A Garden Chair

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Garden Chair, 1937, designed by Jacques André & Jean Prouvé
Garden Chair, 1937, designed by Jacques André & Jean ProuvéCourtesy of the Design Museum

The curves and undulations of a beautiful garden chair have won the Loves vote for Another Man fashion editor Ellie Grace Cumming

‘Tis the season to be sitting outside in a sun dappled garden, Pimms in one hand, a paper plate piled high with chargrilled BBQ oddments in the other. However, June is upon us and still the clouds above are rumbling with a February-like fervour, so this garden party idyll must stay in our dreams, or rather be expressed in the latest winner of the Loves vote – this exquisite garden chair Loved by Another Man fashion editor Ellie Grace Cumming.

"June is upon us and still the clouds above are rumbling with a February-like fervour, so this garden party idyll must stay in our dreams"

Designed in 1936 as a collaboration between two important French designers and craftsmen, Jean Prouvé and Jacques André, the Garden Chair was created using a novel combination of steel and acrylic glass. The idea was to apply to furniture, the high-tech innovations that were flourishing in architecture, by which space and levity were implied through the use of glass held together by a skeletal structure. The result is a rolling confection of curves and corners that would have been the centrepiece of any garden set, bar the minor issue of the weather – the glass was prone to cracking if left in direct sunlight. This of course would not be a problem in London, where direct sunlight hasn’t been seen for many a decade, but was part of the reason why the chair never went into production.

Despite weather woes, the chair’s victory in the Loves vote has got us thinking about our ideal garden party; so we’ve made a list of our perfect locations – ranging from flower meadows, topiary gardens and floral tunnels to rooftop hideaways, vertical dreamscapes, treehouse fancies or just keeping company with Frida – and asked Cumming who her dream guests would be.

Why did you Love this chair?
I loved the story of Jacques André and Jean Prouvé designing and creating this chair and what they were working towards at that moment.

Where would you keep it if you owned it?
Surrounding by lots of plants and cacti.

What would you wear to sit in it?
A fabulous tulle polka dot 1930’s dress from Mairead Lewin.

What and where is your dream home?
Prospect Cottage, Derek Jarman’s home and garden in Dungeness. 

Who would be your five ideal garden party guests?
It would be in June at the Rose garden at Mottisfont Abbey, and I would invite Gertrude Jekyll, Nick Knight, George Orwell, Robert Mapplethorpe and Morrissey.

Who is your favourite homeware designer?
Very hard to say! My favourite periods in furniture are Bauhaus – Modernism – Eileen Grey, Marcel Breuer, Marianne Brandt, Le Corbusier.

What three things for you make a house a home?
High ceilings, good windows with lots of light and my posters/music and books.

What are you looking forward to about summer?
Open-air cinema excursions.

What was the last thing you bought?
Some fanzines from Printed Matter.

Text by Tish Wrigley