Recently, we wrote about Virgil Abloh and Vitra's homage to Jean Prouvé's work, but we felt the collection wasn't original enough: it lives more in the artist's edition realm than the re-interpretation one. So today, we were excited to see that industrial designer Joey Zeledón (Steelcase, Smart Design, Continuum, etc.) is finally releasing his take on Marcel Breuer's Cesca Chair, which pushes the idea of reinterpretation of iconic work a step further than CMF.
Zeledón's Coat Check Chair takes the Cesca Chair's recognizable steel tube frame and strips it of its seat back and cushion, leaving just an empty, sculptural shell. Users are then able to fill the gap with their extra hangers by sliding them one by one over the tubes (flat side facing up). The hangers, when placed in a tight group, are strong enough to sit on—ideal for a walk-in closet companion or as extra hanger options in hotel rooms.
"By bringing the elements of the closet into the foreground of a person's daily routine, the Coat Check Chair offers a unique design and a gentle encouragement to stay neat," says Zeledón. "The hangers' flexible plastic makes the chair surprisingly comfortable, while its impermanent construction lets users customize in terms of hanger color and pattern." The chair frame is designed to accommodate standard Container Store hangers. A set of hangers is provided with the purchase of a chair frame, but more can be ordered at any time to make changes to the chair's color.
The Coat Check Chair is available on Kickstarter as of today, but the idea isn't a new one. This was actually a student project for Zeledón, which he worked on while attending Rochester Institute of Technology. Noting that Coat Check Chair is one of his favorite projects he's ever worked on, he decided to refine the design and submit it to design awards programs. Even after receiving multiple awards (including a Notable for Speculative Objects/Concepts in the 2011 Core77 Design Awards), the designer still felt he could do more: "While I was excited that Coat Check Chair resonated with many, it was still just a concept. It was not a real chair you could buy and put in your living room or studio. I really wanted to make it real."
Designing and manufacturing a chair solo was a daunting task for Zeledón at the time, but he was able to call upon his long past of design experience at Steelcase and other design companies to figure it out. For the past few years, he has been refining Coat Check Chair's details to reduce production and shipping costs. After spending time searching for a local manufacturer, he finally partnered with one in Pennsylvania who doesn't use solvents that produce hazardous VOCs, uses rainwater as the source water in the pre-treatment process, uses an evaporation method to reduce wastewater discharge and uses energy-efficient infrared heaters to speed curing.
The Coat Check Chair can serve as inspiration to students today who may not be ready to leave their favorite projects behind after graduation. Remember: if you design a product that truly stands the test of time (especially one that solves an everyday challenge), it's never too late to bring your work to life.
If you want a Coat Check Chair of your own, pledge on Kickstarter here.
Emily is a freelance writer based in NYC with an interest in all things design, specifically the design process. When she's not writing about design, Emily can either be found taking care of her 31 houseplants, going on "nature" walks in her neighborhood or studying Japanese. Before going freelance, Emily was an Editor at Core77.