The result of an extended collaboration between Benjamin Hubert’s UK-based design agency Layer and Christopher Raeburn’s fashion studio Raeburn is the exploration of recycled parachute material into an exciting innovation of form and materiality in furniture with visual impact, functionality and sustainability.
Bridging the gap between industrial design and fashion, the Canopy Collection comprises four rocking chairs and two screens that can be used in both commercial and domestic settings. Both studios looked at Raeburn’s archives to see how the brand had previously repurposed surplus parachutes to create fashion pieces. This idea was then extended to furniture design. Simple, modernist steel frames manufactured by British furniture manufacturer Allermuir provide a blank canvas for the parachute material of the Canopy Collection.
To create padding, webbing and cover solutions with simple fixation points, the fabric is wrapped, slung and hung within and around the framework. The designers focused specifically on using surplus ex-military parachutes and aircraft brake parachutes, made from ultra-thin ripstop nylon material, and worked with one of the head seamstress at Raeburn to create the finished products.
Although the rocking chairs have the same framework, each piece highlights a different quality of parachute material — from a highly controlled and simple expression to a raw, sculptural form. The expression of the parachute material is reflected through the construction of the steel frame in a minimal format where the frame is polished and finely finished, while in the most expressive format, the welded joins are left unfinished and the steel remains in a raw state that showcases the production process.
The parachute’s structure and stitch line formed on the screens explore the material’s translucency, and produces a graphic colour blocked design that plays with light. These statement pieces are designed for use in a variety of settings, including domestic, retail and hospitality.
Image credits: Layer X Raeburn