The “Tiny Little Chairs” jewelry collection from Bruxe Design is, perhaps, my favorite design related product line at the moment. Having studied decorative arts, especially chairs, I’ve got a thing for the stories they are telling through these neat little necklaces. I wanted to learn more about the project, so I connected with Oli Van Roost (pictured with c0-founder and brother Mer Van Roost) of Bruxe to get the scoop.
Photograph by Jeremy Patterson.
Our Q&A follows after the jump.
CR: How did the Tiny Little Chairs project begin?
OVR: Tiny Little Chairs was an idea we came up one day as we were discussing the mens accessory market and the lack of jewelry available. As we thought of different things we could do, the idea of miniature mid-century furniture came to mind. We’re not architects or industrial designers but have always wanted to make object designs and furniture, especially chairs. I have been collecting and lusting over mid-century furniture since the 90s so this was an idea we could really relate to. We passed the idea around to some friends and clients and everyone told us we were crazy. That’s when we knew it was a great idea.
CR: What’s the process of choosing chairs? Favourite designers or eras? Things that translate well to jewelry?
OVR: To come to those first five chairs, we started with about twelve chairs, and then we worked the process down to the five. The ones who made it into the inaugural collection did so because of their immense impact on popular culture and furniture design. We wanted to use chairs that were instantly recognizable to designers and architects, as well as design fiends, but at the same time these chairs are used on so many TV shows, commercials, advertising, offices, etc., that everybody comes across them on a daily basis, so somewhere in their sub conscious they might relate to these designs.
All of the designs represent mid-century designs, Obviously Charles and Ray Eames played such a big role in chair design in that era so three of their chairs are represented in the collection, The Scoop, The Bent and the Work. The Dining chair is by one of our favourite designers, Eero Saarinen, although Charles and Ray also played a part in designing that chair. And finally, The Pavillion by Mies Van der Rohe, also had a huge impact on popular architecture and design. This chair is probably the most recognizable to the mainstream market.
CR: Given the hands on approach to Bruxe design, I’m interested in how you came to metals? And, to how it connects to the rest of the brands offerings?
OVR: Our focus with Bruxe has always been to try our best to position the brand as a lifestyle design company. Although we launched with backpacks, its always been our intention to produce accessories and objects as well as anything that answers to a customer who appreciates design. We don’t want to stick to making clothes and accessories, we also plan to make objects for the home and office, and anything else that we feel our customers will like. When we decide to make something, we want to make it well.
We have designed for a lot of very successful companies out there and every single design brief we have ever received started with the target price. At Bruxe, we start the design process by researching materials and construction before looking at final price. We let the product dictate the price as opposed to letting the price dictate the product, this is very important to our process. So we decided to only offer the jewelry in Gold, Silver and Bronze, we stayed away from doing plating because we want the jewelry to last, we don’t want it to chip. We also like the fact that it doesn’t cost $19.99. The customer who buys our chairs is buying something special, he might have saved for it and lusted over it for some time before making his purchase and this will give him a strong relationship with his new pendant.
CR: You favorite chair of all time?
OVR: Thats a tough one, but I would definitely have to include the following in my favorites, The Aluminum Series and the Molded Rocker by Ray and Charles Eames, The Pedestal Group by Eero Saarinen, The Quinta by Micheal Bayer, and I love the Arper Catifa Chair.
CR: Will tiny little chairs ever extend to tiny little cabinets?
OVR: I’m not sure about cabinets, but we will launch some new jewelry for fall 11, which will include five more chairs as well as more popular Miniatures.