Chair Share: Nick Ficaro

Nick Ficaro closed his eyes and imagined the chair in which he’d most enjoy sitting at the beach with a drink in his hand. When he opened them, he realized he need look no further for inspiration than Ikea’s Pöang armchair. That and The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, which he saw often while visiting a job site there.

Nick’s goal was to design a chair that was light, sturdy, and, with its construction, allowed him to use many of the tools in Centerbrook’s workshop. He started his design with a series of hand sketches before going digital, first on an iPad and then at his computer using Revit. He made a 3D printed rapid prototype model before moving on to two full-scale mockups which he used mainly to test the location of the lower stretcher.

Ingeniously, Nick’s chair uses its cold-laminated arms made of ash to also form the back, with the wood flexing just enough for comfort. The legs, curved like Eero Saarinen’s arched masterpiece, are laminated Baltic birch plywood, whose vertical striations are a prominent design element. While its green Sunbrella fabric gives off a chill vibe, Nick admitted to farming out the stitching to save time. The two stretchers, with their gentle tapered ends, were hand carved out of cherry on a lathe. He also nestled, like hidden gems, blocks of cherry between the legs and arms. He thinks a cup holder would be a practical addition, but admits it doesn’t really fit the aesthetic. Drink or no, we think his chair is a winner!