Imagine using computers to bring countless generations of chairs to life, then forcing them to mate with one another in an orgiastic rut of successive DNA pairings until you finally have the uberstuhl: a perfectly designed chair. It's not exactly a conventional approach, but that's what FormNation is doing with Chairgenics, a program to "breed" the ultimate chair thanks to a little help from eugenics and evolutionary theory."Every designer I've ever met wants to design a chair in [his or her] lifetime, but when we were thinking of doing one, we questioned what we could do that hadn't been done before," FormNation's founder Jan Habraken tells Co.Design in an email. Favoring a Darwinist approach to design, Habraken and his team began looking to the world of evolutionary theory for a fresh approach. Habraken was inspired by Plato's famous diatribe about controlled breeding in a chapter of Republic and started wondering if the principles of eugenics could be applied to chairs. The result was Chairgenics, FormNation's five-year chair breeding program.Starting from a pool of about 10 chair "thoroughbreds," FormNation applied numeric values to each chair according to criteria such as durability, construction, cost and aesthetics, as well as the shape of various chair parts. "If you look at almost any iconic chair--the Pantone Chair, The Zig-Zag Chair, Bertoia's Wire Mesh Chair, and so on--you'll see that at the time of its origin, there was a technological breakthrough that allowed it to come into being," Habraken says. This is why, for the Chairgenics base stock, FormNation chose iconic chairs that contained a certain "X" factor in their DNA. Bred together, their offspring were examined for chromosomal deficiencies--missing ergonomic values, for example, or lopsided durability-cost pairings--and then bred with even more Chairgenics chairs to improve their stock.