Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Chair #90

—Designer unknown

The chair is in a room surrounded by passionate, cinnabar red walls. Two Asian red and white ginger jars are on either side of it. A woman enters the room—her vintage silk kimono robe wrapped around her—and sits in the chair. She sips her smokey, lapsang souchong tea, dreaming of going back to China someday.

+ + +

History of Lapsang Souchong Tea

Lapsang Souchong tea has a famously smoky aroma and flavor. To create this black tea from the Fujian provence of China, tea leaves are dried in bamboo baskets over pine fires, achieving a perfect balance of smoke and tea flavor. You'll either love or hate this tea. Legend claims that the smoking process was discovered by accident. During the Qing Dynasty, an army unit passing through Xingcu camped out in a tea factory filled with fresh leaves awaiting processing, which held up usual production. When the soldiers left the workers had to think of a way to rush the drying time in order to get the tea to market in time. They lit open fires of pine wood, and the delicious smoked pine flavor created by this process created a sensation, and a new product was born.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Chair #89

—Designed by Marco Zanuso

Another great Italian designer, Marco Zanuso was known as an architect first before he started breathing life into everyday objects such as chairs. In the mid century, Zanuso had begun ground-breaking experiments with new materials, bending tubular steel into curvy shapes and slinging foam-rubber-filled seats from these frames. This chair looks very mod for its time.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Chair #88

—Designed by Louis Durot

French designer Louis Durot is a man who liked to experiment. Born in 1939, he's worked in various media and styles over the years, from stainless steel and aluminum to polyurethane. This chair, made from the latter, recently sold at auction for close to $10,000. It looks as wonderful in black as it does in a bright orange or lemon yellow.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Chair #87

—Designed by Tom Dixon

You know your chair is good when it's in a permanent collection at MoMA. Such is the case with this sexy S chair. Designed by Tom Dixon for Cappellini Furniture, the S chair quickly became a modern furniture icon. The S-chair has a metal frame covered in woven marsh straw, wicker and a range of fabrics and leathers.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Chair #86

—Designed by Marcel Wanders

This contemporary chair is light, airy, and reminiscent of that classic summertime hammock. It reminds me of the macramé projects I used to make in the 70's—cleverly knotting rope around old wine bottles. The chair combines the same sort of nifty knot tying along with a cool industrial technique. Aramid and carbon fibers are combined together to make thick thread or rope that is then knotted into the shape of a chair. I suspect there are some wires involved as a base. Then the chair is dipped into an epoxy resin, and hung out to dry. The final form is created by gravity. It should be called the Sir Isaac Newton chair. 

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Chair #85

—Designed by Ambrogio Pozzi & Verga

So who are these guys? Italians for sure, with all those vowels.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Chair #84

—Designed by Timothy Schreiber

So organic, I half expect a futuristic pteradactile to land in this bird's nest chair and lay some futuristic eggs. The chair is so reminiscent of the stunningly magnificent Beijing National Stadium—you know, the 2008 Summer Olympic games—that I have to wonder which came first, the chair or the stadium? 

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Chair #83

—Designer unknown

The elegant Klismos chair dates back to Ancient Greece, and has grace, symmetry and perfect proportions. And we all know how the Greeks liked their perfect proportions, right? Leave it to them, with their zeal for the human body, to design a particular chair that married beauty and comfort. It echoed the rhythm, precision, proportion, and order of their Greek architecture. 

Back then the chair peaked in popularity around 400 B.C. This we know because the chair shows up in painted form on ancient Greek pots and sculpture. One of the most famous sculptural examples is a relief of the Stele of Hegeso located in Kerameikos Cemetery in Athens, Greece. (Google it—It’s beautiful!) Hegeso is shown lounging comfortably the chair that perfectly conforms to her delicate back. Her servant is holding a box, no doubt filled with amazing jewelry—the kind we only see as knockoffs in the Met. Museum Store catalog. She’s probably trying to decide which necklace goes best with her toga. 

