The design thinking behind Katō was always to showcase the woodworking and engineering expertise that defines Lyndon. Beautiful show-wood furniture has long been our strong suit but this time we wanted to produce a statement piece, so we began sketching ideas for a timber armchair with an exo-frame supporting an upholstered seat and back. This would enable us to put as much wood on display as possible.
Everything about timber excites us. We love its look, feel and even its smell, from when it’s delivered to our factory as rough sawn planks, to its departure in the form of finely crafted furniture. Wood is nature’s ideal building material – renewable, durable and soothing on the eye. With the right skills, it can be worked into many shapes and forms. Though wood can look hard and unforgiving when it’s cut with straight edges and assembled with right-angle joins, we decided to give our new chair a gentle, organic aesthetic. Every piece of wood has a unique character and this was something we were able to celebrate through Katō’s timber exoskeleton, with the natural grain on show and rounded structural features including exposed joinery.
A Sensory Experience
Wrapping around the sides and back of the chair in a horseshoe shape, the arm rail caps off the design and turns Katō into the statement piece we wanted. This element of the exoskeleton proved to be an exciting challenge as we searched for a form that would invite the sitter in and give the design a unique and memorable quality. The solution was to increase the proportions of the arm and create a broad, elliptical rail. We widened it to 80mm and gave it slimmer edges, while retaining its roundedness through a soft, domed top surface. The aerofoil-inspired cross-sectional shape of Katō’s arms elegantly suits the organic feel of the structure beneath, while making a clear visual statement. It has an architectural feel to it – like a light, expansive platform supported by the sturdy cylindrical leg posts. The gently curved surface of the armrest was an instant hit when we trialled Katō with prospective customers. It performs its function perfectly when the sitter alights in or rises from the chair. While seated their fingertips are naturally drawn to the wood grain texture, which turns Katō into a wonderful sensory experience.