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Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

(Re)Introducing the Spanner Lounge Chair With Arms

Becky

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We are so pleased to announce that we are carrying The Spanner Lounge Chair with Arms at Design Public. Originally created in 1950 by Russell Spanner (1916-1974), the award-winning designer’s chair has been out of production for more than 50 years. Gus*Design Group worked in collaboration with the Spanner family to revive this iconic chair, meticulously matching the materials, construction and details to the original chair.

The frame is constructed of  solid birch and curved birch plywood and the seat is 100% cotton woven strapping. During the design collaboration with the Spanner family, Gus*Design Group worked hard to match the finishes (both light and dark birch) and strapping colors (choice of green, red or black strapping):

Vintage Ad for Russell Spanner's Furniture

Today we’re talking with Joran Van Lange, the designer at Gus* Design Group who acted as design and production lead for the Spanner Lounge Chair reissue, to learn more about this exciting re-release.

How did you discover the work of Russell Spanner?
I first saw his work in a design lecture while I was in school.  His original designs show up occasionally here in Toronto at vintage and mid-century antique shops, so before we even knew Russell’s background story, we were familiar with the Russell Spanner “look”, which is very recognizable.

What drew you to the Spanner Chair in particular?
There’s something really positive and energetic about the lines and angles of the chair.  It’s bold without being too serious.

Which leads me to, what about its mid-century design still works so well today?

The design is relevant today for the same reasons it was relevant in the 1950s. At that time, North American cities were seeing an explosion of compact, post-war homes, which needed furniture that was smaller scale.  The movement toward condo and small space living in the last decade has meant that consumers are again looking for smaller, lighter furniture pieces.

Aesthetically, the chair embodies the mid-century tradition of leaving components and hardware in plain view.  Nothing is hidden by panels or upholstery.  There’s a transparency in that which people appreciate.

What is the history of the chair?

The Lounge Chair was designed by Russell while he was working as foreman at his family’s woodworking factory.  It’s believed that he used some of the jigs and parts of other industrial products to form the basic components for the Lounge Chair.  As an example, the frame for the seat shares the same proportions and joinery as the industrial battery boxes which the factory produced at the time.

Where are the reproductions produced?

We felt that because this chair was originally designed and produced in Toronto, it was important to carry on that legacy and produce the re-issue here as well.

Did you learn anything new about design and production from the process of putting the Spanner Chair back into production?


We realized once we began to dissect the original chair that there are some very sophisticated joinery details going on.  Everything must be manufactured perfectly in order for the design to work.

It works beautifully.

Purchase a Spanner Lounge Chair with Arms at Design Public

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Monday, June 2nd, 2014

Sale! Kartell and Magis 15% off This Week

DesignPublic.com

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We know now that the weather is warm that you may be lacking some cool yet comfy outdoor furniture. So we’ve slashed prices on outdoor selections from Kartell and Magis. The Kartell sale runs through June 8, 2014 and the Magis sale runs through June 9, 2014. Completely outfit your space or fill in a hole with a settee, sofa, armchair, lounge chair or bistro table and dining chairs. Here’s a few of the highlights from the sale to tempt you. And P.S., many of these items work just as well indoors too!

Kartell Bubble Armchair

Cozy up like James Spader and William Shatner used to at the end of every episode of Boston Legal in this new classic, the playful Kartell Bubble Armchair. Price is slashed from $800 to $680 now through June 8, 2014. The Bubble also comes in a sofa version.

Kartell Magic Hole Sofa

For a more streamlined look, consider the Kartell Magic Hole Sofa. This is a wonderful piece to set out on the front porch for curb appeal, waving to neighbors and watching the world go by. It also will give a hint to your modern and/or contemporary interior from the street. Currently on sale for $935 from $1100 through June 8, 2014.

Magis Table One Bistro, Outdoor

Make dining al fresco a breeze with this modern bistro table from Magis. It comes in a square top or round top version and comes in table height and high-top table height. It’s been marked down from $999 to $849.15 now through June 9, 2014.

Magis Chair One, Concrete Base

Pair the table height with a pair or two of the Magis Chair Ones, now on sale from $1378 to $1171.30 for two, now through June 9, 2014. Choose from red, black or white.

Magis Paso Doble Chaise Lounge

For a more relaxed pose, treat yourself to a Magis Paso Doble Chaise Lounge. This curved silhouette means you’ll be comfy reading a book, chatting over frozen cocktails or just soaking up some rays. On sale from $1979 to $1682.15 through June 9, 2014.

There are plenty more items to tempt you for the rest of the week.

Shop the Kartell sale

Shop the Magis sale

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Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

Five Must-Have Dining Chairs

Becky

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I’m a chair nut. When I moved, my moving men kept putting every single side chair I owned into my dining room, their permanent locations, T.B.D. By the time the dining room table arrived, there wasn’t any room to put it in the sea of chairs. Remarkably, they all found a spot, as I love an occasional chair here or there and don’t really tend toward matchy-matchy sets.

Anyway, from one chair nut to others or potential others, here are chairs to be on the lookout for at yard sales and chairs to invest in for your permanent (museum-ish yet functional) collection. I’m going to stick to five dining chairs as otherwise we’d be here all day and I have other stuff to do, but it’s a solid start.

1. Anything by Thonet, particularly with bent wood. These date back to the mid-century. Of the 19th century, that is, somewhere ’round ever-stylin’ Vienna. They still look fly today. Love. Scour second-hand websites and yard sales. A Thonet is a great score.

