Don’s Modernist Mexican Butaque Chair interpretation

2 Comments

continued from part # 5

As described in my previous post series about the Mexican Butaque, we have seen several samples and interpretations of these emblematic chairs coming from different regions and designers in Mexico. Considering all the information and research data that I have gathered in the past years, it is without a doubt that William Spratling is the true Father of the Mexican 20th Century Butaque chair rebirth, not Clara Porset, as many have tried to argue. Clara Porset as well as many other designers from that same period of time basically followed Spratling. Using his designs as an “inspiration” or just plagiarized and mass-reproduced the chair in cheaper woods with minimal changes.

When Don S. Shoemaker arrived to Mexico this small charming chair also called his attention, but our master had his own ideas… He envisioned the Butaque chair from a modernist point of view: the design had to be organic and it had to be made with dark and heavy tropical woods. On this basis, instead of using the typical arch that conform the legs of a butaque chair, he presented us with a beautiful organic composition of his chair legs. Moreover, he gave the flair of a sling chair using softer black leather instead of the traditional “vaqueta” leather that his predecessors had been employing. And of course, he did not attach it to the lateral body of the chair, and instead of using the round head rivets for this purpose on the top and low rail he developed a system that today is his trademark of fixing the leather to the hardwood: his iconic leather “sunflowers”.

Bronze rivet (19th Century) and Don’s leather rivet (1960’s)

The Sling “Sloucher” Chair was one of Don’s very first chair projects. The result: a very unique interpretation of a modernist Mexican Butaque! By 1960 he introduced the chair as we know it today:

Sling "Sloucher" Chair by Don S. Shoemaker (1960's)

The Sling “Sloucher” Chair is Don’s flagship, these chairs were an essential part of his SEÑAL, S.A. furniture catalog together with the Sling “Swinger” Chair and the Sling “Suspension” Stool.

Sling Casuals Catalog page (1960’s)

As we have seen, the exotic Mexican Butaque Chair has a long history in furniture design; Don’s modernist Butaque was the last evolution of this graceful chair, no other designer in Mexico has succeeded in the attempt to create a new form for the last 50 years.

Copyright © 2010 – 2017 Karin Goyer. All Rights Reserved.

@donshoemaker.com

The unique Sling Swinger Chair

No Comments

I received several requests from my readers to write about Don´s famous Sling Swinger chair, so here it is:

The “Sling Casuals” furniture collection together with the “Elephant Lounge Set” limited edition (which I already described in a separate post) from the 1960’s are Don S. Shoemaker´s most accomplished organic design achievements. Although, the output of the “Sling  Line” lasted during three decades, the “Elephant Lounge” remained an exclusive special edition of only 5 sets. The Sling “Swinger” chair and the Sling “Sloucher” chair are well known to collectors and galleries.

The Sling Swinger chair is of timeless elegance, the perfect integration of form, function and exotic woods. The production of these harmoniously sculpted chairs in solid tropical woods was only possible thanks to the highly sophisticated manufacturing equipment and special tools that Don had at his workshop. Shoemaker´s favorite tropical woods used for the production of these attractive swinging chairs were granadilla, cueramo and cocobolo, combined with black or brown leather upholstery. Besides the wide arms model a second version was available with narrow arms, an alternative for smaller living spaces. Below a  Sling Swinger chair from my personal collection in heavy solid cocobolo tropical wood:

Another unique feature about Don´s furniture designs as I have already noted before is that he excelled in developing systems for link and joint, he tried to avoid no matter what the use of screws and nails in his work. These chairs are assembled to perfection, easily dismountable for an uncomplicated transport to any place in the world. A different Sling Swinger chair from my private collection is shown here, this time in solid granadilla tropical wood:

And finally, here is a picture of one of my Sling Swinger chairs with its matching ottoman with black leather upholstery. The classic combination. Both pieces bear the Don S. Shoemaker decal studio label.

 

Copyright © 2010 – 2017 Karin Goyer. All Rights Reserved.

@donshoemaker.com

SLING CASUALS – The Sling “sloucher” chair

No Comments

Don´s organic designs were unmatchable by any other furniture designer of his time. When I refer to his organic designs, I am talking about that marvelous wood prototype I had the opportunity to see, sit and enjoy, which was the base of what we know as the SLING “sloucher chair, made in some sort of bone shape disposition.

The “Sling Casuals” line is one of Don´s most classical and successful design lines from the 1960’s. The SEÑAL, S.A. catalogue page above describes the stylish Sling “sloucher” chairs which were produced only in selected tropical woods (zebrawood, cocobolo, granadilla and other local rosewood variants like cueramo), all made with black or brown leather upholstery. The SEÑAL, S.A. shop in Santa Maria de Guido also had a collection of other available leather samples and colors for you to choose from: gray, different shades of brown, beige, etc. to match the Sling “sloucher” chairs to your home décor or personal favorite colors.

Below some Sling “sloucher” chairs from my private collection:

Copyright © 2010 – 2017 Karin Goyer. All Rights Reserved

@donshoemaker.com