The Orphanage is our continuous series of foundling chairs re-interpreted and given new life so that they're ready for a new home. Some chairs are found at the side of the road, others are given to us from charitable organizations to be auctioned later for support. Each chair is revived with a combination of wood components, found objects and sometimes upholstery.
RE-IMAGINED STAM/BREUER CHAIRS
We respect the aesthetic economy of these classic chairs we found discarded at the University of Toronto so our update has been done with a light touch; we simply reused the original leather seating as strapping to harness new elm slats. We’ve re-imagined a set of seven of these chairs, originally made in Italy, and like most orphans they are looking for a home.
I FELT DANDY
We reDesigned this antiquated chair by deconstructing and rebuilding it into a comfortable lounge chair emphasizing the zoomorphic attributes. The frame was recast from the existing bones and the traditional seat was revived with recycled felt and supported by slats repurposed from conveyor apron salvaged from a defunct Toronto felt factory.
This was our contribution to reDesign 2011 for the Textile Museum of Canada. 35 Toronto artists, designers and architects were invited to redesign these Louis XVI-style armchairs to be sold at silent auction in support of the Textile Museum of Canada’s exhibitions, collections and public programs. We all received the same chair and the variety of approaches and resulting transformations is truly staggering, some of the final products aren’t even chairs any more. All the reDesign chairs were available for silent auction at the Gladstone Hotel.
THE CRADLE CHAIR
This well used lounge was originally built with good bones and integrity, which is what drew us to it. It had clean lines, solid wood and a leather seat. Probably built in the 70’s this vintage folding sling chair looked comfortable but awkward, it had a few flaws and it needed help. It was designed to rock gently to allow the user to stand up more easily but the mechanism was not fully resolved and was potentially dangerous to one's fingers. We reworked and redesigned the chair in the style of our chaise transatlantique. The rocking element was removed and the original solid wood cherry was slimmed down and streamlined joinery was added. It was also made to fold down for easy transport. The chair was refinished with natural and environmentally safe hemp oil and local beeswax. The leather was in rough shape, it was sanded down, re-oiled and also topped with beeswax.
“Nature produces no waste, only nutrients." This quote by Michael Braungart is stamped into the foot of the chair. This idea should be remembered with every object we create, buy or throw away. The original parts of this chair became the materials to create another chair. Michael Braungart is co author of Cradle to Cradle, a book describing how design should consider the entire life of a product and all the materials that go into it.
This new chair symbolizes what can be done when consideration and care are given to something that has been affected by time and neglect. We hope this revitalization earns it many more years of use.
We have spliced one lounge chair into a pair of chairs, by adding handmade components we have upcycled it into twin chairs for Furniture Bank’s Chair Affair. The twin chairs, along with 30 others by local artists and designers, will be auctioned off at the Steam Whistle Brewery from 6:30 – 9:30 on Thursday, October 21st, 2010.
The school chairs are a reinterpretation of the standard tube chair made in Western Ontario and ubiquitous for the past 6o years in church basements and factory cafeterias. We saved a batch from a defunct felt factory which were in very poor condition. With the addition of wood reinforcements and other elements we've given them new life for a new setting. The scratches in the paint expose the metal and show its history of useful tenure, marks of character that add charm to the piece. We have reinforced the frame with the application of solid wood braces as new legs. Some of the chairs have been instilled with a new vibrancy with powder coating.