Product Spotlight: Karoo Chair

The Karoo Chair by Curious Room is a felt and fabric ode to the natural beauty of the South African landscape.

A battered old rattan Papasan chair gets a crafty makeover courtesy of Curious Room, a creative collaboration between Peta Becker of Projekt and Heartworks' Margaret Woermann. 

The collaboration, established in 2011, was born out of a shared need for a more experimental outlet to create one-off design pieces for pleasure, without the demands of craft production for large orders.

"It is not so financially driven, it is about making things that one imagines and dreams about," says Woermann.

"There is an element of play; it is like a mental lab space," Becker reiterates. "We can do whatever we want because there are no restrictions."

Working in a more exploratory and flexible way, the pieces develop through lots of dialogue between the two collaborators.

The Karoo Chair, combining a variety of skills including crochet work, embroidery, hand stitching and felting, can be read as a landscape.

The contours of the geography are captured in an embroidered linen and cotton cushion while a tiny cactus sprouts from a chunky crocheted cushion, echoing the layered colours of the rich Karoo soil.

The frame of the chair is partly covered in copper wire, recalling the mineral wealth of the area, while the flora of the region is represented in bulbous fabric succulents.

A centerpiece in the landscape is an Oryx skull, modeled on the skull of a horse and sewn from handmade felt.  

But more than just an imaginative makeover the chair is also a subtle statement against the threat of fracking in the Karoo.

Woermann and Becker hope that their Curious Room pieces help to shift the perception of what South African craft and handmade items can be.