DOUG STUART, SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE, “MODERN DESIGNERS STILL CAN’T MAKE THE PERFECT CHAIR”, APRIL, 1986, PP.103- 105
Some chair-makers carry the quest for seating splendor to its logical extreme. Pedestrian matters such as sit-ability, portability, stack-ability and affordability are irrelevant – what’s important is a good throne. In a two-story loft in New York’s SoHo district, sculptor Christopher Sproat builds chairs that have been categorized as electromythic, although he prefers the term Gothic Futurism. In paint stained corduroys and sneakers, he shows me around his furniture filled loft as a flock of the zebra finches dart about overhead.
At the four corners of the space stand huge, black wooden chairs, each one of them eight feet tall, reminding me of sentries that stood guard in an Egyptian temple (photo opposite). Near the center of the loft is a set of chairs with diamond-shaped swiveling backs, a black monolithic chair whose back suggests a stylized cat and a long, gilded bench shaped like a dragon. The chairs nearest the walls are covered with drop cloths in deference to the finches.
Sproat says he is trying to fashion a culture parallel to our own, using furniture to flesh out the details. “I’ve always been moved by ancient African and Egyptian art and the art of the cultures that were complete, consistent esthetic entities,” he says. “A lot of things today evoke a compressed middle-class. There’s no nobility left. All we have now is nouveau riche. Chairs like mine evoke an empire. People who sit in his chairs he says “will look like little children or Lilliputians on someone else’s throne.”