Journal

The Frank Chair and Table

After almost three years in the making, we’re very proud to be unveiling Goodfield, along with the first of our furniture families—Frank.

The fisherman’s chair or country chair is etched into European consciousness and for many of us, represents the quintessential chair form. For generations, it has been almost default seating across the Mediterranean and today, the chair’s profile remains immediately familiar through our repeated encounters with it—whether that’s on travel, in artwork or as an archetype in the various designs it’s inspired.

The Frank chair is a modern English take on this timeless format. Frank attempts to bring together our common chairmaking traditions and update them in a simple, humane form.

“Frank emerged from a search for the classic chair style and one that represented a shared tradition. The country chair or fisherman’s chair appears across Europe and has come to represent a simpler way of life and a practical, person-focused approach to design. With Frank, I’ve attempted to distill these same ideas into an engaging up-to-date version which stays true to the traditions and still feels somehow uniquely English.”

Frank’s principal components are all simple cylinders, softened with domed tops and feet. The stretchers under the seat are gently tapered and light. The focus is on a single bend on the rear leg and the careful balancing of all elements in concert.

“With such a simple style, it’s a single feature and the smaller details which give Frank its unique identity. The pivot on the rear leg was there from the first sketch and felt like the axis around which all other aspects of the design should be held in tension. It gives the chair its poise, like the hind legs of an animal and this slight suspense elevates Frank into something more dynamic and engaging.”

Part of the reason for the relative demise in the fisherman chair’s popularity is undoubtedly the cost of finishing it with a proper rush seat. Many of today’s ‘rustic’-style chairs come with a poor quality, hurriedly woven substitute, usually manufactured in South-East Asia and 'dropped-in' at a later stage. Frank’s seat is hand-woven around the chair frame as it should be and made with high quality rush harvested from English rivers.

The result, we hope, is a contemporary fisherman’s chair that delivers continuity without feeling tired and simplicity without being too blunt.

The Frank Table grew from this same desire to distill in a design something archetypal. There's a robust and straightforward structure but real care has been taken to ensure harmony between the limited ingredients involved. The legs again are softened cylinders and the table-top features a gentle, broken profile. There’s a brief overhang at the table's edge with broad, deep side bars for increased stability.

“With the Frank Table, as with the Frank Chair, the aim was to create something that was simultaneously humble and somehow special-feeling. The classic square table seemed the ideal starting point and the emphasis from the beginning was on careful articulation within familiar parameters, rather than a more wholesale reassessment of table structure. I wanted to leave plenty of room for the timber to make a statement of its own, the subtlety of the beech grain in particular, favours a simple, uninterrupted surface.”

Available initially in two sizes, Frank Square and Frank Mid, the Frank table is perfect for spaces which require an unpretentious modern English style. The table launched in a two-tone, pink and white beech combination, 'strawberries and cream'. It is also available in white beech, natural ash and several stained oaks.

The Frank Chair and tables are available to buy now.

(Photo: Frank Guttfield, a fisherman, 1939-2015)