RCA students camp out in Terrence Conran’s backyard to produce 13 chairs featured at the V&A by Monica Khemsurov
While wood will always be a well-respected classic in the furniture world, these days it seems like we’re constantly hearing about yet another designer making yet another new chair out of walnut or oak. But the news that 15 of them have spent a week camping in Terence Conran’s backyard while producing 13 chairs they’ve just installed in the V&A’s storied British galleries—well, that’s enough to hold our attention. Led by tutors Sebastian Wrong of Established & Sons and Harry Richardson of Committee, a group of Royal College of Art students was recently invited out to Conran’s property in the English countryside by Benchmark, his sustainable furniture brand, and the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC). The teachers gave them a brief—design a seat for function—while Benchmark gave them its production facilities, and AHEC gave them a choice of hardwoods from the US, plus a scheme by which to measure the environmental impact of their designs. The final chairs, which debuted at the V&A on Friday as part of the 2012 London Design Festival, all offer intriguing twists on traditional handicraft methods.
Norie Matsumoto and the team of Nic Gardner and David Horan both made pieces that collapse flat for packing and transport—Gardner and Horan’s with removable legs made from coils of thin ply, and Matsumoto’s by way of folding joints.