Though High Point market may be the epicenter of many things in the American furniture industry, conceptual design wasn’t really one of them. That was until this year, when one exhibition brought a bit of the type of small-batch art furniture more commonly seen at Salone del Mobile or Sight Unseen Offsite to a onetime mill in the furniture capital of America. “This Is Not a Chair” is an exhibition of 40 items that are, ostensibly, chairs, but many of whose designs push the boundaries of traditional wing, ladder-back, or slipper varieties.
“We’re in a moment where everybody wants to design a chair,” explains Michael McGinn, a partner at Standard Issue Design, which curated the show. “In fact, there’s an overabundance of chairs—probably more than we could ever sit in. And we’re not just talking about [those from] furniture designers; you have industrial designers on one end of the spectrum, then architects attempting with their own distinct point of view, and then there are artists looking to riff off the chair as an object—often with a more sculptural interpretation that isn’t necessarily functional at all, which is interesting. The notion that a chair must be this or that goes away. Now a chair can be a conceptual work of art or it can be the dining chair where you sit and read the paper every morning.”
In this show, chairs run the gamut between the two. Models by Studio Sayso, Tom Chung, and Philippe Malouin are beautiful and functional seats, while “chairs” like Serban Ionescu’s “Peter Sellers chair” or Tom Shields’s three-chair mashup, titled “Bones,” don’t exactly invite sitting—though they do invite inspection.
Read more at Architectural Digest.