These chairs might have faded into history if historians weren’t excavating ruins at Pompeii and Herculaneum in the mid-18th century. The discovery of Greek and Roman ruins sparked a Neoclassical craze throughout Europe. All things Greek and Roman were the all the rage.

The poularity of the chair was revived again in the 1940s with the work of designer T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbing in the French Directoire, Empire, and English Regency styles. The most distinctive characteristics of the Klismos chair include a broad concave back, and four, curved saber shaped legs. 

Monday, March 23, 2009

Chair #82

—Designer Unknown

Punctuated by the dark brown wood, this chair is dramatically upholstered in a pale turquoise leather...do you love? Just imagine a room bathed with scrumptious turquoise walls, with heaps of leather bound books lined up on built-in bookcases. And do you know that Vincent Van Gogh painting—the one with the turquoise background—called Branches of an Almond Tree In Blossom? How perfect would an oversized print of that be, hanging in this room? 

+ + + 

Vincent Van Gogh's Branches of Almond tree in Bloom was painted in Saint-Rémy, Frence in February of 1890, and currently lives at the Rijksmuseum Vincent Van Gogh, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. This Almond tree painting clearly has Japanese influences—in letters to his friends and family, Van Gogh mentions Japan more than a hundred times. Interest in Japanese art and culture was quite popular in Europe in the latter half of the nineteenth century. This painting is one of a small handful that Van Gogh produced with a particular person in mind—in this case, his brother Theo and sister-in-law’s newborn baby. Van Gogh was deeply moved when Theo and Johanna chose to name the child Vincent and he always had a great deal of affection for the child. Van Gogh painted Branches of an Almond Tree in Bloom as a tribute to his nephew and namesake, as well as to honor the Japanese art which he so greatly admired. 

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Chair #81

—Designer unknown

The ultra tall high back on this Hollywood Regency style slipper chair makes for a dramatic piece. And it's ever so sexy with the black lacquer trim. The circa 1960's chair would be a great piece at the end of a hallway, with two oversized vaaaaaahses on either side to ground it. Oh and some clever overhead lighting.  

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Chair #80

—Designed by Jasper Morrison

British industrial designer Jasper Morrison created this essential shaped stool for Vitra's At Home Collection.

+ + +

Quercus suber, the Cork Oak tree, is what supplies us with commercially used cork. Most of these Cork Oak trees live in Portugal and Spain, but the trees are also sprinkled in other parts of the world. When the trees reach about 25 years in age, the cork is stripped from the trunks every 9 years. The strips of cork are dried for 6 months, then boiled for 90 minutes, then dried again for 3 weeks. Finally, the cork is cut into the shapes we know. This sounds harsh for the tree but they are treated well, and they live for about 200 years. For the most part the the cork industry is considered as environmentally friendly and sustainable with one exception. Since cork oak forests now comprise the majority of habitat for the Iberian lynx (sometimes referred to as the Spanish lynx) which is one of the most endangered cat species in the world, the lynx’s survival is believed to depend upon the continued viability of cork trees. Who knew there was a cork & Iberian lynx connection? 

Friday, March 20, 2009

Chair #79

—Designer unknown, circa 1970's

This unique, hand crafted chair is made of heavy duty solid aluminum rods, making it quite heavy and stable. Its sculptural form, with the Greek-Key-like design on the back, also looks functional and comfortable. And because aluminum does not rust, this chair can be left outdoors year round. Apparently aluminum is a notoriously difficult metal to weld and work with as it's melting point is well below the other metals—meaning whoever crafted this chair was very skilled. 

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Chair #78

—Designed by Barbara Barry

When Bogie and Bacall paired up to star in "To Have and Have Not" in 1944, they turned into one of Hollywood's most enduring romances. In the film, Bacall's character Slim wore glamorous dresses, and a had a mysterious demeanor. Surely Ms. Bacall had a chair similar to this in her dressing room. Like the chair, she was sultry, sassy, curvy, tailored, and very self reliant. And of course it was in this film that Bacall delivered the classic line... "You do know how to whistle, don't you Steve? You just put your lips together and... blow."

