Making the Reader

Making the Reader

Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch find a new reality in old forms.

The letter “X” may not get a lot of play in the study of linguistics, but it has immense value in the study of mathematics, anatomy or structural engineering. Known for its strength in our oblique muscles that run in a diagonal fashion, criss-crossing each other while connecting the rib cage and pelvis to provide further support to our trunk.In structures, cross-bracing using diagonal supports is a technique used to reinforce buildings and maximize weight-bearing.

When it comes to the Roman and Williams Guild Original Furniture Designs, “X” is the foundation of the Axis Collection, of which the Reader Chair came first. Embracing primitive modernism and honoring archetypal form in the rubric of the sling chair, Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch have designed and prototyped their Reader Chair, refining and perfecting it over the years. Emphasizing the use of material and form the thin lines of sturdy Pergamena saddle leather is used structurally as well as for comfort with a back cushion and plays against the robust wood. The hardwood exhibits expert joinery and support. Chamfered edges and characteristic hooved legsadd elevated distinction.

Noted by the New York Times for its “Laser-like attention to details,” attachments are cherished with chunky custom-designed hardware, waxed to slow oxidation. A historical square nut with quilted edges and a built-in washer for the cross-sections of the notched legs and stretcher and distinguished screws meet the back of the chair. Living finishes highlight the quality, beauty and endurance of the materials and design, defining luxury as being meant to last.

The integrity and character of Standefer and Alesch’s original designs are part of a continuum of vernacular design, from the heart. “We’ve been devoted to objects our whole lives: the feeling of objects, the assembly of objects, the curation of the object.The scale and the focus are so acute in making objects.” Together, they’ve undertaken the responsibility of a living heritage with a collection of designs that are cogent and refined, raw and varied resulting in valuable heirlooms that only get better with use and time – the impetus for the Guild.

Make the Reader Chair yours with a curated selection of signature and distinctive finishes. Made-to-order in the United States.



Images of American Living: Four Centuries of Architecture and Furniture as Cultural Expression by Alan Gowans

American Vernacular Buildings and Interiors 1870 – 1960 by Herbert Gottfried and JanJennings

A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction by Christopher Alexander…


TEXT BY Nicole Nelch


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