THE BOUNDLESS PRODUCT: Creators putting the Crown on top, where it belongs
- The Crown Armchair, designed by Chris Martin
The Crown Armchair is an amazing chair, no doubt. But this wasn’t a success story from the very beginning, and it has taken some time to enter the throne. In fact, the start for Crown was quite shaky.
“Massproductions had invested a lot in development and production tools (especially for a small company like Massproductions ten years ago). But nobody wanted the chair. In the first four years, no more than 30-40 chairs were sold”, says Magnus Elebäck, CEO and Co-Founder.
What happened that finally turned things around for Crown?
“I’d say it took too long time for the business to discover the grace of Crown. Even though we pushed for it, too few bought it. But eventually, it started to get picked up by talented progressive stylists and interior designers, which made it appear in well-thought-out settings. Today, Crown is an iconic chair and has become our best seller, with clients like Cartier and Dior globally, Goop in L.A. and Sony Music in Berlin. To me, Crown is a testament to how we are moving away from working with trends to creating more long-term and sustainable furniture,” Magnus continues.
The Crown Armchair is cleverly constructed, with a playful element to it. Its backrests are perched on the armrests, seemingly unsupported but, in fact, relying on a strong, concealed steel joint. The construction gives the impression that the backrest floats above the armrests and allows an open-back design.
Since its release in 2013, many creative things have happened with the Crown chair.
Designer Gustaf Westman came to Massproductions with a quirky request. He wanted the Crown chairs for his new office to be upholstered in Argo, a fabric designed by Raf Simons for fabric producer Kvadrat, woven from the long silky hairs of the Angora goat. When Massproductions saw the result, which is now sold as Crown Armchair – The Furry Edition, they “couldn’t help falling in love with it”.
Massproductions also launched Face Lift, a concept that aims to simplify the care and restoration of customers’ existing furniture. Face Lift was also embodied in the series “The Crown Jewels”, where Massproductions invited artists to recondition used Crown Armchairs. The purpose was to inspire customers to express their personality and show the possibilities of restoration.
Geneva-based artist Flora Mottini changed the look of the Crown’s surface, and it was clad in a soft foam material applied in a beautiful pleated form.
The French artist and designer Diego Faivre made two colourful and playful interpretations in his characteristic clay.
And the Swedish artist Åsa Stenerhag created two Crown Jewels from partially recycled textiles. For the first chair she was framing and strengthening the chair’s silhouette by putting a black ribbon along all the edges. The other chair was upholstered in a stretchy jersey fabric, creating more like an object, a sculpture.
Now, it’s 10 years since the factory owner where Crown is produced, picked up the backrest for assembly. Designer Chris Martin said, “it’s time to put the hat on”, to which he replied, “no, this is a crown”, and he placed the crown on the shoulders of the chair. Like a coronation, and it was then Chris instantly realised that they had found the right name for it.
THE BOUNDLESS PRODUCT
The Crown Armchair, designed by Chris Martin
The Crown Armchair, by Martin Runeborg.
The Furry Edition, by Andy Liffner.