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Tom Oliphant

The speculative industrial designer Tom Oliphant is intrigued by new materials and processes, but his efforts are aimed more towards the market for custom- or limited-edition furnishings. His indoor/outdoor double rocking chair, its seats facing each other yin-yang fashion, is a brave and complex design. He describes it as “a balanced configuration that allows two individuals to rock as naturally as one. . . [as] ribbed seats flex under the sit-bones. . . [and] feet rest comfortably off the ground on pegs.” A graduate of Cranbrook Academy’s program in industrial design, Oliphant likes combining stylish classic materials with new ones that have a certain cachet. Here, the up-to-the-minute materials of bulletproof Kevlar (for the chair backs) and lightweight titanium (for the frame) are combined with the classic nautical stuff of teak, used for the seats, which are made something like the duckboards in the galleys of fine wooden boats.

— From Glenn Gordon's essay, Sculpture Designed to be Used.

  • Tom Oliphant, Double Rocking Chair
    Double Rocking Chair, 1999. Bead-blasted titanium frame; carbon-fiber/polycarbonate shells; seats, arms, rockers, and footpegs of teak. 33" H x 48" W x 48" D.