2. The Emeco Navy Chair (1006 Chair). These chairs were built to stand up to violent seas and dudes in the Navy. We’re talking torpedo blasts on the side of a destroyer. Not only are these suckers strong, they have classic mid-century industrial style that will never fade.

3. The Hans Wegner Wishbone Chair (1949). This versatile chair adds warmth and style to many different kinds of dining rooms. Though first impulse is to go all Danish modern around it, it works very well in more traditional spaces, spaces with Asian style, eclectic rooms as well as very minimalist rooms.

4. Arne Jacobsen’s Series 7 Chair (1955). Re-released, this classic is often imitated by chain stores and catalogs – don’t fall for the imitations; having a licensed chair is worth the investment. This versatile and curvy little number looks great for formal dining, casual eat-in kitchen dining and at a desk or dressing table.

5. The Kartell Masters Chair (2010-ish?). Philippe Starck mashed up the silhouettes of three chairs here – Jacobsen’s Series 7, and two others we didn’t have room to include – Eero Saarinen’s Tulip armchair, and the Eames’ Eiffel Chair to get this meaningful back.

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Friday, February 8th, 2013

Designer Interview: Peter Novague

Becky

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Today were sitting down with Peter Novague, Chief Designer at Novague. Peter is a product designer who has tackled items from tweezers to yachts. Somewhere in between the two lies The Novague Edge Chair – its form was inspired by Japanese origami, though it’s function, comfortable ergonomics, was the priority. 
Do you have any favorite chairs that inspire your designs?
There are many chairs I love for their form, among which I could name those by Eames, Panton or the Bouroullec Brothers (Vitra). For me, however, the key aspect of a chair is whether it is comfortable to sit on and many products don’t meet this standard; the ergonomics aren’t optimal. My flat is full of beautiful chairs, including the T3 by Maarten Van Severen, one of the most interesting pieces I know.

How did you come up with the Edge Chair?
In our small country, a designer like me gets contracts of a very different type. As my primary focus is on the product design, I work on items as varied as glasses or a smartphone. All my past projects were the result of a compromise between my idea and other circumstances (such as the production costs, technological limitations, deadlines, or continuity of the company product line). When I was working on a smartphone, for instance, I could only choose from a limited selection of plastics, and both the connector positions and dimensions were already fixed.

Yet as I’m now able to fund my own projects, I decided to work on a furniture piece and designing a chair seemed to be a challenging and interesting enterprise.

How do the wide array of items you design inform each other? That is to say, how does designing a yacht or a car influence how you design a chair or a smart phone? Are there any universal ideas that cut across all of these areas in your design philosophy?
Certainly. I think daily about why I do design, what I can bring to it, and what it brings to me in return. And it’s always inspiring to meet with company owners, CEOs and executives. I learn a lot from them, and it’s also perhaps what I enjoy the most about my job.
As for my contribution in making a new product, I find myself as a cleaner: I practically remove an idea of its unnecessary parts. I’m playing with the form and content, aiming to produce a natural-looking product. It’s important that in the end, it only consists of what should be there. In other words, while some products are complex sets of parts due to the manufacture and assembly processes, it is the aim of design to consider the product as a whole, something complete and seamless. The final product should be more than a some of its parts.
The second important idea that resonates with me is a kind of respect towards the history of the product and its previous models.
Prague is one of the most beautiful cities in the world; how does it inspire you?
Prague is a splendid place for relaxation at cafés and enjoying the many cultural events it offers. Yet it loses touch with the latest developments in industrial design. In that sense, I’d prefer to have an office in London, New York, or Munich.
What are you working on at Novague right now?
An electric bicycle or a paddle, a typical product of which many people think there’s no more space for further designing and innovation.
Do you have any advice for people who are interested in a career in product design?
Don’t focus on the designers, study the individual products.
What kind of  products do you recommend buying?
Concentrate on things you enjoy. Buying one thing of quality and and keeping it in an empty flat is better than filling one’s life with products that mean a compromise.
Thanks so much to Petr for chatting with us today. Check out The Novague Edge Chair here; check out Novague’s other designs here.
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Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

In Celebration of Bertoia Chairs

Becky

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Those of you who have been reading this blog for awhile know I have a serious chair fetish. While I’d never pick one favorite, Harry Bertoia’s wire chairs are right up there at the tippy top of the list. Thus, I am super-excited that we are now carrying these licensed chairs, made by Knoll. So excited in fact, I thought I’d share the coolest shots of this chair I coud find.

First, let’s get a look at the naked chair:

“If you look at these chairs, they are mainly made of air, like sculpture. Space passes through them” -Harry Bertoia

This is very fitting, as Bertoia was trained as a sculptor.

Here’s the sexiest Bertoia wire shot ever taken:

This is Jocelyn Lane circa 1960, enjoying a Diamond chair poolside. Be warned: If you sit in one with shorts this short on, you will get a waffle pattern on the back of your thighs. You can avoid this by buying a seat cushion, a full cover or wearing pants.

Here is the coolest person who ever sat in a Bertoia Chair:

Laurence Fishburne turning three side chairs into a lounging spot, in Paley Park, which is the coolest pocket park use of Bertoia Chairs.

By the way, all of the Knoll products we carry are 15% off through September 30, 2012. Just use coupon code CLASSIC

*Found a few of these photos on Pinterest and have no idea how to track down the propert credits,  if you know any of them, PLEASE leave it in the comments section so I can add them!

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