We first met designer and woodworker Jason Lewis in 2007 at the Guerrilla Truck Show in Chicago. Coinciding with Neocon, the show has become an annual event where local designers, artists and craftspeople exhibit their work within a small moving truck—which purposely line up with the elevated sidewalks of the Fulton Market district.
Jason’s skills as a designer and craftsman were evident in the furniture pieces he showed—including the original wood version of the fleet chair which has been in his portfolio since about 2001. At the time we were without a qualified source to mass produce the chair in the quantities we needed, so while we weren’t able to work with Jason immediately, we knew a good thing when we saw it so we kept it in mind and kept his business card handy.
In 2009, when the opportunity presented itself to mass produce the wood version, we revisited Jason’s workshop—blocks from our new offices—to see which of his designs would be best to pursue. Soon after the idea sparked to reconsider all metal fleet chairs.
Originally inspired by his idea to mirror the elegantly curved back within the seat, the design was easy to envision in metal—including second and third versions in yellow and orange powder-coated metal.
And while the wood version is hand-crafted with mortise and tenon joinery, production of the metal version—as shown below—requires an almost equal amount of hands-on time and level of expertise.