Benjamin Hubert of experience design agency LAYER has collaborated with responsible design company RÆBURN on Canopy Collection, a collection of innovative furniture pieces that explore form and structure using recycled parachute material and welded steel frames. The Canopy Collection comprises four rocking chairs and two screens that can be used in both commercial and domestic settings, and the frames have been prototyped and manufactured in the UK by leading furniture manufacturer Allermuir. The collection will launch in RÆBURN’s new store location in Central London during London Design Festival 2019, which runs from 14-22 September.
The Canopy Collection is the result of an extended collaboration between LAYER and RÆBURN. The two teams worked closely together to develop a furniture collection that celebrates innovative thinking from both the industrial design and fashion worlds. Both studios share a passion for responsible sustainable design and have an interest in recontextualising undervalued materials.
The limited edition Canopy Collection comprises four rocking chairs and two screens made from welded steel frames with recycled parachute upholstery. The simple, modernist steel structures provide a “blank canvas” for the parachute material, allowing the textile to be the most expressive element of each piece. The fabric has been wrapped, slung and hung within and around the framework to create padding, webbing and cover solutions with simple fixation points.
Throughout the design process, LAYER and RÆBURN explored the RÆBURN archives and the way the studio recontextualises surplus parachutes to create iconic fashion. These ideas were then developed to explore how the material could be utilised for furniture design. The teams focused their research on surplus ex-military parachutes and aircraft brake parachutes, looking at their unique structure, translucency, and tactility. The ability to layer the ultra-thin ripstop nylon to create durable furniture pieces with innovative forms was a particular area of interest.
The Canopy Collection uses the strict geometry of the steel frames as a base on which to experiment with innovative and forward-thinking recycled parachute upholstery. Each of the four rocking chairs – which all have the same framework – showcases a different quality of the parachute material, from a highly-controlled and simple expression to a raw, sculptural form. The construction of the steel frame reflects the expression of the parachute material: in the more minimal format, the frame is polished and finely finished, whilst in the most expressive format, the welded joins are left unfinished and the steel remains in a raw state that showcases the production process.
The two screens play with light and the way it travels through the translucent parachute material. The form of each screen is informed directly by the way the material can be inherently manipulated based on its structure and the graphic colourblocked design of the screens comes from the parachutes’ structure and stitch lines. The screens are statement pieces and have been designed for use in a variety of settings, including domestic, retail and hospitality.
The Canopy Collection is tuned into the semantics of a parachute in flight – the lounge chair gently rocks back and forth whilst the re-configurable screen takes inspiration from the section and construction of a wing.