Reading: Canadians Make Good Chairs
Canadians Make Good Chairs
Canadians are known for many things around the world: they are polite, friendly, and socially responsible to the environment and to each other. We are seen as a forward-thinking culture that tends to be humble and always seems to be apologizing. But one thing we shouldn’t be apologizing for is our savvy approach to design. As part of our celebration for Canada 150, we have decided to celebrate Canadian furniture design. Often unknown by their fellow countrymen and women, Canadian furniture designers are actually well regarded the world over. Although we have become known for edgy lighting and beautiful wooden tables, we seem to have an affinity for chairs. Perhaps it’s our need to pull one up and share a meal or conversation. Or perhaps we just really like sitting. Either way, here are some classically cool chairs that are Canadian. Who knew, eh?
Gazelle Chair, 1988
Although the Gazelle Chair is now considered a Canadian design icon, Jonathan Crinion’s chair had a very shaky start. First introduced in 1988, the chair went out of production by the early 2000s due to issues with the manufacturer and non-payment of royalties to the designer. Luckily for all of us, the chair was re-introduced to the market in 2002 by Keilhauer and has been leaping off showroom floors ever since.
Fabiano And Panzini
Solair Chair, 1972
First designed in 1972 by two industrial design graduates, Fabio Fabiano and Michelange Panzini, the Solair Chair continues to be a design classic fifty years later. The pair originally set out to rework the concept of a comfortable yet modern indoor/outdoor chair – and that was also economical. They turned to the latest technology of the time: injection molding plastics and steel framing. Not long after production started, the chair instantly became a best-seller across Canada and throughout the United States; there wasn’t a roadside motel in the 1970s that went without one. The Solair chair is now an iconic fixture of North American culture and is even part of the permanent collection at the Montreal Museum of Fine Art.
OnEdge Chair, 2005
Designed by twin brothers Jason and Lars Dressler who were originally trained as engineers, the Onedge series explores the use of plywood set on its edge to create form, structure, and comfort. The chair is comprised of repeated elements that are bolted together without the use of any adhesives. Designed for relaxation with minimal form, the cantilevered base offers flexibility and bounce for added comfort. Of note, the designers follow a philosophy that focuses on local, reclaimed and responsibly harvested materials; they even recycle the off-cuts from these chairs into toys and accessories.
Chord Chair, 1954
Considered to be the father of industrial design in Canada, Jacques Guillon first introduced the Cord Chair in 1954 at the Milan Triennale. The chair showcases two very simple materials: a solid-maple frame and eight-strand braided cord. This combination represents a near-perfect balance of fragility and strength. And it’s damn sexy. The chair has recently been re-released by Avenue Road.
Avenue-road.com, Price Upon Request
Frank Gehry, Knoll
Hat Trick Arm Chair
Perhaps one of Canada’s most famous architectural exports, Frank Gehry has also built a strong following within the furniture design community. The Hat Trick chair was first conceived in 1989, when furniture retailer Knoll approached him to create a chair. The Hat Trick pays homage to Gehry’s Canadian roots and his love of ice hockey. That’s right it is named after the term used when one player scores three goals in one game. The chair is constructed from wafer-thin strips of laminated maple that are bent, woven and curled, referencing hockey sticks – assisting this chair in scoring another design goal for Canadians.
Karim Rashid, Umbra
Last but not least, let’s turn to perhaps the most prolific Canadian designed chair: the Oh! Chair by Karim Rashid. Originally released by Umbra in 1999, this chair instantly won an IDEA award and was added to the SFMOMA permanent collection. Interestingly enough the chair is named after the exclamation you emit after settling in – and it definitely does the name justice. Constructed of polypropylene with new matching matte finish steel legs, its ergonomic, kinetic design flexes for comfort. It will definitely have you saying “Oh! Man I’m never standing again.”