With the advent of mechanized manufacturing processes during the Industrial Revolution, the practice of traditional craft techniques have waned considerably. But a number of designers are now merging new technologies with traditional knowledge in a revival effort, and to show that they are still relevant for these modern days. Combining the latest additive manufacturing techniques and traditional craftsmanship, London-based designer Christopher Jenner collaborated with Felicity Irons, one of Europe's last rush weavers, to create this beautiful wooden and woven chair.
A composition of 28 sculptural components have been milled from english oak using 5 axis CNC. Each individually curved piece is connected at off-set intervals, highlighted by the union of different wood grains. The seat has been woven by Felicity in Bedfordshire over 7 weeks using Scirpus lacustris — a native English rush harvested on the river Ouse.
No chemicals are used in this all-natural process of harvesting, drying and weaving. The wooden pieces of the top part the chair then sandwiched over the woven rush seat and joined to the bottom part through a series of mechanical oak dowels.
The Rush Chair is but one of Jenner's studio's continuing investigations into how traditional English crafts might be re-interpreted by current technological design tools. They say:
The form of the chair reflects the infinite looping technique of weaving, captured in freehand drawing and translated via solid modelling technology into 3D form.
The resulting piece is vibrant, sculptural and quite contemporary, indicating that "slow" craft techniques still have a significant role to play in today's design industries and proliferation of "fast furniture" -- something that other conscious-minded designers might also be called to explore. The chair, which comes in a limited edition of twelve, can be seen and is available from Gallery FUMI, in Porto Cervo in Sardinia until November. More over at Designboom, Christopher Jenner and Felicity Irons.