London-based furniture brand HAYCHE has launched a solid wood and metal take on the traditional English Windsor chair.
The WW Chair by Mexican design and architecture studio Hierve for HAYCHE comprises a solid wood seat suspended on four tapered legs, with wire spindles that connect the underside of the seat to a horizontal wooden bar, creating a flexible backrest.
The classic lines of the traditional Windsor chair inspired the legs and slightly curved seat, and in fact WW stands for Windsor and Wire – the wire providing the twist on this English classic. But designer Alejandro Villarreal insists he didn’t set out to create a contemporary version of the Windsor: “The WW came out of the need for a simple, beautiful, commercial contract chair,” he says. “There was no real intention to update the Windsor chair. There was only a clear love and appreciation for its qualities, so I used it as a starting point to find something new.” Having the wire back come from the underside of the seat, instead of out of the seat’s top as per the original, “was simply an impulse, nothing more,” he says.
As Co-founder of both HAYCHE and Hierve, Villarreal’s working process starts manually: “My design process always starts with a hand-drawn sketch, which I find intimate and very personal,” he says. “After that, I share the sketch with my design team and we start the painstaking process of 3D modeling.” The design for the WW Chair took six months and three prototypes to get right. “It was a very intuitive, iterative process,” says Villarreal.
The wooden parts of the chair are made from solid European oak or American walnut. The seat is partly CNC (computer numerically controlled) cut and partly hand carved, while the legs are milled using traditional machinery. “Oak is my favourite wood and walnut brings a nice contrast and can be very beautiful as well,” says Villarreal. “It also happens that both materials are quite commercial.”
The distinctive back is made from 17 lengths of five-millimetre powder-coated metal wire welded to a solid plate that is attached to the underside of the seat. They are bent into shape and held in place by a second metal plate embedded in the solid wood backrest. A low-level horizontal wire keeps them evenly spaced. “Wire was the natural material to choose for the back,” explains the designer. “It enabled us to achieve the desired thickness and structural strength.” The use of wire also creates flexibility in a back that gently moves in response to the sitter’s weight, making the chair more dynamic and ergonomic than its predecessor.
On the contrast of wood and wire, Villarreal says: “I always want to respect the beauty of materials and I like bringing them together in a way that makes each one bigger or better than it was on its own.”
The chair was officially launched at an event in London’s Clerkenwell in late February, and so far the response has been good. “I think the chair evokes something that people have seen before,” says the designer “but with an element of surprise and intrigue.” The WW chair is available in a solid oak or American walnut, with or without a white, black and grey stain, or with an upholstered seat in a choice of fabrics and leather.
View the WW Collection
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