Maker Project - Thinking through practice

So why a chair?

History in the making

In recognition of Britain’s excellence in design and manufacturing each maker worked with a reclaimed tubular band stand chair as produced throughout the mid 20th Century by Cox and Co. Reduced to the skeletal frame, makers were asked to re-interpret the piece employing their specialist knowledge and approach to making. Each practitioner retained full creative licence over their piece with no pre-requisite for it to remain a functional item but rather a response to their own interpretation delivered through artisan skills.

‘For me chairs are really nice vehicles for

A chair is a good piece from which
to communicate.’ 

(Boontje. T, 2015).

It was envisioned that practitioners with no prior experience working with furniture would still feel a kinship towards, arguably, the most addressed functional item in history. The unique approach and interpretation of each practitioner imperatively affirming the value of creative thinking and artisan skills to future aspiring makers. Selected for their expertise and knowledge of making the challenge for makers was applying their practice and choice of materials to a common object that, although familiar, required an alternative considered approach. 

The chair was an obvious choice which has been infinitely addressed since the dawn of mankind coming in all shapes and guises and this particular example has earned its place within industrial design history. Originally designed  by Austrian designer Bruno Pollak, Model RP6 went into production in 1932 by British company PEL (Practical Equipment LTD.). Following a lengthy dispute and legal case PEL purchased the patent from Pollak in 1934 from which time large numbers of the chair were produced for the BBC for use in their British and international studios.  Similarly, Cox & Co produced Model RP6 in mass quantities under licence from the mid 1930’s, the simple and elegant lines of the iconic tubular chair adorning bandstands, parks, classrooms and community halls across the UK and abroad. 

Cox & Co are a testament to the successful collaboration between engineering, industrial manufacture and creative practice in Britain. In addition to the unmistakable bandstand chair, Cox’s portfolio includes manufacturing components for the De Havilland Mosquito during WWII and public seating in association with Robin Day for the Festival of Britain in 1951. The successful development of tubular frames for transport components and bicycles led to the acquisition of the company by Raleigh Industries in 1967.

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