C O N F E S S I O N : We're chair-obsessed. So when Lauren Rapp started tagging her CHAIR365 project to the #aCreativeDC feed we were immediately into it; as soon as we found out she had committed to the practice as part of her life-routine – come home, make a chair from unexpected/found materials, photograph it, then go to bed – we had to be pulled down from ecstatic. We've mentioned this many (many) times along the line, but the work ethic in the city is bonkers, and love beyond description finding out what, exactly, people are doing with their time when they're not at work – more often than not they're investing efforts + energy into a side/passion project. We couldn't have been more thrilled to have discovered Lauren's.
Now 80 chairs into her year-long effort, the Missouri native has used materials ranging from mousetraps and postcards to discarded oatmeal boxes and thrifted toys, and is slowly amassing an arsenal of Dremels, superglues, and epoxies in her Capitol Hill home. We paid a visit last week to check out the chairs in person, and weren't disappointed in the archives (or by Lauren's amazingly decorated, art + light-filled apartment). We're excited to be a platform for the project:
"I LOVE my hood. I love it because it has my favorite bookstore in the city, Eastern Market weekends, insanely beautiful trees, old people, young families and Lincoln Park. It’s the neighborhood in DC that felt most akin to home.
YOUR CHAIRS! Why chairs? And where did the idea for the project come from? I have a deep affection for art, design and furniture specifically. I’ve always had an attraction to chairs and lighting. It’s something unexplainable, like any other kind of visceral attraction. It brings me feelings of joy, delight and connectedness. CHAIR365 is the non-project, project. An organic fluke. After meditating, I felt compelled to make the first chair, then the next day, the next and again. I was toying with the of how long to continue at the same time a friend said they thought I should do it for a year. I concluded it was meant to be. I’ve committed, and here we are, day 82 and counting.
What's your process for making them? The first process for the chairs is total loyalty and commitment. After that, it’s just details. It seems to come together. Sometimes I happen upon materials I never would have thought of, at the thrift store or on the street. Some of the materials I seek out specifically and I enjoy the transformation of those objects into a chair. The act of deconstructing objects is teaching me a great deal about how products are engineered...I’ve been struggling a bit with finding adhesives that work on plastics and also adhesives that will work on food. If anyone has any knowledge on that please enlighten me! I’m fascinated by the concept of transformation and it’s been a theme throughout all my work, even prior to the chairs. Some of my favorite chair materials have been the plastic dinosaur, a condom box, fresh flowers, an old found rolodex, the Morton’s salt rocker and a rat trap.
What do you do when you're not making chairs?Honing the urban bike commute, attempting to flirt with the man who owns Capital Hill Books, exploring DC with friends, [taking] meetings, graffiti hunting, thrifting, enviously eyeing other people’s dogs, disabling and re-enabling my OKC profile, perusing Instagram and checking out art (we are so lucky in DC to have free access to amazing works). Doing my best to be present in the moment and to notice the details.
And what happens when the year/CHAIR365 is up? I relish the idea of creating art full-time. I dream of designing furniture and am hoping to have the opportunity to create some of these small chairs into full-scale, fine art objects. Mostly, I’d love to be paid to imagine, dream and create.
follow Lauren: @laurenrapp