One unexpected aspect of lockdown is the opportunity to spend time at home and intensely using furniture that I’ve accumulated over the years, particularly a group of my chairs, which on reflection express themes and materials that resonate for us as a practice.
All are made of timber, but in other ways are highly individual. Used regularly, for eating, reading, viewing and resting, they gently migrate around the house. The walnut Malatesta and Masson sculptural armchair from 1950s Rome is hugely comfortable but quite stylised in contrast with the traditional Gimson English dining chair from the Arts and Crafts era, whose rush seat and highly recognisable ladder-back silhouette is a timeless icon. Another gem from the 1950s is Danish designer Borge Mogensen’s Spanish chair, a Scandinavian hybrid of a traditional rush-seated chair that combines saddle-like leatherwork, hence its name. Its wide arms and leather sling seat help me settle in comfortably for reading and resting with a drink. In contrast, the Pagholz chair from West Germany in the 1950s with its upright moulded timber seat is stackable and highly practical, adding a more utilitarian feel to the setting. The final piece of this jigsaw is an armchair by Zanine de Caldas, another sensational timber and leather armchair, a sensual Brazilian modernist piece from the 1950s.
After years of familiarity, I realise it was the small adjustments and attention to detail and materials that attracted me in the first place, but I appreciate now just how comfortable they all are for sitting in every day.