VWA Blog

Event: The Chair Exhibition at Craft Victoria

27 Oct 2022 Events & Exhibitions

More than any other piece of furniture the chair has been subject to the wildest experimentations and ideas by makers, craftspeople, engineers and designers. The most used piece of furniture, it is lauded for its honest functionality and celebrated for its many shapes and forms. The chair is an ever-evolving indicator of trend, design, and application of material and technology. Obsessed over by creative practitioners, it is one of the ultimate design challenges. If the home is our castle, then the chair is our throne.

Although commonplace in every home, work office and public shared space, chairs were not always a commodity. Many theories debate the true conception of the chair as being from Egypt, China or Italy, however a common trend between all these theories is that it was a symbol of status and authority. The way that we as a society have viewed the chair has evolved over the centuries, and it presents the most honest reflection of cultural trends, design and technology. Now it is a household staple, and so ingrained into our daily lives is the chair that we forget about the usefulness of its function and the sophistication of its simple design. In a new exhibition series titled The Chair by Craft Victoria, 24 chairs crafted by 31 Australian contemporary artists and makers present their craft and material driven approach to this iconic object. This is the first in a series presented by Craft Victoria honouring iconic objects of functional craft and design with a material driven approach.

Here is a selection of works that are part of the exhibition:

Bonhula Yunupingu & Damien Wright Bonggawa’wu Nhana’nhamirri (Boss’s chair), 2022

Bala ga lili (two ways learning) documents the ongoing, circular and cross cultural collaboration between Bonhula Yunupingu, a Yolngu man of North East Arhnem Land, and Damien Wright of Melbourne. Together they work to discover a sculptural and poetical language through their craft; revealing a narrative and relationship between two contradictory perspectives.

Jess Humpston Ch-air, 2022 (VWA Artist in Residence)

Created by our VWA Artist in Residence Jess Humpston, the Ch-air is inspired by traditional stick chairs and presents an exercise in visual and structural lightness through the replacement of a typical timber seat with monofilament weaving. Whilst appearing deceptively light, its strength is created through the triangulation of router-formed dowel elements and a hand-woven seat held steadily in place with fluted detailing. 

Bern Chandley Lowbow Diner, 2014

Bern presents a modern and contemporary spin on Windsor chair-making by combining modern lines and proportions with traditional Windsor joinery. Designed with smaller dwellings in mind, the strength and durability of the design results in a chair that will last centuries. 

Isabel Avendano-Hazbun WGK, 2022 (VWA Artist in Residence)

Created by our VWA Artist in Residence Isabel Avendano-Hazbun, the WGK reimagines the experience of sitting on a kayak. A major inspiration to the piece was the construction methods and profile of the West Greenland Kayak. Central to the construction is the exploration of concept-driven sculptural furniture that uses lamination techniques. The seat made of bent timber ribs is reminiscent of a boat’s hull whilst the form is highlighted with silk organza ropes, just like a kayak’s decks.

Liam Mugavin Hamra Chair, 2015

Donald Judd’s exploration of objects as they exist in space heavily informs the design of the chair, with the Hamra chair appearing rectilinear with 90-degree backrests. The Hamra chair slightly differs itself with subtle curves and slight angles. Featuring only three joints, it creates a piece that is simple yet aesthetic and is more efficiently produced. 

 Trent Jansen for Broached Monsters by Broached Commissions Pankalangu Arm Chair, 2017

Pankalangu is one of the three groups of mythological creatures that frequent Western Arrernte country (Northern Territory). The chair draws inspiration from the form of this being, that completely camouflages into the desert and bush. Moving through the rain, its form is only revealed by the light reflecting off the water droplets. The Pankalangu Arm Chair is lined with wallaby fur that obscures its copper scales, perched above legs that eerily resemble a moth. 

The Chair is the first in a series presented by Craft Victoria honouring iconic objects of functional craft and design with a material driven approach.

To find out more about this exhibition, head to the website: https://craft.org.au/whats-on/all-events/thechair/ 


Where: Craft Watson Place Melbourne, VIC 3000

When: September 10, 2022, 11:00 AM — November 19, 2022, 4:00 PM

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Victorian Woodworkers Association (VWA)
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North Melbourne, VIC 3051
03 5776 2178

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