19 Chairs sees Jean Jullien, Joe Lycett, Isabel + Helen and Es Devlin reimagine the seat

Sharing chair designs with 19 of the industry’s most renowned creatives, the results of the Butterfield brothers’ project is on show this weekend.

30 October 2020

In what feels like a slightly different lifetime, back in May we caught up with creative duo (and brothers!) Tom and Will Butterfield on their project, 19 Chairs.

Born out of a want to keep busy and collaborate during the lockdown imposed by the pandemic, the concept involved sharing their design for a chair (compiled of 27mm square section timber and 40mm screws) with 19 creatives to reinterpret. This weekend at London’s Coal Drops Yard is your chance to see these furniture reimaginings before they are individually auctioned off for charity, with all proceeds being donated to Resourcing Racial Justice and Age UK.

From the south London back garden of the Butterfield brothers, each of the chairs has been on quite the journey to a range of the world’s most renowned creatives. From Jean Jullien to Es Devlin, Isabel + Helen, Tom Dixon and even comedian Joe Lycett, each artist has added their spin on Tom and Will’s design. In the instance of Isabel + Helen, the pair has wrapped the original chair design in wool to create an overly-cushioned seat. Elsewhere, Joe Lycett appears to keep his in its box, Tom Dixon covers it in silver and the brilliant Wilfrid Wood turns his contribution of a drawing of a chair.

Describing the initiative as “a creative response to the important issues prevalent in the world today post-Covid”, Tom and Will’s project has certainly fulfilled its aim of uniting “the collaborative essence between artists and creators in the face of a pandemic”.

Nine chairs are available to see this weekend (until 1 November) at Coal Drops Yard, with the full collection available to view in a further exhibition from 17-20 December. The designs will be auctioned online throughout December.

GalleryAll images copyright © 19 Chairs 2020. Photography: Alecio Ferrari


19 Chairs: James Shaw


19 Chairs: Nicole McLaughlin


19 Chairs: Tom Dixon


19 Chairs: Wilfrid Wood

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19 Chairs: Isabel + Helen (Copyright © 19 Chairs 2020) Photo: Alecio Ferrari

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Lucy Bourton

Lucy (she/her) joined It’s Nice That as a staff writer in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In January 2019 she was made deputy editor and in November 2021, became a senior editor predominantly working on It’s Nice That's partnerships. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about creative projects for the site or potential partnerships.


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