Egg chair with vintage textile cover
A second-hand dress gets first-class treatment as a dazzling cover.
Upholstery Journal | February 2010
by Kelly Frush
Extending the life cycle of clothes, furniture and fabrics drives the creativity of Hoda Baroudi and Maria Hibri, who own furniture design studio Bokja in Beirut, Lebanon.
For the two women, sustainability is essential to their process, just as the fibers are essential to the repurposed textiles they use in their work.
Baroudi and Hibri found both the Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair and the textiles at a second-hand market in Beirut. The team always uses parts of vintage embroidered dresses as the covers for their upholstered pieces. The particular dress used to cover part of this chair is more than 80 years old, and is the traditional style worn by women north of Syria, bordering Iraq. It is the traditional fashion in that area to fully embroider the bodice of the dress, and continue the pattern on the sleeves and skirt in a linear fashion.
Working with the embroidered dress and other textiles used at Bokja, they aimed to create a chair that resembles feminine couture apparel. The duo depended on color schemes to help guide the fabric placement on the chair. Using lace presented a challenge, as did the general rebuilding of the chair.
“Once that was achieved, there were other challenges to be faced,” says the team. “Mainly, to create the desired effect of a ‘dressed-up’ chair, as if it were a female structure going out for dinner, with all the frills.”
The old upholstery, a product of the 1950s, was faded, stained and damaged, and the legs of the chair were oxidized. Baroudi and Hibri removed the old cover and were able to salvage the wood frame. They used foam, staples and lining to build it back up, and the project took about a month to implement, from conception to completion.
“At times, we were doubtful of the finishing,” say Baroudi and Hibri, “but it has turned out to be one of our bestsellers.”