Friday, July 17, 2009

And now, the chair

Reading chair

Online applications are now closed, and it's on to finishing the chair and mapping readers to venues (a schedule of readers and locations will be posted on Friday, July 24th). We've gotten to know so many lovely people along the way, thank you all so much! A special thank you to Linnaea Phillips, who really does know everyone in San Luis Obispo :) And to Allan Cooper, whose lovely house we invade every Sunday. Most of all, we'd like to say a HUGE thank you to Chris Allen. Words are not enough here, so we'll show you pictures. Here he is, hard at work. We've posted more images on Flickr (or click on any image below) so you can follow along as he finishes the reading chair.

Update: The chair was designed to the specifications below.
Event marker: The design needed to have a connection to reading. The lid opens to form a chair (and closes into a cube), and both seat and back rest gently curve at the hinge, which are all design elements drawn from the shape of books. Chris Allen used laminated plywood, the striations of which are a reference to book pages. We installed the chair at Steynberg Gallery in San Luis Obispo before the event so the public could sit on it.
Mobility: We needed to be able to wheel it around easily, but not have it move once it was set down. Chris built in 2 rollerblade wheels at the rear, and we pushed/pulled it by the open lid/chair back.
Size: It had to have a small footprint so as not to obstruct pedestrian traffic on city pavements as we wheeled it around
Stability: Sturdy enough that it won't tip over if a kid climbed on it (they did, it didn't move)
Comfort: The gentle curvature of the seat and backrest makes it comfortable to sit on
Storage: For any reading material our readers brought with them. The space under the seat works as a small bookcase. Chris also made an ottoman which fits into that space, essentially a box with a lid, which functions as additional storage and seating (we used it for both, and we had all the readers sign the underside of the ottoman's lid). Chris Allen sawed a book in half and used the halves as handles for the ottoman. The name of the book was "Hand Luggage" by John Bayley, on the recommendation of our book-loving friend, Karen Templer.
Ease of transport: The chair folds to a cube so we could lift it in and out of a car (the top edge of the lid is notched to prevent pinched fingers)

Reading chair

More photos are available here.
To see more of Chris Allen's work, visit CWA Studios.

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