Change is everything. London accessories designer Ally Capellino agrees with us her in her gentle, idiosyncratic, useful, graceful, self-made, sturdy way. Not only has she created a small leather tray for the datums in Ace London guest rooms — useful for pens, leaves, pills, non-GMO seeds and, yes, change — but she also brings her signature design aesthetic to an iconic piece of furniture, the tubular stacking chair. Initially conceived by the Bauhaus group, they were the inspiration for many manufacturers in the interwar period in Britain. The PEL (Practical Equipment Limited) name quickly became synonymous with the product, and exploited the interest in modern shapes and design durability. These chairs have been the mainstay of schools, church halls and factories ever since.
Originally manufactured by Cox of Solihull, this set has been stripped back to their raw steel frames and taken in a new and inventive direction. Making inquiries into the way we position ourselves when seated, Ally and her team, which includes her son and daughter, made eight variations on the theme with seats that have been hand stitched and polished Italian bridle leather in her London studio before being branded with their name — ‘Left Leaning’ and ‘Cantilever’ for example.
Ally’s long-time collaborator Donald Christie created a short film examining the human use of accidental props in the style of 1957 Oscar-winning short A Chairy Tale. Meanwhile IRL, PEL chair enthusiast Rupert Blanchard has created installations of the chairs at Ally’s Shoreditch shop and at the junction of Portobello and Golborne Roads, up through the end of the London Design Festival this weekend.