The evening of April 20 was warm enough for the organizers of the Chair Affair Gala, the second part of a two-day symposium featuring contemporary furniture designs, to open the door leading to an outdoor patio and appetizer tent. Drifting evening air ventilated the show space, where attendees sipped beers and admired dozens of works by local artisans and design students from around the state.
The 21st annual Chair Affair Gala was a chance for designers to meet with the public and for their works to be judged by a panel of jurors, including TV personality Jordan Cappella, Idaho Modern Chair Stephanie Clarkson, Paula Collins of Interior Designers of Idaho and local artists Chris Beatty and Ryan Mandell.
The event was presented by the Interior Designers of Idaho and there was a broad range of work on display. Some designs recalled a high modern style popular in the 1950s and 1960s, like an Eames chair clone made from shaped plywood and faux leather, while others catered to a more industrial aesthetic, like Best Recycled Material Design-winner Democratus Epitomus—a glass coffee table with a heavy metal undercarriage, all on cherry red hard rubber wheels.
The evenings events and winners were:
Best Professional Design—Speedster by Matt Grover
Best Student Design—A.D.D. by Justin Bise
Best Recycled Material Design—Democratus Epitomus by Opus Ferro
Best Craftsmanship—Configured Geometry by Kevin Noble
Best Functional Design—Dad's Stool by Malachi Payne
Best Creative Design—Periodically by Chad Taylor
People's Choice Award—Speedster by Matt Grover
Along with the broad range of styles was a wide variety of inspirations. One piece was made from reused wood palates sanded and painted to create Adirondack chairs without losing the invocation of reused materials. Another, Royal Nuture, was inspired by rolling waves on the sea and the physical feeling of surfing.
With arm wrests tapering toward the waist of the sitting person and an Arabic poem—"Do you still love me?" by Kazem el-Saher—lasered into the back of the chair, Royal Nuture played on designer Sara Helal's theories on intimacy and stand-alone furniture commanding presence in a room.
"I wanted to feel like I was getting a hug," she said.