approach is shot through with a strong streak of the ridiculous - evident from the parties they hold (none of that buttoned-up "6 to 8.30" nonsense during ICFF; it was a case of keep going until you can't any more) to the way they approach marketing and the design process itself.
They're based in Minnesota and I can't help but wonder if the absurdity of the Coen Brothers' movies (some made there; the brothers grew up there) is coincidence or if there's something in the local water. Legend has it that Real Good began to take shape when the designers were sitting around eating pizzas. They looked at the boxes. Flipped them open and closed. Thought about the fold-lines. How they could be translated to a chair design ?
Buy a Real Good Chair and you'll get it in what looks like a giant-sized version of that inspirational pizza box ? printed with (ridiculously simple) fold-along-the-dotted-lines instructions. As well as this rich, ripe tomato shade, it comes in sensible black, grey-white and a nicely retro shade of turquoise. US$129 (Dh474); optional seat pad $39 from Blu Dot, 140 Wooster St, Soho, New York, +1 212 780 9058, www.bludot.com