Windsor Chair reimagined by Norman Kelley

The Windsor chair is an iconic classic, instantly recognizable for its saddle-shaped seat and pole-lathed, round-tenoned construction. But these versions, even the milder ones, seem a little… off. That’s because designer Norman Kelley deconstructed the chair’s traditional elements to create odd new shapes.

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Windsor Chairs Norman Kelley Wrong duo

Each of the seven ‘Wrong Chairs’ still evoke the original but with innovative and sometimes strange configurations. Some seem to have been cut apart and re-assembled backwards or upside-down, with pieces of the chair backs adding to the leg height instead, or uncapped poles rising from the seat like spikes.

Windsor Chairs Norman Kelley remixed

Others have new elements added, like an additional chair seat that serves as an ergonomic desktop. The designs are asymmetrical, sometimes looking like someone attempted to assemble them without instructions or any idea of what the chair was supposed to look like.

Windsor Chairs Norman Kelley grooves

But all seven designs are actually functional, offering a comfortable place to sit that’s more visually interesting than the average chair.

Windsor Chairs Norman Kelley detail

More from the designer

Adapted from expert craftsman Dr. John Kassay’s drawings of 18th- and 19th- century Windsor chairs, the collection purposefully disrupts the notion of “correctness.”  At first glance, these are Windsors; they blend into the images we hold of domestic places we may have encountered at some point or another, but, at second glance, they’re more unreasonable.  The Wrong Chairs comment on the ability for an object to be, at once, wrong and right. While deviating from the original design and appearing broken or unbalanced, the chairs are structurally sound.  The seven chairs push the visuality of illusions beyond basic trompe l’oeil styling and toward a projective form of vision, or cunning sight that embraces visual error as both intuition and method.”

Windsor Chairs Norman Kelley collection

About Norman Kelley

“Norman Kelley was founded in 2012 by Thomas Kelley and Carrie Norman, AIA. We work in the fields of residential architecture, commercial interiors, furniture design, exhibition design, and design criticism. Our process is collaborative, sensitive to place, and irreverent to tradition. We practice architecture in Chicago and New Orleans and are licensed in Illinois, Louisiana, New York, and Texas.”