A closer look at The Greensboro Chair, one of five finalists in the 2021 GRAY Awards Furniture/Lighting Product Design category.
The Greensboro Chair
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.
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.
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
Check out the Quick List to see all of the 2021 GRAY Awards finalists!
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