The Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver recently commissioned Stantec Architecture to oversee the development and execution of a major addition and renovation to Erickson’s beautiful structure at UBC. Stantec’s lead architect on this project, Noel Best, was asked to design a ‘signature’ chair to be used throughout the museum.
For centuries, the First Nations people of BC have created beautiful storage boxes made of kerfed or carved out cedar which is then steamed and bent to create seamless, waterproof corners and edges. These boxes were the original basis and inspiration for the MOA chair. The chairs are not made of cedar however but of laminated fir, the planar geometries have been softened into sinuous, gestural line to comfortably receive and support the body and, in turn, to reflect the contours of the female form.
During Best’s quest to create this modern yet deeply rooted chair, he came across a photograph by Norma Jean Roy in the Globe and Mail, of Hilary Swank in great form sprinting along the beach. The line of her forward calf gave him the curve that he desired for the front panel of the chair, creating a natural and comfortable stance for the chair.
Mr. Best was gracious enough to allow us an insiders look into the development of his chair, even bringing in a prototype to our showroom and sharing his design with us before and after completion. Though we do not retail this piece for it is only available from the MOA gift shop, Best’s passion for design transcended our own and his new chair design continues to intrigue us.
Old and new origins have gone into the delicate design of the MOA chair, a truly inspired and original piece.
Reminiscent of Mies van der Rohe’s legendary lounge chair, originally intended only for the Barcelona Pavilion; the museum has put the MOA chair into limited production for public consumption due to popularity. It is available in three finishes, natural fir, silver and dark brown. Only 99 chairs have been produced for this first edition and are individually signed, come with a certificate of authentication and a fitted cotton dust cover.