Under the spotlight: assembling the Karla armchair.
The machine pops, cracks, and whooshes with the release of a pressure valve. Gui Xiang is stood beside it, putting holes into solid oak pieces that have been cut into shape for the Karla armchair’s frame.
Somewhere between a hole puncher and a drill, the machine makes round and oblong holes, for an armchair that’s been designed to use as few nails and joists as physically possible.
One of the defining characteristics of the Karla armchair is its slatted frame. Joins are crafted out of either side of every slat on a sophisticated machine that can be programmed to cut any type of join. Due to air pressure, it makes a sound like a piston causing us to jump.
The frame is fitted together by fastening the joins of the slats into the holes in the arms and the legs. This could be enough to hold the chair in place but the artisans prefer to make sure the design is airtight. Two joists, water-based glue, and just a few nails are used to hold it in place. Once the sides and the slats are fastened together, a metal clamp holds them in place until the glue has dried.
As one artisan joins the last piece together, the other shoots nails strategically into the frame using a nail gun. A man and a woman, they work as a pair and we can’t help noticing how smooth their operation is. When we tell them so, they smile at us – they’re married.
Take a closer look at our Karla armchair collection