September 09 2011
Lucia van der Post
I’ve noticed that there is usually a disparity between dining chairs that look the most appealing and those that are so comfortable one sinks into them with a sigh of comfort. The ones that I most envy visually are usually to be found in glossy magazines and are beloved of art directors and designers who just happen to have come upon a gem of a wooden table in some junk-yard, polished it up so that it looks divine, and then acquired a collection of gorgeous vintage chairs to go with it, each different but all together deeply lust-worthy.
But while they look a treat, I’m never sure how comfortable they are to sit on. The other problem with this kind of collection is that it takes time and effort. Which brings me to The Dining Chair Company, which produces more than 30 dining-chair designs, as well as stools, benches and tables. Here is as wide a variety of chairs as one could hope to see in a month of trawling the shops – and many of them are brilliantly comfortable.
For those who like nothing more than rows of identical matching chairs, here they all are; whereas those who like to mix and match can have their fun, too. Styles mostly tend towards the classic, but Tomasz Starzewski, once better known for his fetching womenswear collections, has come up with a clean, modern number called Jean-Michel. Others have been designed by Helen Green (left in first picture), Kit Kemp (right in second picture) and Suzy Hoodless – all designers who know exactly what the punters want.
All the chairs are hand-crafted in the UK from beech hardwood, except for the Cromwell (right in first picture) and the Georgian, which have cabriole legs in mahogany, and the Tudor, which has oak legs. Prices range from £391 for the Georgian to £658 for the Cromwell (fabric is extra), while the Byron bench (left in second picture) is £634 and stools are from £436. Since every chair is made to order, there is a great deal of choice: the colour, type of wood, upholstery fabric and the dimensions can all be specified. The company will also create bespoke designs. Check out the offerings on the website, or visit the London shop.