From early chipboard chairs to the ‘Breed Dining Set’

The London designer Charlotte Kingsnorth reclaims discarded furniture creating sculptural objects.

Charlotte Kingsnorth’s journey in design began in her formative years in London. At 15, she created her first chair from chipboard sparking her passion for design. She pursued an Art Foundation at Kingston and a Product and Contemporary Furniture Design degree at Buckinghamshire University and finally a master’s degree from The Royal College of Art (RCA). During her time at RCA under the mentorship of designer Tord Boontje, she further developed her distinctive style, blending storytelling with design.

Inspired by the Japanese philosophy of Kintsugi, which celebrates the beauty of repaired ceramics, her work seeks to highlight the history and imperfections of objects. On a trip to Mexico, she witnessed the amazing transformation of broken plastic chairs into unique useful items with the aid of plaited palm leaves. ‘Breed Dining Set’ involves rescuing chairs at the brink of landfill and handcrafted upholstery to give them new life and value, reflecting her experience in Mexica.

In her London studio, merging functionality with evocative art through an intuitive and spontaneous design process transforming salvaged furniture frames into biomorphic sculptures. She brings the ‘Breed Dining Set’ to life with Lawrence Weiner’s assertion that art should profoundly disrupt life. Each piece in the collection emerges organically guided by the materials and the moment rather than a predetermined plan.

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This collection challenges traditional perceptions of furniture design, inviting viewers to reconsider their reality and engage in a dialogue about identity and function. Through her sculptural interventions, she breathes new life into discarded objects, creating pieces that stimulate the senses and encourage a critical examination of modern consumption. The reuse of old materials adds depth and history, evoking a sense of transformation and renewal. Pieces like ‘Don’t Pet the Lamp’ explore the fluidity of identity, presenting functional objects that transcend their practical roles to engage in a dialogue about form and essence.

Drawing inspiration from figurative painters like Jenny Saville and Lucian Freud, She combines traditional craft techniques with industrial processes to create pieces that reflect contemporary culture. Her work fuses functionality with sculpture, infusing pre-existing frames with alter egos that resonate with the zeitgeist of their original era.

The ‘Hi! Breed’ series, a precursor to the ‘Breed Dining Set’ originated from her desire to create chairs with unique, fleshy upholstery. This project began during a residency in Brompton, London Design Week 2011 where limited tools did not hinder her creativity. Her hands-on approach brought each piece to life, emphasizing character and individuality.

Through her London-based practice, she collaborates with private clients, galleries, and institutions worldwide, including The Bill Gates Foundation, ASAP Rocky, Fendi, and SHOWstudio. Her work is featured in prestigious design fairs and is part of the permanent collection at Turkey’s Odunpazari Modern Museum.

The ‘Breed Dining Set’ encapsulates her vision, inviting interaction beyond mere functionality. It celebrates transformation and dialogue between the familiar and the unknown, offering a profound commentary on the malleability of identity and form in contemporary society.

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