Judges’ Pick: Chaise Elsie

Appareil Atelier for Les Jardins de Métis, Montréal

Photography by Félix Michaud Photographe / OSA images 

Classic is classic for a reason, and there are few things as classic as a hand-made wood chair. But doing it right is not easy. For this commission from Les Jardins de Métis, Appareil Atelier, in collaboration with l’Autre Atelier, dug deep into their research on a wide range of chair types from the 19th century, finding inspiration in the simple yet popular forms.

Their goal with the new Elsie line was to develop a new expression of that classic vocabulary by removing all superfluous elements while keeping the essence of the chair, its seat and back. Here, the four chair legs support the seat and continue upward where they become the back and the arms, with the thinness of the seat highlighting the seven bars that make up the chair and whose size is larger than traditionally seen. Made from rectangular pieces machined to give the impression of elegant curves, the chair is a mortise and tenon assembly where each visible component plays a supporting role, giving all aesthetic gestures a structural function. Using solid red oak from Québec forests in its construction is a nod to local craftsmanship and Quebec’s wood products.

“With elegant and minimalistic design, the Elsie chair celebrates wood craftmanship and classic design lines in a contemporary context. The warmth and texture of Canadian red oak is brought to the forefront through precision milling and ingenious mortise and tenon joinery. Featuring two complementary designs, the chair is an invitation to play, at the office, home or the dining room the chairs are a focal point for any design interior without compromising functionality. As a designer I just want to know where I can buy one.” David Correa, Associate Professor, School of Architecture, University of Waterloo

“It’s a deceptively complex chair that keeps all of its hardware discreetly unseen. Elegant, clean lines curve comfortably into any commercial or residential setting, indoors or out, and the solid wood construction welcomes a range of stains and finishes. In short, a very self-assured seat that makes great design look effortless.” Jonathan Nodrick, founder, CEO and creative director, Rollout

“The Elsie chair is simple, serene, sophisticated and portrays effortless elegance.” — Duane Lucas, business development manager, Black Bread + Jam.