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Spotlight: The Greensboro Chair, 2021 GRAY Awards Finalist

A closer look at The Greensboro Chair, one of five finalists in the 2021 GRAY Awards Furniture/Lighting Product Design category.

The Greensboro Chair

Cedric Hudson - Contemporary Athletics | Ben Boutros - Bennu

Wooden chair with fabric accents in a dark finish

On February 1st, 1960, one of the most historic civil rights sit-ins was led by four courageous Black freshmen attending North Carolina A&T in Greensboro, North Carolina. Sitting down at the Woolworth lunch counter, the four freshmen were denied service due to ongoing racial disparities. Refusing to give up their chairs, they watched as their movement spread beyond Greensboro and they became the faces of civil rights history.

Close up of Wooden chair with fabric accents in a dark finish

The Greensboro Chair pays homage to those historic Greensboro sit-ins which lasted through July 25th, 1960. It represents the men and women who, by choosing to sit down, stood up for so much. Designers Cedric Hudson and Ben Boutros crafted the chair from bold Peruvian Walnut using a series of interlocking joinery techniques, while paying attention to both contemporary and midcentury design elements.

Though based on a complex history, this chair was developed with simplicity in mind. All components were cut from a single sheet of wood and ran through a CNC machine before being laminated and assembled with interlocking techniques. Taking furniture design beyond its primary use while giving more meaning to the materials used, allowed the designers an opportunity to create a visually beautiful piece that truly preservers Black history through design.

Disassembled wooden pieces of The Greensboro Chair


Design Team:

Cedric Hudson & Ben Boutros


Photography: Jesse Rowell Jr

Graphic Design: Danielle McCoy

CNC milling: The Good Mod

Date of Completion: July 2021


Additional Product Design, Furniture/Lighting, Commercial finalists:

Exo Dining Table

IGT Wall Sconce

KIDA Hanging Lounge Chair

Teig Lamp

Check out the Quick List to see all of the 2021 GRAY Awards finalists!


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