With a unique twist on fashion, function and sustainability, Design Studio Bernotat&Co have created a collection of clothing for chairs, asking: Why buy a new chair when you can dress up the one you have? Having already begun dressing up chairs with their Triennal design for Gispen, the Studio realised they could look at upholstery as a completely separate item – the upholstery becomes the chair’s clothing. This clothing gives new life to chairs, restyling them for a completely different look. Cleverly, it also has the possibility to add comfort to hard wooden chairs or allow for simple chairs to have more purpose and functionality which is especially handy for workspace environments.
Several textiles were custom-made in cooperation with the Audax Textiel Museum in Tilburg which resulted in technical and functional innovations, such as three-dimensional knits. Others are found materials, used for an entirely different purpose than originally intended. The team began with an initial ‘Haute Couture collection’ before creating the ‘Prêt-à-Porter models’ which we’re going to have a look at below.
Firstly, the Pique-Pocket. This model carries household as well as fashion connotations: the structure of the fabric and the detailing are reminiscent of an oven mitten or an apron, but at the same time it has a dainty colour and a waist-like fitting. The two pockets in the back provide an ideal place to store clutter such as phones or books, a great addition to a dining or reception chair – I’d love one at my desk at home personally!
Secondly, the Knit-Net. The protective foam net packaging of expensive apples served as inspiration for this design, which adds comfort to a hard chair and is made of specially developed 3D knitwear. Essentially, it’s a chair cushion, but in a very different shape and technique. Also, thanks to the netted structure in combination with four press studs, Knit Net folds itself beautifully on any regular dining or reception chair, independent on the position of the legs.
Finally there is Big Baggy. Being Pique-Pocket’s big brother, Big Baggy takes the idea of pockets for chairs to a professional level: he has pockets for anything a nomadic worker might need. The back has two big pockets for newspapers and magazines, the left side is for electronic media: iPad, iPhone and a practical hanging loop for headphones. The left side has pen loops, a pocket for a ruler and two pockets for those other small bits that are usually scattered on your desk. The compact office redefined and a brilliant idea for freelance workers!
From looking at each model individually, it can be seen that they are more than just chair covers and also more than storage creators; they are ambiguous objects with various sources of inspiration and us such are open to associations and even personalities. Being slightly strange, some of them maybe even awkward, they trigger emotional reactions. People relate differently to the chairs when they’re dressed-up, and the chairs suddenly acquire a certain anthropomorphic quality. Funnily enough, the Dutch word for upholstery is ‘bekleding’ – its root including the word ‘clothing’, creating a direct relation to the human body.
Here at WIN we love them all, both individually and as a family, and excitingly Bernotat&Co are already working on new models! We can’t wait to see what quirky covers are to come and I’m sure you can’t either – watch this space.