Furniture design

19 Chairs by 19 creatives in response to COVID-19

19 Chairs is a celebration to react to the damage of COVID-19. In aid of Age UK and Resourcing Racial Justice, the 19 handmade chairs have journeyed thousands of miles to be reworked by leading artists and designers.

The lockdown, a time of limited bog roll and limitless news, in which creative brothers Tom and Will Butterfield found inspiration from anything stable, sturdy and decisively NOT ‘unprecedented’. To them, nothing seemed more predictable, or humble than the chair.

As an ode to this gloriously common furniture piece, in 19 days they used the bare essentials to design and build unique chairs, made each with 27-millimetre square-section timber and 40-millimetre wood screws. The chairs were then shipped worldwide to 19 celebrated creatives who had volunteered to become their custodians.

In 19 days Tom and Will Butterfield designed 19 chairs that they shipped worldwide to 19 creatives

They asked them to ‘reinvent, reimagine or redesign [their] chair with an older person in mind.’ The brief was a nod to the outstanding work of Age UK, connecting the collaborators with those experiencing the isolating effects of the pandemic most deeply. On their behalf, the designers cut loose, then packaged their creations ready for return.

The 19 Chairs will be exhibited at Protein Studios in London from the 22nd to the 25th of April 2021. An online auction will run in parallel from the 1st to the 30th of April 2021 where each customized chair will be sold. All profits will be split equally and donated to the heroes at Age UK and Resourcing Racial Justice. 

The line up of designers features Harry Grundy / Max Siedentopf / Benjamin Edgar / James Shaw / Antony Williams / Wilfrid Wood / Isabel + Helen / Morag Myerscough / Brandon Carlton / Sabine Marcelis / Jean Jullien / Helmut Smits / Ashley Williams / Henry Gorse / Joe Lycett / Emma Brewin / Nicole McLaughlin / Tom Dixon / Es Devlin.

Curious to know more about other design initiatives responding to the COVID-19 crisis? Head to ‘Unstacking’ pollution one stool at a time – Interview with Haneul Kim.

A selection from the 19 Chairs project designed by Ashley Williams, Morag Myerscough and James Shaw

Find out more about Tom Dixon’s work, don’t miss Tom Dixon releases new furniture collection made from “dream material” cork.

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