When SANAA’s Grace Farms opened to the public last month, visitors were treated to a feast for the eyes — from the sinuous architecture and connecting spaces of The River building to the surrounding landscape’s early-autumn foliage. But equally impressive were a number of the project’s furniture pieces and light fixtures that the Japanese Pritzker Prize-winning firm designed, as well.
Among them were 750 bespoke chairs specially created for the Grace Farms amphitheater, which also serves as a religious sanctuary. SANAA’s design for these is best described as understated and sophisticated at once, a minimal chair constructed from a natural-finished rock maple frame. Upholstered back and seat pads, covered in Maharam Kvadrat fabric, provide comfort for the sitter while blending in tone-wise.
SANAA commissioned the chairs from an expert fabricator — American furniture-maker Thos. Moser. Following a six-month prototyping process, the final design yielded an interlocking, stationary wood chair with integrated cup holders as well as different leg heights to accommodate the amphitheater’s sloping concrete floor. Handmade in Moser’s workshop in Maine, the chairs were transported to Grace Farms in New Canaan, Conn., and, then, permanently attached to the sanctuary floor.
Aaron Moser, director of Thos. Moser’s contract division, summed up this special commission: “It’s very fulfilling as an American company whose mission is to build furniture that celebrates the natural beauty of wood to provide seating in a setting designed to experience its natural environment.”