6×6 Watchman’s chair is composed of reclaimed 6”x6” Douglas Fir beams that come from a pergola, deconstructed in Pasadena. The beams are held together with threaded rod salvaged from a studio lot dumpster. The architectural detail carried over from the ends of the pergola lend the chair a light footing; and as an added benefit the rounded beams create a curved point of contact just in front of the user’s center of gravity allowing for a delicate balancing act on the front legs.
I make objects that can be disassembled. Their constituent parts remain distinct, and together they form clear, intelligible wholes. These composite objects can be broken down to facilitate mobility, adaptation, repair, and future reuse. The design for this chair is inspired by a traditional African chair known as a “watchman’s chair.” Like many time-tested pre-industrial forms the traditional watchman’s chair embodies my priorities for flexibility, but being composed of wide boards of hardwood, it is not easily replicated with salvaged or reclaimed wood. My interpretation of this chair is shaped by a desire to use a fairly common salvaged material—namely construction-grade Doug Fir—and to create a piece that retains the character of the wood from its previous use.
While salvaged and reclaimed woods can be used as substitutes for conventionally sourced wood, I am more interested in employing them in ways that highlight the transformation of the material. Builders should use reclaimed material whenever available—whether for structural uses or for decorative elements—in order to minimize demand for energy intensive materials and the need for unsustainable harvesting practices. The collective economic impact of our sourcing decisions is significant, but if the origin of a specific material is not tangibly clear the effect of using a reclaimed material is limited. In order to change broad attitudes about what types of construction, and which sorts of consumer objects are desirable I seek to promote an aesthetic that celebrates the old along with the new. 6×6 Watchman’s chair is an example of one such effort, combining old material, and an older design, with a new approach to joinery and composition.