The stretched leather & walnut handcrafted Hyde Chair by Fredrikson Stallard for Bernhardt Design appeals to me for its suppleness and its sturdiness. It is an attractive contrast that mimics the diversity of its designers. By looking at the portfolio of this dynamic design duo, I think you’d agree, it is certainly a departure from their “standard” creations.
I think this rather contemporary piece really exemplifies the seamless connectivity of the couple’s going-on-10-year personal & professional partnership. In its utilitarian expression of form and function, Patrik Fredrikson and Ian Stallard have joyously married their seperate studies in ceramics, furniture & product design.
Having worked with such design leaders as David Gill Galleries, Contrast Galleries, Droog Design, Chanel, The Design Museum, Veuve Clicquot, The London Design Festival, Tai Ping, Thorsten Van Elten and Swarovski, it is no wonder that an international heavyweight like Bernhardt Design would come knocking at their door.
It was a result of Pandora, their animatronic chandelier for Swarovski, that they were originally commissioned by Bernhardt to design their first mass production piece. When Bernhardt’s Creative Director first met them at their East London studio, there had been a chair model sitting on a shelf that had caught his attention for its simplistic beauty. He was a bit jealous. But to his pleasant surprise, he learnt that the ambitious pair had already fashioned this prototype with Bernhardt Design in mind. Fredrikson states: ‘I didn’t want to just show him some doodles, after all he was coming all the way from America.’
Fascinatingly, the original vision for the Hyde Chair came from an army cot. The steadfast walnut frame allowed them to work around it with stretched leather, much like the stretched fabric of a cot. The union shows a certain gentleness in strength the same way their Aviary Chair represents a rigidity in comfort. ‘A physical function can also have an emotional function,’ says Fredrikson. In this case the results are both soothing and stunning.
Hand carving and sophisticated joinery seamlessly connect the elements. The seat can be upholstered in either fabric or leather and the back pillow can come in contrasting fabric or colour (but it’s the white and walnut pairing that really speaks to me). The frame is also available in several finishes including natural oil.