URBAN ADVENTURES

The Indigo2ash team is excited to present our new spring array of six chairs, most of them Mid-Century Modern in style, some of them reproductions of modern classics you will recognize.
We three designers at Indigo2ash, all enthusiastic denizens of Brooklyn, are constantly in the company of two dogs, Nico, a large Chihuahua, and Nore, a miniature Dachshund. Whenever the dogs appear at the Indigo2ash studio, their canine presence is a welcome distraction from the sometimes too inanimate world of design. When the chairs arrived, we decided it would be interesting to photograph chairs and dogs alike in outdoor urban settings around Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan. It amazes us how contemporary the chairs--most of their designs done in the 1950s and ‘60s--still are. In New York, as in all great cities, our private lives are shaped by the volatile infrastructure that surrounds us, whether glittering or gutter.
In a Dodge pickup truck driven by our friend Juan, our team loaded up the six chairs-- newly upholstered in Indigo2ash fabrics--to explore Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan, not so much by GPS as by aesthetic vision, looking for unusual sites to display our cargo. Here are the places artistic impulse led us to.
  • The Libby Chair, its slender wooden frame upholstered here in Marcelle Bleu’s Teal Silken Velvet, is Indigo2ash’s reenactment of a chair first designed in metal and molded plywood in 1953 by Danish designer Ib Kofod-Larsen. By the 1960s, Larsen had changed the material for this biomorphic chair to all wood. Under the blue skies of DUMBO--mecca of loft living, industrial chic and a vast network of indie creativity in books, films and art--the Libby Chair becomes an improvised throne for Nore, our miniature Dachshund.
      • The Delia Chair, inspired by 18th century French furniture, is an exception to Indigo2ash’s mostly Mid-Century aesthetic. Tautly upholstered in Dark Gray/Mid-Gray Pinpoint fabric and trimmed in brass nails, the Delia makes a modern interior eclectic and lively, a form from the past adding grace to modern angles. The Delia needs an aura of high finance, so we departed Brooklyn and left for Wall Street. The flight of stairs behind the Delia leads to a famous outdoor artwork, artist Jean Dubuffet’s Group of Four Trees (1969-72) presiding over One Chase Manhattan Plaza. Curiously, Dubuffet (1901-1985), a member of the ‘Art Brut’--meaning ‘Raw Art’ movement, embraced Outsider Art and was accused by some critics of being ‘anarchic’. Here his rebellion is sanctioned by big money.

      • The molded plywood of our Payne Chair is a reference both to the technologies and styles of the mid-1950s, with swooping, biomorphic forms rather than sharp right angles. Its ash veneer contrasts smartly with the upholstery fabric shown here, Hypnotic in [Black and White?].

      • The slender, subtly curving Ogden Chair is our reproduction of Danish architect Finn Juhl’s 45 Chair, upholstered here in Navy Chevron. Juhl claimed the Dada sculptor Jean Arp as an influence, echoing Arp’s rounded organic shapes, using woods instead of metal to create a new, soft-edged approach to contemporary furniture. The Navy Chevron upholstery fabric picks up on the strands of blue in this street painting we found in Red Hook, the waterfront Brooklyn neighborhood whose gritty reputation, stretching back to the 1600s, is nothing less than mythic. In recent years Red Hook has been through gentrification and Hurricane Sandy, its original tough ethos battered by both, yet ever surviving. It is a place of bars and breweries; fishing and fish restaurants: try Lobster Pound and Brooklyn Crab--the latter with an amazing view--in walking distance to IKEA.

      • We posed the Haven Chair, our reproduction of the chair American architect Warren Platner designed for Knoll in 1966, against a soaring view of the Brooklyn Bridge. We like the way the Haven’s distinctive steel rod spoke construction resembles the fine cables of the bridge. Platner, who had worked for visionary architect Eero Saarinen in the early ‘60s, launched a collection of chairs, ottomans and tables composed of shiny sheaves of nickel-plated steel rods (our version is not plated). The Haven Chair is upholstered in Sapphire Plush Velvet; Platner’s originals were upholstered in either wool boucle or mohair velvet. Our Plush Velvet highlights the silvery elegance of the chair’s design and echoes Platner’s design intent.

      • The distinctive circular Astro Chair, upholstered in Lime London Linen, makes a cozy nest for Nico, who would prefer to be indoors.

        Our day out with dogs and chairs was fun, and also a reminder of how the city connects us, intimately, to everything from immense monuments like the Brooklyn Bridge to humble street corners transformed by art. Often, in ‘inner-city’ neighborhoods where street life is still to some extent governed by families--albeit highly extended ones consisting of old friends as well as blood relatives-- one will see a group of neighbors seated in chairs on the sidewalk, playing dominoes or cards, eating and drinking. Less elegant chairs than these perhaps, but pungent symbols of how we each own our place in our city streets, that the outdoor cityscape is ours to inhabit and enjoy as much as our apartments.

        Nico and Nore agree.