The Downing Chair is one of our most traditional chairs, featuring Art Deco styling straight out of the 1920s and ’30s.
traditional design, modern format
We use original casting methods to recreate traditonal designs
First designed for the Stockport Plaza, the Downing Chair aims to replicate the art-deco style of the 1920s. We use original casting methods to recreate traditional designs in a modern format; including greater comfort and height specifications.
Downing has featured some of our most striking fabric patterns. Unlike other manufacturers, Kirwin & Simpson have the ability to create truly customised fabric patterns to fit any era.
During the Stockport Plaza project, our client asked us to produce a chair that replicates the original seats depicted in an old black-and-white photograph. We studied the photograph, focusing resizing the smaller cast standards of the original seats, while upgrading the traditional design to meet modern comfort.
Looking through our reserve of old seat parts in our warehouse, luckily, we found an original cast iron standard virtually identical to the one in the photo. From this we produced a virtual CAD model to extend the seat height and back angle.
Then we used our in-house 3D printer to scale a version for the pattern makers to create a casting box for the multiple variations of back angles and floor rakes that we were able to produce from the remastered cast iron standard. Once all casting boxes were manufactured, the standards were all cast in The Black Country, England, using centuries-old methods.
What makes a downing
case example: the apollo victoria
using innovation to remaster
Opened in 1930 as a cinema and variety theatre, the Apollo Victoria quickly became an established venue for musical theatre.
To celebrate Wicked’s 10th year at the Apollo Victoria Theatre in London, the venue undertook a major refurbishment. This included brand new chairs in the Stalls and Dress Circle designed to replicate the theatre’s original chairs from the 1930’s but designed to live up to today’s expectations of comfort and safety.
Kirwin & Simpson were able to replace all 2,300 chairs over 12 consecutive weekends as the theatre remained open and with no disruption to any performances.
We recreated the original cast iron metalwork through a lengthy process involving our in-house 3D printer; as well as traditional pattern-making and cutting edge drawing packages used to remaster this design from the original standard. The seat foam was upgraded to the latest in comfort technology (ProBax), promoting durability and supporting patron posture for less fidgeting and longer concentration.
The Moquette fabric was specially designed to replicate the original. The pattern and colours were created from newspaper articles and text from the 1920’s. The fabric is specially woven to our client’s exact pattern choice and colour, allowing for a completely unique touch to the chair design. Upon installing the chairs, a section of carpet needed to be removed from the side of a fire exit, revealing a piece of the original chair fabric that was near-identical to the new.
Everyone involved in the project was incredibly pleased that we were able to achieve this level of detail and overall design that compliments such an iconic theatre.