Treasured: Emily Forgot on her favourite object

A pair of Perriand chairs are a source of pride for the British designer and artist

emily forgot
Justin Sutcliffe

I’ve always looked to historical mentors. I tend to gravitate more towards female designers – these strong women that broke into a field that was so male dominated.

Twelve years ago, I spotted two of Charlotte Perriand’s ‘Les Arcs’ chairs on a vintage furniture shop’s website at a pretty good price and had a bit of an ‘ooh!’ moment. I rang up to reserve them straight away. The Tube was packed on my journey home from the store, so I ended up sitting on them all the way from west to east London. It’s quite funny to think about that now.

They have a simple metal frame with a tan seat, and heavy silver rivets. I’d call it a soft industrial feel, as the patina of the leather gives them a textural quality. There’s something about buying furniture that feels like a step towards being a grown-up, and the chairs were the first pieces of design I’d bought that had any kind of provenance. It felt like such an achievement.

For a long time, I wouldn’t sit on them. But, although I often admire furniture in the same way I might a piece of art, it seemed a shame not to use something the way that it was designed to be used. They’ve been with me in the different flats I’ve rented and now they sit at my dining room table, opposite two other chairs.

I love the style of them, but also love what they represent. There’s been a lot more interest in Charlotte Perriand in the past few years, and the chairs have definitely gone up in value since I bought them. But it doesn’t matter to me – I’m not selling.

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