Full description after the photos….
The Corvo Chair by Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance
Similar to the unfolding plot of a classic novel, design is often an evolutionary experience for the user. Parisian designer Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance embraced this mindset when creating his new wood chair, Corvo, for Bernhardt Design. Corvo reveals its story with the discovery of each angle, facet and curve, illuminating the idea that craft and the human hand are the hallmarks of modern in the twenty-first century.
Upon viewing Duchaufour-Lawrance’s “Beside You” table for the first time, Jerry Helling, President of Bernhardt Design, knew he was seeing something special. Helling immediately recognized the degree of talent required in creating such an innovative piece that still possessed the deep-rooted values of an established brand. “I’m always looking for designers to enhance what we already do well, and at the same time bring a different perspective to the process. I could tell Noé has a true sense of this critical balance, and he would be the perfect person to reinterpret the classic wood chair,” says Helling. After the task was defined, Duchaufour-Lawrance immersed himself in the creative process and delivered a series of five innovative designs exploring this type of product – the first being Corvo.
Ideas that appear to be simple and effortless are many times the most difficult to execute, and the creation of the Corvo chair was no exception. Duchaufour-Lawrance’s process in developing Corvo was to first design it in carbon fiber and then work in reverse to reinterpret it in wood. “I didn’t want to focus on the limitations of wood, but rather to explore what I could create with the freedom and versatility of composites,” he explains. “This approach resulted in a chair that was more challenging to execute, but hopefully one that is noticed and appreciated.”
Two experienced sample-makers worked for more than four weeks to produce the first prototype. Subsequent iterations focused on the strength and durability required to pass rigorous commercial performance tests. Ultimately, the complexity of the various shapes, angles and transitions made fabrication using modern CNC equipment impractical, resulting in a decision to produce the chair by employing old world manufacturing techniques. Using fifteen different carving tools, Corvo is hand shaped and sanded from solid American Walnut and sealed with a natural oil finish. Each chair is slightly different, reflecting the personality of the artisan who made it.
Duchaufour-Lawrance draws upon a wide variety of past experiences and professional accomplishments to bring his ideas to fruition. His father’s work as a sculptor influenced him to pursue academic degrees in both furniture design and metal sculpture. In recent years, his success with high profile restaurant commissions, such as London’s Sketch and the famed Senderens in Paris, have secured his trademark design language of merging fluidity with structural forms. His design of the Corvo chair boldly exemplifies this duality. The contours of the inner arms and back are juxtaposed with the straight edges of the external structure, creating visual interest and stability. Duchaufour-Lawrance notes, “The appearance of an armchair can be interpreted in many ways. It is often the back that is discovered first, followed by the inner envelope. I designed Corvo with both views in mind.”
At the dawning of the digital century, Corvo allows us to celebrate the human elements of design and production, and subtly redefines the notion of modern.
Visit Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance’s website – here.
Visit the Bernhardt Design website – here.