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Object Timeline

1999

  • Work on this object began.

2009

  • We acquired this object.

  • We exhibited this object.

2012

2019

  • You found it!

Bless You Chair, 1999

This is a Chair. It was designed by Louise Campbell and made by Louise Campbell.

This object is not part of the Cooper Hewitt's permanent collection. It was able to spend time at the museum on loan from Koppe Gallery as part of Fashioning Felt.

It is dated 1999 and we acquired it in 2009. Its medium is wool felt, gelatin. It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

The Bless You chair is a one-off production designed by Louise Campbell that combines technical felt making and an understanding of structure with a personal approach to form. The form, inspired by a crumpled handkerchief, is achieved by suspending a single sheet of gelatin-soaked felt from a carefully plotted group of strings.
Describing her design inspiration, Campbell says, “My cold fingers take out the fine pocket handkerchief. I manage to give the newly ironed square an admiring glance before putting it to work on my November sneeze. Now crumpled, it is returned to my overcoat pocket with a brand new texture. Three sniffly months later I have fumbled my way to this easy chair.”
The chair’s shape suggests both the source of its inspiration as well as its intended function, the latter dependent on a firmness imparted by the compressed dried gelatin. The cut-outs add a playful and visual lightness while keeping the weight of the arms from becoming a structural liability. This design and its use of cut felt served as a prototype for Campbell’s Prince chair, designed in 2001 for an invitational competition for the Crown Prince of Denmark. The Prince chair incorporates cut-outs and felt but relies on water-jet cutting and lamination to a rubber substrate for its production.
Campbell, the daughter of a Danish father and an English mother, was raised and educated in both countries. After receiving her degree from the London College of Furniture in 1992, she returned to Denmark to further her studies in industrial design at the Danish Design School, graduating in 1995. In 1996, she set up her own studio, focusing on furniture and lighting design with increasing involvement in other product and interior design projects.
The Bless You chair represents a creative and innovative use of felt, an important medium within the museum’s textiles collection. The chair also enhances the collection’s focus on prototypes—in this case, as a finished unique chair that stands not only as an important design object in its own right but also as a key component in the chronology of this innovative designer.

This object was donated by Louise Campbell. It is credited Gift of Louise Campbell.

This object has not been digitized yet.

Our curators have highlighted 2 objects that are related to this one.

Its dimensions are

75 H x 85 W x 100 cm D (29 1/2 x 33 7/16 x 39 3/8 in.) confirmed

Cite this object as

Bless You Chair, 1999; Designed by Louise Campbell (Danish, b. 1970); Denmark; wool felt, gelatin; 75 H x 85 W x 100 cm D (29 1/2 x 33 7/16 x 39 3/8 in.) confirmed; Gift of Louise Campbell; 2009-22-1

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Fashioning Felt.

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18714235/ |title=Bless You Chair, 1999 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=23 September 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>