London Design Week and a long and indefatigable list of showrooms and spin-off fairs to attend might easily see one panting for air and reaching or one too many sustaining latte’s to propel one onwards. Overloaded with functional/form-full visions throughout the fair I found myself near fainting when I stepped into the peaceful South Kensington studio of architect and designer Nigel Coates. His contribution to design and architecture from projects, to products and institutions, spans many years.
Coates’ latest collection delves into bones and limbs, joints that connect and form skeletal frameworks that sustain weight. In his drawings of the connecting structures one can see at the heart a reference to the human form and life drawing. I asked Coates’ if this was the case and he confirmed that the genesis of this idea had come from thinking about the body’s supporting structures and one stool in particular that had started the ball rolling. Coates showed me his ‘Genie Stool’, with three limbs and the cradle of what seemed to be wood crafted pelvic bones. It reminded me of the primitive African stools that I grew up with. These had been three-stick structures, held together by a leather pouch. The seat cradled the sitter quite naturally, the posture falling into a crouching stance. The result is quite a comfortable structure to rest in.
Each piece was formed in collaboration with Italian company Poltronova. Coates’ short film beautifully outlines the design process with Poltronova and the drawings that worked through the idea.The images here are of the ‘Domo’ pieces which feature sandblasted and sculpted oak. The Plasma chair is an indoor/outdoor piece of steel and leather. More information is available via his studio. All images are ©Nigel Coates Studio.