Sibast No8 – Revival of an Almost Icon

An underdog chair shines amid other iconic furniture pieces

The newly furnished show units at OUE Twinpeaks are visual buffets for design aficionados. Generously furnished with iconic pieces from design giants Gerrit T. Rietveld, Charles & Ray Eames etc, one chair stumps even the trained eye.

Standing inches shy from a handsomely crafted Canaletta walnut study table, you first see the chair’s 9 spoke back elegantly extending outwards. Shifting your gaze, you note its inverted Y-shaped legs supporting a seemingly floating upholstered seat pad. The Sibast No. 8 isn’t understated. It has all the features to give it an iconic status but it was for want of a celebrated name unlike its other room mates.

Marquis HQO Director Sharon Wu could have chosen a more well known piece for this project but she decided to take a gamble with the Sibast No. 8. “We were going for a tropical luxury theme and I couldn’t think of any other casual chair that would have better fit this theme,” she said. “I also like that it’s an unknown, its status gives the space a refreshing take from the usual tried and tested pieces.”

Calling the Sibast No. 8 an unknown isn’t far from the truth. Extensive Google searches turned up scant information about the design and less so on its creator, Helge Sibast.

What is known is curious.

The No. 8 has many parallels with the widely popular Wishbone or CH4 chair. Both chairs were designed in the 1950s, with a molded back piece and in Fyn, an island in the middle of Denmark. Both chairs also have equally significant features – the wishbone in the back of the CH4 and the Y-shaped legs in the No. 8. But no, the Sibast family asserts that there is no relation between Helge Sibast and Hans Wegner (creator of the wishbone chair)

“The No. 8 chair was produced for a decade and then the times changed during the 60s and other designs were preferred,” explains Ditlev Sibast, grandson of Helge Sibast and now founder of the revived Sibast Furniture. “Like many Danish designers of that era, my grandfather took advantage of the new techniques which were developed at the time which enabled him to mold wood into various shapes. Being both the designer and the builder, my grandfather was able to produce unique features like the Y-shaped legs on the No. 8.”

Back in the Leonie Hill Rd show units, Wu’s soft spot for the No. 8 extends beyond showcasing the design in various rooms. She has even selected other furnishings that complement the chair.

In the bedrooms, Marquis HQO’s bespoke bed frames take the spokes of the No. 8 as inspiration. The smooth wood grains adorning the Porada lightings and Saffo table harmonises with the veneer of the No.8.

In the kitchen, a collection of espresso black chairs become the focal point.

Wu’s bold and continual use of the chair may ensure the underdog may finally share its rightful position with other furniture icons. It may yet have its day.