Brooklyn design duo Chen Chen and Kai Williams’ first joint effort was an attempt to replicate and reimagine the ingeniously simple African slotted chair, a traditional form involving nothing more than one plank of hardwood inserted into another.
While the first versions failed—one after another collapsing upon use—the process of trial and error fostered a fruitful partnership between the Brooklyn-based designers, built upon a shared love for hands-on, experimental material exploration. This year, Chen and Williams are ready to present their Slotted Chair to the world, and L’ArcoBaleno has the exclusive.
The Emerald Ash Slotted Chair is named for the emerald ash borer beetle, an invasive species destroying North American ash trees. The designers have elegantly inset abalone shell into the ash-wood structure to mimic the aftereffects of the beetles. Super lightweight, the chair easily assembles and disassembles for transport.
Chinese-born Chen Chen and native New Yorker Kai Williams have been combining their creative talents since 2011, when they launched their Brooklyn studio. Both graduates of Pratt Institute, they share a curious interest in displacing everyday materials from their conventional environments.