The Robotic Chair

The Robotic Chair

Max Dean, Raffaello D’Andrea, Matt Donovan

1984 - 2006
Falling is everywhere … We fall in love, we fall into depression, we fall asleep. And then there's this whole aspect of once we've fallen, putting ourselves back together.
Max Dean

This is The Robotic Chair by Max Dean, Raffaello D’Andrea and Matt Donovan. Although it looks like any ordinary seat — the kind you’d find in a classroom or a doctor’s office — this particular chair can do the most extraordinary thing.

With a thunderous crash, The Robotic Chair falls to pieces. Then, slowly, almost magically, the artwork puts itself back together and stands up — a complete chair once more.

Three photographs of the artists Max Dean, Raffaello D'Andrea and Matt Donovan
Max Dean (1), Raffaello D'Andrea (2) and Matt Donovan (3)
Parts of a wooden chair connected by mechanical arm
An earlier prototype with robotic arm used to assemble

Built between 1984 and 2006, the kinetic sculpture (that means “moving sculpture”) is a collaboration between three very different artists. While teaching a deeply human lesson about failure and recovery, the artwork itself is an idea that had to fall down a few times before it could find its own legs.

What’s your first reaction?

Pull up a seat and learn the story of how this chair that’s unlike any other evolved from an impossible idea to an awe-inspiring reality.