London accessories designer Ally Capellino brings her signature design aesthetic to an iconic piece of furniture, the tubular stacking chair.
Initially conceived by the Bauhaus group, they were the inspiration for many manufacturers in the interwar period in Britain. The PEL (Practical Equipment Limited) name quickly became synonymous with the product, and exploited the interest in modern shapes and design durability. These chairs have been the mainstay of schools, church halls and factories ever since. Originally manufactured by Cox of Solihull, this set has been stripped back to their raw steel frames and taken in a new and inventive direction.
Using the premise ‘Bums on Seats’ as a starting point, Ally looked at the way that we position ourselves whilst seated - ‘left leaning’ or ‘knees up’ for example - and then designed eight variations on the theme. Long time Ally Capellino collaborator, Donald Christie (donaldchristie.com) has elaborated on the concept producing a hypnotic black and white film. The treatment references the 1957 Oscar winning short ‘A Chairy Tale’ (nfb.ca/film/a_chairy_tale/) by Norman McLaren and Claude Jutra, and is a playful take on Brechtian theatre.
Ally Capellino’s London factory has made up the seats, which have been stitched and hand polished, before being branded with their individual name. The sling seats and backs are manufactured from the same Italian bridle leather as Ally Capellino’s belts and bag straps.
During the London Design Festival (londondesignfestival.com/) there will be a ‘Bums on Seats’ installation at each of Ally Capellino’s London shops, in Calvert Avenue, Shoreditch and at the junction of Portobello and Golborne Roads. The installations have been designed by another regular collaborator and PEL chair enthusiast, Rupert Blanchard (rupertblanchard.com/).
Donald Christie, Rupert Blanchard and Ally, will be discussing the project during the London Design Festival at the V&A's Hochhauser Auditorium, Sackler Centre, at 2pm on the 19th September.
Videos create for, in collaboration with or featuring Ally Capellino.