Furniture design

This “anti-theft” restaurant chair features a secret drawer for belongings

South Korean designer June Woo Lee designed the Afford Chair for hospitality environments to help user’s feel safe and comfortable.

Described as a “chair for dining”, this simple yet effective seating solution addresses several issues of using a chair in public.

The Afford Chair by South Korean designer June Woo Lee addresses several of the issues when using a chair in public places. Intended for hospitality environments like restaurants and hotels, it includes a dedicated storage space for belongings as well as smart design features for reducing noise and keeping the user safe. 

The chair’s light grey seat sits on a matt black powder-coated steel frame, which houses a secret drawer located at the base of the seat. Here, users can place belongings such as backpacks and handbags while dining. The idea is to prevent the need to hang items on the back of the chair, which Lee has identified as a prime opportunity for thieves.

Accessing the drawer is easy. By simply pulling the base of the seat, the seat splits and the drawer pulls out using a roller runner integrated into the frame. The chair also features a clever lock system that secures the drawer shut when the user sits down. 

Users can still hang items on the back of the chair if they wish to. Lee has designed a hanger-like back that acts like a hook for larger items like coats, which can be tucked partly away to prevent them from dragging on the floor. Meanwhile, to reduce noise pollution, she has integrated sled base glides into the base of the chair with a felt surface to eliminate noise when moving it.

A “chair for dining” (and the pandemic)

When it comes to dining in public, Lee has addressed several issues including safety, comfort and hygiene. A material palette of steel and plastic makes Afford easy to produce, clean and sanitise, which are all priorities in hospitality spaces, especially since the pandemic.

In this sense, it’s interesting to see how current events are impacting design, especially in a furniture typology as iconic as the chair.

Make sure to check out Konstantin Grcic’s Bell Chair for Magis, made of 100% recycled plastic.