A Wholesome Chair


modified Windsor chair concept with steam-bent, bundled parts

Most of my furniture design over the past ten years or so has developed either from a particular need or from the properties of a particular material, usually wood. Lately I’ve been wanting to broaden my target by channeling my resources into the creation of a signature chair, a Deepcraft icon that adds to the canon of classic chair design. One of the goals of this experimental site is to unpack exactly what that means and hopefully discover how to translate a design philosophy into a truly sustainable production model in the process.


If and when I succeed, the thinking behind the chair will fold into the chair’s broad appeal as one of life’s Simple Good Things and I will assuage any guilt about burdening consumer culture with yet more stuff. More ambitiously, the chair will stand in for a philosophy of design with the potential to more broadly influence the built environment and contribute to the (critique of) public taste. Ultimately, my interest is in how the natural and the built environments can work in congruency to suggest mutually beneficial loops. What follows are some of the discursive questions I have that guide my thinking in the process:


  • How has ‘nature’ been framed in Western culture historically, especially related to society expanding into new or unknown territory?
  • What are and have been the natural conditions most conducive to human habitation?
  • What are examples of human habitation actually ‘improving’ the ecology of a particular place?
  • How can the science of ecology inform how people occupy land?
  • How has the literature of ‘nature’ (Romanticism) influenced the built environment?
  • What effect have natural disasters had on the psychology of place? How have people responded to catastrophic change and by extension, how might we anticipate and intercept a global response to the fall-out of climate change?


  • In what setting have people been the happiest (most productive, inter-dependent, convivial, cooperative, healthy, etc.)?
  • What motivates people to want something beyond basic needs? But, what are the minimal requirements for providing basic needs to ensure rudimentary contentment?
  • What have been the socio-economic conditions leading to the longevity of forms of vernacular origin historically?
  • Relatedly, when have these conditions been conducive to well-being across social strata?
  • What values underlie the concept of ‘good design’?
  • How has the notion of ‘taste’ been made manifest in the built environment?
  • How have people consistently changed/remained the same throughout the ages, related to concepts of well-being?