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Chair #77

—Designed by Eugéne Gaillard

Eugene Gaillard (1862 -1933)
Driven by his love of interior design and decoration, French designer and architect Eugéne Gaillard passed up a career in law to follow his passion. In his early career years Gaillard created interiors for his pavilion at the 1900 Paris Universal Exposition. He became a vocal advocate of modern design with the abstract natural forms of his furniture at this Exposition.

+ + + 

French Art Nouveau furniture often took its motifs from plant life and the human female form. The wood carving and bronze hardware generally matched each other in terms of motif, very naturalistic and three-dimensional. The more common of these motifs were vintage patterns (grapes and grape leaves), flowers (roses, daisies, irises etc), ivy and berries. This furniture was generally constructed of walnut or mahogany, sometimes with panels of burl, and with oak as the secondary wood. It was occasionally embellished with wrought iron or stained glass or marquetry. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Chair #76

—Designer unknown

This wooden slat chair reminds me of a fancy looking 
park bench for one.

+ + + 

Echo Park
—Lyrics by Keith Barbour, Sung by Billy Joel

It's the morning soon he'll rise
Find the glasses for his eyes 
Aren't what they used to be 
Picks up the clothes he's worn so long 
On the bureau sits the picture of a lady 
And the mural of a man who've been gone for many years 

The old man walks in Echo Park 
From bench to bench he moves from morning till dark 
For the ducks, some bread he brings 
Wonder if he'll feed them this time next spring 
Listenin' to the children play 
Reminds him of other days, many years ago
Thoughts of a child that he held prone 
And the memory of a letter 
Saying dear Sir, We regret to inform you 
your son will not be coming home 
The old man walks in Echo Park 
From bench to bench he moves from morning till dark 
For the ducks, some bread he brings 
Wonder if he'll feed them this time next spring 
Old man, tell me are there fears 
Do you measure life in years 
Or is one day all you'll ever know I got to know! 
The old man walks in Echo Park 
From bench to bench he moves from morning till dark 

Monday, March 16, 2009

Chair #75

—Designer unknown

This circa 1960s chair is upholstered in a delicious avocado green velvet. So 70's, right? It has tall brass finials on top of each side of the chair back, and spherical brass balls below each of the walnut wood legs.

Avocado Green Goddess Dressing

1 avocado, peeled and pitted
1 cup mayonnaise
5 anchovy filets, rinsed and chopped
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 clove garlic, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

In a blender combine the avocado, mayonnaise, anchovies, green onion, lemon juice, garlic, and salt and pepper. Process until smooth, then chill for 24 hours before serving.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Chair #74

—Designed by Mario Bellini

Italian architect Mario Bellini connects traditional and modern with his sleek, light, Vol au Vent chair. The innovative cover for the chair is completely padded with a single piece of stamped foam. With hidden zippers, the look of this chair can be changed by switching the specially designed removable upholstery. The Vol au vent chair is offered through B&B Italiam and is available in two sizes—the larger of which can be equipped with armrests.

 + + +
[French:  vol, flight + au, with the + vent, wind.]
+ + + 

In French culinary terms, vol-au-vent—which is French for “windblown” to describe its lightness—is a small bit sized hollowed out pastry shell of puff pastry filled with yummy savories such as a ragout of meat, fish, mushrooms, or even cheese. A round opening cut into the top of the pastry is replaced as a lid after the case is filled. Trés delish.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Chair #73

—Designed by Harvey Probber

This lounge chair with polished aluminum frame and diamond tufted seat and back was designed by American furniture designer Harvey Probber, circa 1960’s. Probber's elegant, innovative modern furniture was popular in the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s. He was known for introducing Americans to sectional, modular seating in the 1940’s. Brooklyn born, Probber sold his first design of a sofa for $10 when he was just 16 year old. Probber once had brief secondary career as a cabaret singer, but it was design that he loved most. He appreciated the value of patience, and considered it a necessary virtue in furniture design. In an interview in 1958, he once described "the quality of aging gracefully as being design’s fourth dimension.’’ He himself aged gracefully, and lived to be 80.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Chair #72

