Spotlight: Phloem Studio
Contemporary Furniture Collaborations by Benjamin Klebba
Spotlight Work: Peninsula Chair
A collaboration with Matt Pierce
Although it didn't become mainstream until the rise of the British Empire during the 19th and 20th centuries, the simple break-away furniture known simply as campaign furniture has existed in some form since as early as the times of Julius Caesar (Who says you can't learn something new every day?). Prized for the ease in which each piece could be dismantled, loaded onto an available pack animal - horse, camel, or even elephant - and reassembled, ensuring an elevated level of comfort for high-ranking officials commanding the art of war from the trenches, the furnishings outfitting their nomadic lodgings were, first and foremost, simple in design, constructed to withstand constant wear and tear, and emphasized function and Officer comfort above all else. The fall of the British Empire and the introduction of the automobile at the turn of the 21st century eventually led to obsolescence of campaign furniture while the elements that led to its initial rise in popularity continue to inspire the collections of modern-day craftsmen.
It is in the collaborations between woodworker and Michigan native Benjamin Klebba and a regarded group of friends, co-occupants of Portland's Beam & Anchor Building, that these fundamental elements reappear, at once honoring the traditional methods of woodworkers past yet remaining confidently modern. With its foundation deeply rooted in past experiences, in the influences of friends and family, and Klebba's own professional journey (he found his starts in Chicago crafting luthier acoustic guitars), the catalog of works that define Phloem Studio remain the epitome of timeless, refusing to be defined by any one trend or fad. The ability to transcend popular styles and the ever changing tastes of the elevated consumer is becoming ever so rare in our disposable marketplace.
Maybe it is deep within this disposable mentality that Klebba and fellow collaborator Matt Pierce discovered the foundation for their campaign-inspired Peninsula Chair. Certainly, when it comes down to it, the Peninsula is a lounge chair, honest and un-apologetic in its display of raw functionality above all else. There is little use for ornament as far as Klebba's concerned; he's minimized the act of lounging to five components - two sides, two cross-braces, and a sling of thick, naturally finished leather. Even those materials which might be seen as being exuberant or ornamental find themselves re-purposed for more elementally functional purposes. The Peninsula incorporates brass among its domestically sourced hardwood frame but as a structural rod for the removable sling seat and back.
They say that you should never wage a battle you can't win. However, if the Peninsula Chair is part of the furnishings, you may not care whether it's win, lose or draw.
Corinne Gail Interior Design did not receive compensation for this post. All images copyright Corinne Gail Interior Design unless otherwise noted and may not be used without permission.