With ‘Antimacassar III’ an old custom has been brought back to interior decorating! The new collection has been inspired by and made out of antimacassar; a crocheted doily which protected chairs from hair conditioner in bygone days.
Antimacassar makes a comeback in the work of Atelier Ruben van Megen. The custom of covering the back and armrests of a chair was introduced around 1900, around the same time when fashionable men started to groom their hair with a hair oil called Macassar. The custom was then revived when the substitute Brylcreem made its appearance around 1950. That hair oil too kept many crafts enthusiasts busy – numerous antimacassars were once again crocheted to protect the furniture against the newest hair conditioner on the block. Now Atelier Ruben van Megen breathes new life into the custom for a third time.
Protecting the furniture by covering it fascinates us. Covering a design with a disfiguring object to conserve it does not match the sense of justice of the designer, who sees aesthetics as the primary characteristic of an object. Once covered it is impossible to experience the original design, as intended by the designer.
In addition, Atelier Ruben van Megen wonders what conservation means. Could it be that our Western society is too focused on conservation? Does it makes you forget to enjoy life? And how damaging is it to take a risk if that risk brings about freedom?
We translated these thoughts into this chair, which has been fabricated with solid cast bronze. The frame, which remains exposed, is visibly affected by the ravages of time. The backrest on which the antimacassar is resting is completely intact. The casting mold of the chair has been made by using an old chair and an antimacassar. In the production process, the old materials were burnt away. The shape of the chairs is therefore fully recycled.
The original cotton doily was crocheted on request by a craftsman.
Chair ‘Antimacassar III’
Design: Ruben van Megen, 2018
Material: solid cast bronze, black patinated bronze combined with high-gloss polished bronze
Price upon request.