We were asked by Suite NYC to participate in their contribution for the Pink Project to benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. This year’s chair, chosen by Suite, is the iconic GJ Chair designed by Grete Jalk in 1963. One of only a few women to venture into Danish furniture design in the 1950s and 1960’s, Grete Jalk was an undeniable visionary in her time. A prototype of the original GJ Chair now holds a place in MoMA’s permanent collection.
The inspiration for the “adornment” of the teak Jalk chair was found in an unusual teak-decorated apartment building, The Ava, at 9 East 10th Street, which was built in 1888, was once home to the female writer Dawn Powell and is one of the few buildings of its time to have such carvings on its front. To the right of the door is a large plaque with the building's name, Ava, surrounded by more Indian-style decoration and two triplet groups of elephants, also in teak. We loved the idea of such an urban NYC use of teak, and the fact that it housed a famous NYC female writer overlayed on this teak chair designed by another woman.
We collaged Teak shapes using simple rules to create various iterations, and tested each iteration on the unique form of the teak Jalk chair until we found the pattern that produced the greatest effects while still working harmoniously with the elegant curvature of the piece. We then proceeded to have the pattern laser-cut in a slightly lighter wood- veneer and applied it to the chair following and accentuating its curves. The now highly textured chair is an homage to The Ava and to the Pink project in specific!