If you search “Director’s Chair” in Google, you get over 200 million results. These results vary from Amazon to Crate & Barrel, and these chairs conjure images of movie sets, megaphones, and slates. But none of them compare to the original chair, done by none other than Gold Medal Chairs. The California-based chair maker has been crafting their signature Director’s Chair for 130 years…130 YEARS. Only the best of the best survive that long, those are Ford, Coca-Cola, and Chase numbers. Gold Medal Chairs’ Director Chair finds its way out of the cinematic role it’s synonymous with, as the brand is looking to branch out into a more of lifestyle setting. Their latest effort is their recent DropX, in collaboration with prolific streetwear brands Bricks & Wood and Pleasures. As the chairs launch on StockX, Gold Medal Chairs sat down with us to introduce their brand to our community. Be on the lookout for their DropX collection and read up on Gold Medal Chairs below.
1. What influences Gold Medal Chairs?
We created the original director’s chair design over 130 years ago. That’s a pretty tall standard to live up to, you know? I think the thing that really drives us today is the desire to preserve that old-world craftsmanship and timeless design while embracing modern technologies and consumer trends. It’s not the easiest thing to accomplish, but the end result is so worth it. So, while the basic design of the Gold Medal Director’s Chair has remained unchanged over time, we are always looking at things like trending colors to incorporate into our canvas sets; alternative uses for our designs that others have thought up; or ways to upcycle or repurpose our products to help solve bigger issues. Our design influence may be rooted in another time period, but our business model is influenced by questions like “What’s next?” and “How can we help create the change we want to see?”.
2. What do you find to be most overrated?
Uniformity. Indeed, we wouldn’t be a successful manufacturer if our products weren’t congruent from one batch to the next. However, identical is kind of boring, isn’t it? That’s why wood is so fascinating. Every piece has its own idiosyncrasies, its own nuances, its own personality if you will. And each time those individual pieces are assembled together to create a Gold Medal Director’s Chair, those individual personalities coalesce into something further unique. Though similar in appearance, each chair we make has a style all its own. And we think that’s pretty cool.
3. What do you find to be most underrated?
Maybe underrated isn’t the right word. Misinterpreted? Misconceived? I’m not sure what the perfect word is for it, but a common misconception with manufacturing is that the product you just bought was made in some austere, lifeless, nondescript building by a bunch of robots with no real interest in what the end result of their labor will be. And maybe that is exactly how it is at some places, but not at Gold Medal Chairs. Our facility is a vibrant, dynamic workplace full of people who genuinely care about what they are making and shipping to you. We have no assembly line. When it comes to our custom, bespoke director’s chairs, it’s likely that no more than a handful of people will sculpt that single chair from initial assembly through the decoration process and into a shipping carton. It will restore your faith in humanity to watch a craftsman step back from their work, smiling contentedly at something they just created for a total stranger. It might be more expensive to do it this way, but we feel it’s the right way.
4. What are you most excited about, right now?
The director’s chair is finally being recognized for not just what it was, but what it can become: a staple of modern furniture. Gone are the days when these chairs were regarded as utilitarian, means-to-an-end methods of sitting down. Gold Medal Director’s Chairs is excited to help usher in a new era of furniture design that will fuse form and function in ways our founders never could have envisioned.
5. What’s next for Gold Medal Chairs?
Of course, you’ve got to keep moving forward. Like many, the pandemic has forced us to take a good, hard look at where we are and where we want to be. We want to continue to diversify our offerings, innovate within our current realms, and continue perfecting our craft when it comes to Gold Medal Director’s Chairs. We have a think tank of really smart and creative members on our team who are always asking the “what ifs” and chasing down ideas about where we can go next.