Michael S. Smith’s Maze Chair for Baker

To look at a piece by designer Michael S. Smith is to find oneself entering a bit of a time warp. Indeed, Smith’s collection of beds, benches, chairs, and chests for manufacturer Baker each give the indelible impression of simultaneously being in the present and the past, as his work evokes “a balance between the classic, a sense of reductive restraint, and a dash of Hollywood glamour.” The collection has also been described as “European Tradition meets American Modernism”—a perfect descriptor for his iconic Maze Arm Chair.

Maze Chair. Designed by Michael S. Smith. Manufactured by Baker.

The Maze Arm Chair is Perfectly Tailored for a Fashionable Office

While the overt antecedent for Maze is the classic Chinese Chippendale Chair, under Smith’s watchful eye it becomes a versatile contemporary piece adaptable to multiple venues.

Maze Chair. Designed by Michael S. Smith. Manufactured by Baker.

The intricate design on Maze’s back is the showstopper of the piece, and I don’t think anyone would argue otherwise, yet the chair boasts several other features that reinforce the sense of old meets new, including the visual delights of nailhead trim, the textural feast of fine leather, and a vintage artisanal touch of compelling linear woodwork on the legs.

Maze Chair. Designed by Michael S. Smith. Manufactured by Baker.

The chair features a Cupid's Bow crest, an open fretwork back, and blind fretwork legs—features that might be construed as imparting a touch of the classical as well as the exotic, yet the intricate woodwork of the open back could be read interchangeably as an homage to  M.C. Escher or the door carving of a 13th century Romanesque church.

Maze is 25 1/4 inches wide x 27 inches deep x 40 inches high - and is somewhat similar to Baker's Sloane chair. Finish options include upholstered leather in Cuban or Ale.

About the Manufacturer: Baker began at the end of the nineteenth century when Dutch immigrant craftsman Siebe Baker partnered with Henry Cook to create a woodworking firm (then titled Cook & Baker) that created doors, window sashes, and blinds. By the 1920s, Hollis Baker changed the aesthetic of the company, seeking to create fashionable, collectable furniture; at this time, Baker designed pieces inspired by the Bauhaus and Art Deco styles. Since then, Baker has been known for their elegant collection of furniture, including desks, chairs, beds, benches, sideboards, dining tables, and more.

Posted March 16, 2012 by Joseph Starr

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