Toshiba Space Chair Project

Toshiba has sent an armchair to an altitude of 99,268 feet above the Nevada Black Rock Desert to capture the ‘highest’ high-definition commercial in the world. ‘Space Chair’ builds on the success of 2008’s record-breaking ‘Timesculpture’ ad campaign, recreating Simon Faithfull’s Escape Vehicle No. 6 short film using Toshiba cameras.

Toshiba Space Chair

The ad features two exciting new products. The REGZA SV Series is the first-ever Toshiba LCD TV to combine Toshiba’s Resolution+ technology and an LED backlight – delivering stunning high quality images that enhances the viewers’ armchair experience. Offering the performance and functionality of full-sized laptops with portability and a battery life of up to eleven hours, the Satellite T Series frees users from the shackles of their desks, empowering them to explore new environments.

Shot in the wilderness of the Nevada Black Rock desert, the Space Chair advertisement follows the journey of an ordinary living room chair to the extraordinary heights of the edge of space, lifted to an altitude of 98,268 feet by a simple helium balloon. The film is cinematic, opening with a shot of the solitary chair silhouetted against the Nevada sunrise and taking the viewer on its journey above the desert, into the clouds and beyond.

Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube


The Space Chair project was developed at Grey London by creative director Andy Amadeo.

Filming was shot by director Andy Amadeo via Hungry Man, New York/Los Angeles, with executive producer Matt Buels, line producer Matt Jones, and director of photography Haris Zambarloukos.

Editor was Russell Icke at The Whitehouse Post.

Post production was done at The Mill.

The shoot was made possible via the construction of a unique custom-built camera rig engineered by John Powell of JP Aerospace – experts in this field who have successfully sent over 100 balloons into the upper atmosphere. A specially created full-sized model chair made of biodegradable balsa wood; light enough to make the 83 minute journey up towards space was tied to the rig and launched by the team.

Four independent GPS systems were placed on the rig to accurately record its height at any second to within 4 meters in altitude, and within 30cm in longitude and latitude position. This information was transmitted every 15 seconds back to ground control where it was monitored via a computer satellite system to enable the team to locate the rig once it had fallen back to earth.

Click on the image below to play the behind-the-scenes video in YouTube

Escape Vehicle No 6

As mentioned in the comment below, the Space Chair Project is a remaking of the Escape Vehicle No. 6 project by Simon Faithfull, commissioned by The Arts Catalyst for its 2004 Artists Airshow. A live audience witnessed the launching of a weather balloon with a domestic chair dangling in space beneath it. Once the apparatus had disappeared into the sky, they then watched a live video relay from the weather balloon on a giant screen as it journeyed from the ground to the edge of space (30km up).

Recently shown during “Gravity Sucks”, a British Film Institute exhibition in London (July-August 2009), the 25 minute footage shows the chair first rushing away from the fields and roads, ascending through clouds and finally (against the curvature of the earth and the blackness of space) beginning to disintegrate. The chilling nature of the film is that the empty chair invites the audience to imagine taking a journey to an uninhabitable realm where it is impossible to breathe, the temperature is minus 60 below and the sky now resembles the blackness of space.

Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube

Pocket Lint asked the Toshiba marketing group about the video and received the following response: “Simon was absolutely part of the team. We were obviously inspired by what he had done”.

  • This was a very complex set of flight, but a whole lot of fun. There are pics of the missions on the JP Aerospace website:


  • Jackie

    Very cool execution!

    I did some digging around and apparently the ad is supposed to demonstrate how Toshiba technology can take something ordinary and make it extraordinary.

    The campaign was created by Grey London for the REGZA SV LCD TV Series in 2009, Toshiba’s first model to include an LED backlight with local dimming, which they claim will “redefine the armchair viewing experience”.

    I’d love to read the brief for this project! I’ve posted lots of facts about the shoot here, if you’re so inclined:


  • jebuff

    Brilliant. Except its an uncredited corporate rip-off of a 2004 project by artist Simon Faithfull called “Escape Vehicle no.6″, sponsored by
    Confronted on the copy, Grey now claims the original artist was “on the team” and that their original idea was “making an advert of this concept”.
    You can compare the videos on YouTube, or on my blog…

  • john

    Maybe Grey London will offer Simon Faithfull a ECD role, or maybe Toshiba will cut the middle man and hire him directly, since all they needed was a production company to re-shoot the same concept with more money and better equipment, not surprisingly 5 years later.

  • Art Fine

    well, they say Simon Faithfull was part of the team, but why did they not credited him upfront…and only then after they were exposed…seems odd, there’s something not right here…

  • greenface

    Simon Faithfull: “I was not “absolutely part of the team” as Matt McDowell has recently suggested – the first time I saw the Toshiba film myself was when people started sending me the YouTube link. I did help with the underlying themes and ideas behind the advert in that I had one meeting with Grey within which we discussed the possibility of re-staging my artwork ‘Escape Vehicle no.6’ during my recent exhibition at the British Film Institute. The idea was that this would be a large, live public event in the centre of London and later there would also be an edited version for TV functioning as an artwork/advert. This subsequently didn’t work out and I can’t really say any more for legal reasons.”

  • bethdaniher

    I just caught on to this ad and I’m completely mesmerized by it… There’s something about its simplicity and the miracle of flight! Very 2001: A Space Odyssey, but also (hate to say it) reminiscent of the Balloon Boy fiasco. The soaring armchair reminded me of those Falcon’s silver foil balloon, soaring through the heavens…

    Check out Schweppe’s “Schweppervescence” ad… extreme slow-mo popping of airborne water balloons.

    It’s fascinating how different our world looks at 10,000 frames/second, or 10,000 feet above ground. I agree with Jackie… great ads can capture the real and make it appear surreal.