“Creating something physical was daunting and scary,” says Ross Baynham, co-founder of Instrmnt Applied Design. He’s recalling the pangs of confinement and social distancing at the crescendo of the coronavirus pandemic, a time when it was increasingly difficult to collaborate, let alone design an object that required multiple makers. While in lockdown, Baynham and his partner, Pete Sunderland, decided to finish off their second piece of furniture since the Day Bed, which debuted in 2016. The result? The Lounge Chair, an industrial-inspired seat that required working with two carpenters, an upholsterer, a metalworker, and a sandblaster at every stage.
Despite the complicated logistics of designing a chair during lockdown, Instrmnt delivered an eye-catching statement piece that still honors the firm’s core ethos of crafting clever products with high-quality materials. (That mentality has rung true since the firm’s very first launch, the minimalist Everyday Watch, in 2014.) And in the Lounge Chair, Instrmnt’s resounding appreciation for materials, process, and making takes center stage. A limited-edition and made-to-order piece, it effortlessly balances cool and warm elements: American Walnut or Scottish Oak woods with sumptuous textiles like grey melton wool, tan calf leather, or green Italian boucle. Perhaps the chair’s most captivating feature is the subtle removable plinth affixed to its leftmost arm, lending additional function.
Instrmnt had long aspired to localize its manufacturing, which proved serendipitous when Covid-19 forced widespread shutdowns. “That really focused the issue for us,” Baynham says, noting that carpentry, upholstery, and stainless steel fabrication all took place just a few miles from their shop and studio in Saltmarket, an industrial neighborhood in Glasgow. “Providing ongoing work to talented Glaswegian makers during this period is a small token of support for peers in the temporarily afflicted creative industries.”