Each January, our annual catalog is unveiled along with new introductions to the Room & Board assortment. We chatted with merchandise manager Natalie Quinn to get her behind-the-scenes perspective on our beautiful new Ira chair, a statement piece we just can’t get enough of. You’ll see that some elements of Ira’s initial drawings are similar to the final piece, but Natalie and her team found multi-faceted inspiration as Ira’s design process evolved.
How did your design process for Ira start?
Ira is one of those artisan chairs that really evolved from the initial drawings to the final product. It took two years for this chair to come to life! We started with wanting to make a gorgeous wood artisan chair that had an interesting mix of materials and we held true to that. In the first drawings, we planned to do a combination of a ladder back made of steam-bent solid wood with woven strapping on the seat. (Shown below.)
What inspired you to change Ira’s initial design to what it is today?
We fell in love with the strapping on the seat. It was such a pretty detail and so comfortable. Our partners did such a meticulous job of weaving the Sunbrella® strapping and attaching it to the wood that we wanted to do the same for the back. I started digging into iconic chairs with strapping and found some great inspiration through Danish artisan chairs and Jens Risom and Bruno Mathsson chairs.
How did the decision to add more strapping to the chair influence the rest of its design?
After we decided to do the strapping on the entire chair, we had a lot of details to refine, like the arms, legs and stretchers. It was very important that the details complemented the style of the chair seat and that the chair was harmonious as a whole. We did many arm iterations and even drew patterns for the arm so we got every contour and edge just right. We wanted the arms to have the feel of soft river rock.
After about a half dozen iterations, Natalie’s team felt they had nailed it. Take a look and let us know what you think about our Ira chair!
Photos and drawings by Room & Board