Chairs are a symbol of relaxation, but they are also the seats of authority, a space forgathering, and purposeful exchanges. In Chinese culture, they are a source of nostalgia, a centrepiece of the home where the elderly spends hours a day. Furniture like this is often overlooked in the homes and not given the gratitude they deserve. With so many exceptional chairs, armchairs and stools in our collection, we asked our founders to share their favourite piece, and why it captivated them.
Wilfrid On The Eloquence Of the Abacus Chair
For me, my favourite chair in our collective is the Abacus Chair. I instantly had an emotional connection with this design not only because it's intrinsically Chinese, but because the abacus was a part of my childhood. This tool has its place in history as a counting tool for both merchants and nobility. It was a great equaliser in a way, allowing the lower class people of China to rise up in the ranks once they had mastered the abacus's ways.
Overshadowed by the invention of the calculator, it is becoming a lost art. My dad, however, felt it was an essential tool for me growing up. Not only did he teach his other students and me mandarin and Chinese literature, but he also taught us how to use the abacus. So much so that we were invited to perform this lost art at graduation ceremonies. It would begin with asking if there was an accountant in the audience. There almost always was. The accountant was given a calculator and would stand opposite a group of us children armed with only the abacus. Math problems were thrown our way, and we would inevitably beat the accountant every time, despite having this 'older' technology.
This experience gave me great confidence in math and was what lead me to a career in finance. It may seem old-fashioned, but an abacus is a powerful tool that still holds relevance today. In some places around the world, including China and Japan, it is still preferred. To me, the Ebony Abacus Armchair is a statement of knowledge, a literal seat of power to be admired. Its alluring craftsmanship is an extension of its wit and modest brilliance.
Mavis On The Feminine Guile Of The Mulan Chair
The Mulan Chair speaks volumes to me. I strongly identify with its strength, elegance and subtleties, all the things I believe women are. The Ballad of Mulan is a story I had heard many times over as a young girl, one without Disney's talking dragons or romantic side stories.The original tale focuses on Mulan, who very courageously, broke the rules and social standing as a woman. She disguised herself as a young man to save her father from the fate of war. She remained at war for 12 years before returning home to her family victorious.
A woman before her time, she is a beacon of courage and prowess. When this ballad was first written, it was not often you heard such tales of female heroines. While the story has changed and adapted over the years, the crux of it remains the same; a strong woman overcoming the odds, fighting for what she believes is right. The Mulan Chair captures this tale in every sense.
Its seamless joinery and curved design are refined and gentle. But the more you gaze upon it, you realise the solid walnut and wide stance exude power and resilience. A beautiful duality that speaks to Mulan's nature as well as many women I know. It is a multifaceted chair in its design and purpose, sitting just as beautifully in the dining room as it would in the home office. I personally have it in my dining room as this room is the main place I welcome guests, it’s low key at first glance but once you pay it a little more attention, it’s extraordinary. For all these reasons, it is my favourite piece.
Honourable mentions from our team and best sellers on Living in Design
Loved for its space-saving abilities and beautifully simple design.
Loved for its velvety feel and hidden connections
Loved for its cosy, curved shape and plush material.
Loved for its adaptable features and versatility
Loved for its timeless design and calming presence.
To me, the Ebony Abacus Armchair is a statement of knowledge, a literal seat of power to be admired