One striking example is the Harper, a $2,900 reconceptualization of the classic Windsor rocker by French designer Noe Duchaufour-Lawrance. The recreation of the Windsor chair, with maple wood spindles and cherrywood frame, required steam bending and CNC manufacturing. He describes his process:
"I wanted to take the essential elements of the Windsor rocker and put them together in a new and different way. The Windsor chair is essentially a kit of parts that are joined together in a very defined way – glides, spindles, arms, and backrest. The chair is constructed almost like a tiered cake, with one piece stacked on the previous one.
"I rearranged these sections and connected them differently to develop one continuous loop. All the elements are integrated in a more aerodynamic way, which is appropriate for a chair that is about motion. The goal was to create harmony between the various elements, to form an unbroken line.
"This atypical arrangement of parts generates something that is more contemporary, but still remains true to its historical reference. The exterior of the Harper chair is very much like a birds nest with a structure composed of twigs. The interior is a cocoon - in this instance a suspended cocoon. The seat and back appear to be floating inside the nest.
I wanted to bring warmth and texture to the cocoon, rather than use the typical wood seat found in a Windsor chair. To achieve this, I looked at leather saddles as a point of reference. The floating saddle seat brings a level of tailoring and quality to the chair, while still maintaining an important sense of familiarity. It was important that we use classic American woods: maple for the spindles and cherry for the structure.
"The choice of maple for the spindles was very deliberate, selected for its light color and visual transparency. The contrast between the two woods enables you to follow the form of the chair and easily see the suspended interior. For me, the most special aspect of Harper is that you experience something different from every perspective. As you walk around the chair it is constantly changing and becoming something new.”
Named in honor of Bernhardt Design founder Anne Harper Bernhardt, the Harper chair is constructed in solid American cherry and American maple with a natural clear finish. With age, the cherry elements will darken.
Another chair is the Anne, in walnut, "a combination of old-world craftsmanship and technology using master carvers and seven Axis CNC machines," says Welsh designer Ross Lovegrove.
Two other pieces in the 125th anniversary collection include an upholstered sofa and an artistic design, Familty Tree. Read more of the Bernhardt Furniture 125th anniversary furniture designs.
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