Clam Chair by architect Philip Arctander

The latest project to grace our studio has been a complete honour and a joy to work on. It was a rare piece too, the Clam Chair by architect Philip Arctander. Designed in 1944 and produced in the late 40’s, these easy chairs with beech rounded arms and legs were originally upholstered both seat and back in light fabrics fitted with buttons.  

Previously overlooked, the Clam Chair was often attributed to a different designer, but have since gained acclaim internationally at auction under the rightful designer’s name. You can see why we were so excited about working on it!


Uncovering the Clam Chair’s past

When it arrived it was clear the woodwork was in a poor state of repair, the legs had been painted and two of them were broken. The arms and legs were stripped back, the legs repaired and all the wood was waxed to bring it back to its original glory.

On stripping the chair we discovered two layers of fabric, the original was still in place, this was a floral designed hessian. It was very worn but it still felt such a shame to remove it. The second layer was a burgundy wool fabric, this too was very worn and suggests this may have been done in the 1950s or 60s as traditional upholstery tacks were used.

A new lease of life

Staying true to its roots, we approached the project using traditional methods, this involved sewing layers hessian to first created the correct seat shape, however we did move onto fibre instead of the original horsehair. We steered clear of foam entirely, and only used cotton and wool felt to build the seat.  The customer selected a woven fabric from Bute Fabrics’ range, which complemented the wood and classic chair design.   

The end result is a useable iconic chair that made both us and the customer’s Maxine & Pav in Salford very happy.