Tom Butterfield

19 Chairs

19 Chairs built in 19 days delivered to 19 locations reworked by 19 creatives in the COVID-19 lockdown

Reacting to the damage of COVID-19, 19 Chairs is a celebration. In aid of Age UK and Resourcing Racial Justice, our 19 handmade chairs have journeyed thousands of miles to be reworked by leading artists and designers.

Lockdown. We were two fidgety creatives (and brothers) with limited bog roll and limitless news. Anything stable, sturdy and decisively NOT ‘unprecedented’ became our inspiration. To us, nothing seemed more predictable, or humble, than the chair.

As an ode to this gloriously common furniture piece, stage 1 of the project saw us design and build a unique chair a day over 19 days of lockdown. With most businesses shut, we couldn’t be fussy with materials. 27 millimetre square-section timber and 40 millimetre wood screws would do the job. We learnt two things: the bare essentials are all you need to create a unified collection… and our 27 times table.

And with that, stage 2 began. The chairs were shipped worldwide to 19 celebrated creatives who had volunteered to become their custodians. We asked them to ‘reinvent, reimagine or redesign your chair with an older person in mind.’ The brief was a nod to the outstanding work of Age UK, connecting our collaborators with those experiencing the isolating effects of the pandemic most deeply. On their behalf, the designers cut loose, then packaged their creations ready for return.

To see all 19 Chairs reunited and ripped from their packaging, come and join us at Protein Studios from the 22nd to the 25th of April at our exhibition. An online charity auction will run in parallel from the 1st to the 30th of April, where each customised chair will be sold. All profits will be split equally and donated to the heroes at Age UK and Resourcing Racial Justice.


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Project: 19 Chairs
Year: 2020 / 21
Location: London, UK
Category: Furniture, Art direction

Photography: Alecio Ferrari

Line Up

Harry Grundy
Max Siedentopf
Benjamin Edgar
James Shaw
Antony Williams
Wilfrid Wood
Isabel + Helen
Morag Myerscough
Brandon Carlton
Sabine Marcelis
Jean Jullien
Helmut Smits
Ashley Williams
Henry Gorse
Joe Lycett
Emma Brewin
Nicole McLaughlin
Tom Dixon
Es Devlin


It’s Nice That (May)
Dezeen (June)
ICON (June)
Design Milk (June)
House & Garden Magazine (Oct)
It’s Nice That (Oct)
Dezeen (Jan)
Baunetz ID (Jan)
Isola Design District (Jan)
Design Wanted (Feb)

+44 (0) 7913 541 480