—Designer unknown

A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a violin; what else does a man need to be happy?
          —Albert Einstein

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Chair #71

—Designed by Johannes Foersom & Peter Hjorth-Lorenzen 

Again with the Danish designers. These leather upholstered chairs are circa 1970's from Danish designers Johannes Foersom & Peter Hjorth-Lorenzen for Erik Jorgense. The linear chrome frames contrast starkly with the curved back, and can serve as either side chairs or dining chairs. Wonder how they got the Cobra name?

+ + +

The name of the venomous snake Cobra is short for the Portuguese phrase, "cobra de capello" or in English "snake with hood." When feeling threatened or disturbed, most Cobra snakes can expand and and spread their neck (or hood) in a dramatic fashion in a "don't even think of messing with me" sort of way. Think of Rikki-Tikki-Tavi fighting the cobra in "The Jungle Book."

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Chair #70

—Designer unknown

Thing. That should be the name for this chair. This gnarly, knotted burlwood scholar's chair is quite unique indeed. It looks suspiciously like a monster from space, and couldn't possibly comfortable without a cushion. Quite a conversation piece.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Chair #69

—Designer unknown

Just a drop in the bucket.


Monday, March 9, 2009

Chair #68

—Designed by Gerrit Reitveld

I am sure there is some sort of weight limit disclaimer on this chair. Using only four elements joined with a system of dovetailing, Retiveld's Zig Zag chair's visual simplicity is actually complexly constructed.  The beautiful 1934 design is an expression of the "De Stijl" movement, and is part of a permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art. Made of natural cherry, Zig Zag can serve as a chair or a side table. It was initially manufactured by G. A. van de Groenekan, De Bilt, Netherlands and then Cassina, Italy from 1971. Each piece is numbered with an engraved signature and comes with certification to verify its authenticity.

+ + +

The history of Zig-Zag rolling papers

In the 19th Century, during the battle of Sevastopol, a French soldier (also known as a “Zouave”) had his clay pipe broken by a bullet. He had the brilliant idea of rolling his tobacco in a piece of paper torn from a bag of gunpowder.

In 1894, the Braunstein Brothers perfected the process of interleaving papers in a zig-zag manner and introduced a cigarette paper booklet under the name Zig-Zag®. In 1900, Zig-Zag gained international recognition when they were awarded a gold medal at the Universal Exposition in Paris.

For over 100 years the image of Le Zouave has been part of all Zig-Zag cigarette papers as a tribute to that creative soldier. Today, Le Zouave and Zig-Zag are known throughout the world as a premium cigarette paper.

        —Info from the Zig-Zag website

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Chair #67

—Designer unknown

From 1960s America, the ample, curvaceous seat is very warm and welcoming, and a dramatic contrast to the slender, tapered seat back.

+ + +

Salon  (noun) 

1.  gallery where works of art can be displayed 
2.  a shop where hairdressers and beauticians work 
3.  elegant sitting room where guests are received 

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Chair #66

—Designer  unknown

France, 1940's. Oooh la laaa. Zee chair... eet aaz zo much, how do you zay zeez?... zo much joie de vivre! Oh mon deu! I will be late for to teach my art class. Ballerinas. Today we sketch mon petit ballerinas, and I must not be late. Where eees mon beret, ah? Aahh, oiu! Bon. Aur revoir!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Chair #65

—Designed by Thomas Pheasant 

Symmetry, form, and scale. Each piece of furniture designed by Washington, D.C.-based designer Thomas Pheasant is crafted with these classic concepts in mind, creating his own new traditionalism. His trademark look uses these classic lines out of mahogany, and finished in a rich, glossy brown hue. The inspiration for his designs comes from classical Greek, Chinese, and Italian architectural elements. This chair, for Baker, pays homage to the directoire style. Clean and tailored, the flared saber legs and top rail have a lovely flow and continuity.

