When it comes to digital purchases, rights management is a hot topic. In order to prevent piracy, some products are designed to no longer function after certain conditions have been met – have you ever considered what this might result in if it was a practice not limited to just the digital world? A Swiss design team did, and made a chair that put the idea into practice. They designed the chair in such a way that it can only be used eight times. How did they go about this?

Their first idea was to have it literally self-destruct using gunpowder – not only did this not work well, but there was a genuine possibility of someone getting their backside blown off so they changed their method. The final result was a chair with wax joints filled with nichrome, a wire used in heating applications.

A warning system knocks to let you know how many sittings have been used each time a person stands up – it then counts down starting from eight, and after the final use the nichrome heats up. This melts the wax, and the chair falls apart in less than a minute – so don’t try to sneak in one last sitting, or you’ll end up sitting on the ground!

This chair was built for a competition involving creative deconstruction, but it also makes an interesting point about rights management – if companies tried to implement physical rights management to limit use and theft of their products, it would be costly to them and an outrage to the consumer.

The issues with the latest SimCity game show that digital rights management can also have detrimental effects by upsetting users and costing developers money, all the while damaging their reputation – this self-destructing chair makes a unique metaphor!