Design Students Craft Historical Chairs for Charity

OGDEN, Utah – Interior design students at Weber State University are applying their knowledge and working hard to restore or create historically authentic chairs that will be auctioned for charity.

The “Charitable Chair” fundraiser includes approximately 30-handcrafted, one-of-a-kind chairs. The event is scheduled April 6 at Gallery 51 in Union Station, 2501 Wall Ave., Ogden, Utah. Visitors can preview the chairs from 6-6:45 p.m. with the auction scheduled for 7 p.m.

Money raised will go to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Weber-Davis as well as a new scholarship fund for interior design students.

As part of a final project, approximately 50 students were given the challenge of restoring a chair of historical significance or creating a new chair that reflected a significant historical style.

“The chair I created is a modern interpretation of the adjustable-back chair by designer William Morris,” said Michael Lever, interior design student. “I have always admired his adjustable-back chair. It was cutting edge for its time. No one had constructed anything like that before the mid-1800s.” 

Lever’s adaptation is upholstered in a reproduction of the famous “Acanthus Tapestry” also designed by William Morris in 1896.

“I will consider this a successful project 150 years from now if this chair lasts and functions as it should and as the Morris chair has done for 150 years,” Lever said. “Then I will have been successful.”

he chairs are the culmination of five interior design courses, including Historical Interiors, Architectural Detailing and American and Modern Interiors.

Various sponsors donated money and materials to help the students turn their concepts into reality. 

“North Davis Cabinet & Design did all the refinish work for my chair,” said Kristina Bruderer, a junior in interior design from Layton. “My chair was an interpretation of a Thomas Chippendale ladder-back chair that was crafted of mahogany. North Davis helped me select a finish to resemble mahogany and donated $350 in materials and craftsmanship, so that was really cool.” 

Interior design faculty refurbished two chairs in order to experience and exemplify the effort, management, networking and design skills required to craft a full-scale, historically authentic, heirloom-quality chair. 

“This has been a different kind of mentoring experience way beyond the classroom. We've had to learn to trust students more and help them fine-tune their aesthetic   discernment as well,” said Kristen Arnold, program coordinator and interior design instructor. “We have had to be very stern on quality and expectations because this is something that someone will purchase and treasure, and it goes far beyond a normal student project.” 

In addition to the auction, youth from the Boys & Girls clubs will create miniature, edible chairs for display the night of the event. 

The “Charitable Chair” auction and “Edible Chair” displays are in conjunction with Ogden’s First Friday Art Stroll. 

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Kristen Arnold, program coordinator and interior design instructor
801-626-7935 •

Michael Lever, interior design student
801-593-1935 •

Kristina Bruderer, interior design student
801-928-9461 •
Randee Jensen, office of Media Relations
801-626-7212 •