Introducing the Aidan Chair

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We’d like to introduce you to our 2014 catalog cover model: Aidan. If Aidan had an online dating profile, it would read, “Perfectly proportioned with a modern sensibility seeks companion for evenings by the fire, cocktail parties and Netflix marathons.”  I know. We want to bring this guy home, too.

Read on to learn about the unlikely inspiration for Aidan’s design and get an insider’s tips about how to incorporate this modern marvel of a lounge chair into your own home.

The Inspiration

You never know when inspiration might strike. For Natalie Quinn, Room & Board’s Upholstery Merchandise Manager, the inspiration for our new Aidan chair came from an unexpected object: a tea set from Italian design house Alessi. “I know it sounds a little like a Disney fairytale, but the tea set really spoke to me. I loved its elegant and simple design. It got me thinking about the importance of clean lines and the marriage of form and function.”

Shortly after seeing the tea set, Natalie received an email from Room & Board’s founder John Gabbert with a link to a New York Times article about the golden ratio and its impact on the design world. Thinking about the sleek tea set and perfectly proportioned rectangles, she pulled out an index card and folded it into a chair, complete with paperclip legs.

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With her origami creation as a reference, she put pencil to paper and sketched what would become the Aidan chair.

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Collaborative Design

When Natalie approached our manufacturing partner, Precedent, with nothing but a tea set, an article and a rough sketch, they didn’t miss a beat. Chairs are their specialty, and their talented team got busy creating samples.

As samples arrived, the real work began. “Our design process is very collaborative. We have a lab where anyone at Room & Board can see and try the new pieces we’re developing. We even took our samples to our Edina, MN, store so our Design Associates could test them out.”

Six samples and hundreds of sit tests later, the design was nearly final. Every detail was adjusted until it was just right.  The pitch of the back, the density of the foam in the seat and even the delicate curve of the legs were considered. Then it was just a matter of deciding on a fabric and leather.

“Aidan is all about the lines, and we knew it needed a cover that wouldn’t distract from its sculptural look,” Natalie explained.  “So we went with the little black dress of furniture—black leather—and a classic, livable blue wool.”

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For Natalie, the Aidan chair represents the spirit of Room & Board’s design process. “When I think about how many people influenced the design of this chair, I think it really shows the way that we work together to make furniture that is as attractive as it is comfortable.”

Aidan in Real Life

“Aidan is incredibly versatile. When we worked through how we’d show the chair with our furniture, we quickly realized that it looks great in classic or modern homes,” said Natalie.

Try pairing Aidan with traditional pieces. Classic details like button tufting or antique rug patterns create a striking contrast that keeps your room feeling fresh and eclectic. Or take it simple and modern and enjoy the resulting serenity. Regardless of your space—traditional or modern, large or small—Aidan is a statement chair that just works.

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Aidan’s other surprising trait? Comfort. Don’t let the thin profile fool you—this chair has just enough cush to be cozy. And the perfect angles of the tall, supportive back will make it everyone’s favorite seat in the house.

Photos by Room & Board

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