Thomas Seear-Budd and James Ross of Te Whanganui-a-Tara/Wellington architecture and interiors studio Seear-Budd Ross share a passion for designing furniture; Motueka furniture makers Woodwrights are expert artisans. They met, they talked, they decided to design a contemporary chair and table that embodies enduring principles of proportion, functionality, elegance and craftsmanship. 

So how did the to and fro go between you guys? James: Woodwrights’ enthusiasm for pursuing quality design meant the process was really enjoyable and collaborative. They made several prototypes throughout, which we visited the factory and had sent to our office to review and test. That was cool, since we don’t have the luxury of making 1:1 prototypes when we design our buildings! We were trying to make the chair legs as slender as possible, and for prototype 01, they were about 19mm thick, which meant they flexed nearly to the point of breaking when I sat down! That was all part of the process, though  — it allowed us to discover the properties and limitations of the material and adjust the design to suit.

Behind the design: Woodwrights x Seear-Budd Ross SBR T01 table and C01 chair
ABOVE The SBR T01 table features striking negative detailing, while the C01 chair (with optional squab) is defined by its three-legged configuration and scalloped backrest. Each is made to order from ash or oak timber in a variety  of colours and a matte finish.

T01 and C01 aren’t a complete dining suite per se, but they do work beautifully together… Thomas: We fine-tuned the chair’s armrest so it just tucks under the table. This means that even though the pieces are substantial, their overall footprint is quite efficient when the chairs are sitting partially under the table. 

How do you imagine this furniture living  its best life? Thomas: The beauty of working with solid timber is that it’ll last. Quality furniture can be a significant investment but we hope these pieces are a pleasure to use on a daily basis for a very long time.
James: We like the idea of the heavy table being almost like an anchor of a dining space and the chair is purposefully comfortable, so now all anyone needs to do is add good food, drinks and company.;

Words Philippa Prentice
Photography Anna McLeod

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