March 1, 2008
The Right Angle
McGuire’s new Arts and Crafts–inspired armchair takes a geometric approach to rattan.
The furniture designers Craig Bassam and Scott Fellows seem to be nostalgic for a time before computer-modeling software, when even the most intricate home furnishings were handmade. Much of their first collection—an homage to the heroes of midcentury Modernism—was painstakingly carved from solid wood and hand-finished by Swiss cabinetmakers. The same impeccable craftsmanship can be seen in their most recent furniture line, two years in the making, for McGuire. Collaborating with skilled Filipino and Indonesian artisans, the pair created seating inspired by the geometric shapes of the Austrian Arts and Crafts workshop Wiener Werkstätte, but fashioned out of indigenous rattan and imported leather. Since rattan is a hardy vine, it resisted being bent into the sharp angles that the Viennese studio achieved with ordinary wood. “We worked with the manufacturing-and-development group at McGuire to engineer those curves so they wouldn’t collapse in on themselves, to get those very tight radiuses,” Fellows says. “We were really pushing the structural boundaries of what the material does naturally,” Here he walks us through the twists of the new Geometric Armchair.