+ + +
Each piece has its own innate sense of style, with a functionality and versatility to speak to many audiences...The intriguing mix of scale, style, and finish options provide the forms with a stand alone quality, yet has a versatility to work well with existing decors.”

               —Thomas Pheasant

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Chair #64

—Designer unknown

Remember the board game chutes and ladders?! You spin the dial and move your marker on the board. When you land on a square with a picture of the bottom of a ladder, move up the ladder to the square where the ladder ends. When you land on a square with a picture of a chute, move down the chute to the square where the chute ends.

+ + +

A ladder-back chair has a tall back consisting of horizontal slats or spindles connected to two tall uprights. Ladder-back chairs appeared as early back as the middle ages, had become widespread in England by the 17th century, and were commonly used in colonial America. Though equal in size here, the top slat—often larger than the others—was often richly ornamented and pierced for ease of handeling. As piercing of the back slats progressed, they began to resemble the sound holes of a violin, and this type of chair came to be known as a fiddle back. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Chair #63

—Designer unknown

Oooooh Caaaanadaaaa. This 20th century chair is from a Canadian hunting lodge. Organic, eh? I have read that these antlers are extraordinarily strong. Comfy? not so sure. Campy? Definitely. Suddenly I feel like drinking a Moosehead beer and watching a heart racing hockey game.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Chair #62

—Designed by Suzanne Kasler for Hickory Chair

Love the quatrefoil shape of the chair back. This should be called the club chair, and sold with a heart, a spade, and a diamond back chair. Poker anyone? 

+ + +

Poker Hand Ranking

Royal Flush A straight from a ten to an ace with all five cards of the same suit. In poker all suits are ranked equally.

Straight Flush Any straight with all five cards of the same suit.

Four of a Kind Any four cards of the same rank. If two players share the same Four of a Kind, the bigger fifth card (known as the kicker) decides who wins the pot.

Full House Any three cards of the same rank together with any two cards of the same rank. 

Flush Any five cards of the same suit (not consecutive). The highest card of the five determines the rank of the flush. 
Straight Any five consecutive cards of different suits. Aces can count as either a high or a low card. 

Three of a Kind Any three cards of the same rank. 

Two Pair Any two cards of the same rank together with another two cards of the same rank. The highest pair of the two determines the rank of the two-pair.

One Pair Any two cards of the same rank. 

High Card Any hand not in the above-mentioned hands. 

Monday, March 2, 2009

Chair #61

—Designer unknown

The ornate back seat of this beautiful chair reminds me of a European church steeple. 

+ + +
The church steeple is a symbol of the heavenly aspirations of pious medieval men.
   —The Encyclopedia Britannica
+ + +

Not just for heavenly aspirations, church steeples were also watchtowers. Stone built and strong, churches were once places of refuge in times of attack. Through time, the use of the tower evolved from being an item of defense to being an item of inspiration. With the soaring arches and uplifting, vast spaces, it was only logical that the towers would also incorporate this soaring look toward God. The steeple then became a way to place the cross at the highest point in the city as the church was often built on the highest point in the city. The steeples could be seen for miles around with the effect that the cross on the top would be seen in witness to the faith of the community.  Note the great cathedrals of Europe with their steeples which seem to reach to the heavens. And form follows function...the shape of the steeple was best for holding the weight of the heavy bell(s), which were used to announce worship times to the people.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Chair #60

—Designer unknown

OK, Star Trek fans, this is your chair. The solar system chair is made up of 4 spheres of varying sizes, each with their own function. The main sphere functions as the seat, the secondary sphere functions as the backrest, and the 2 small spheres flanking each side are the arm rests. The solar system-like aspects are accentuated by the chrome steel legs and attachments, making the balls seem like they're suspended in infinite space... the final frontier.