South African designer Katie Thompson is a woman after my own heart. I was taken with her the moment I read her website’s anonymous epigram: “It is more comfortable to be mad and know it than to be sane and have one’s doubts.” She may have a screw loose—if that’s what we’re to take from this quotation—but the condition works for her. Thompson began her furniture, interior design, and consulting firm Recreate after graduating from Design Time School of Interior Design in Cape Town.
Suitcase Chair. Designed by Katie Thompson.
Creator of Extra Ordinary Recycled Furniture, Thompson admits she’s a “hoarder of all things useless, impractical, broken, colourful and shiny” (which is more than I can say for my mother-in-law, who has the same condition without acknowledging it—how many jars of buttons does one actually need?). Thankfully, Thompson’s designs takes the old in a new direction, showing “tell tale signs of her Dadaist leanings.”
An old suitcase stirs up the wanderlust in all of us and retains a nostalgic power as if it were a talisman—hence, its prominence in recent designs of note (see A Pile of Suitcases). Recently featured in the December 2009 issue of House & Leisure, Recreate’s Suitcase Chair stuffs a classic tufted chair inside a beaten up old Samsonite shell. Upholstered in 100% white linen, Suitcase Chair sits on whitewashed timber turned legs. If you have doubts about its sturdiness, cast away your fears: the internal structure is reinforced steel. The piece indeed brings together “South African craftsmanship with high end finishes and her own eclectic perfectionist flair.” I have the perfect candidate for Thompson’s Suitcase Chair: a friend of mine who is haunted by a recurring dream in which she lives in a cult where everyone sleeps in suitcases.