“With outdoor furniture there is more freedom to be playful because of context. With interiors, form should not be so exuberant because you have a roomful of furniture.” For half a century, Richard Schultz has been designing outdoor furniture, first at Knoll, where he assisted Harry Bertoia and developed his own lines, and after 1972 as a freelancer. He later launched his own collection that included his reissued Knoll classics, including the Petal Table and Leisure Line chaise on wheels, plus new designs such as the Café 2000 Chair and Topiary Chair. Schultz has always managed to work independently, without clients or assignments, defining his own projects that he then sells to manufacturers for production. What interests him most are materials and techniques. “The challenge,” he said during an interview with DWR, “is creating a beautiful form that works as a chair.” It must be comfortable as well as aesthetically pleasing. He admires basic, irreducible Shaker designs and modern Eames furniture while striving for simplicity in his own work. Outdoor furniture, Schultz explained, must also withstand rigorous physical and environmental testing. There is the salt spray test, for example, in which furniture is put into a chamber and alternately sprayed and dried in an effort to simulate the environmental abuse found at the seashore. Such testing standards are often set by the automotive industry, particularly for corrosion. “That’s why we don’t pop things out in a hurry. We don’t want the customer to do the testing.” After refurbishing the Leisure Line (reissued in 1992 as the 1966 Collection) with mesh woven from vinyl-coated polyester yarn – making it more durable, less susceptible to ultraviolet damage and easier to clean – Schultz continues his quest for better ways of sitting using textiles that are different from the mesh, webbing and cushions found today. His most recent work also explores anodized and coated aluminum sheet metal, materials that may not be new but are rarely found in outdoor furniture.
Filters Filters (9)
Sort By –