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Auto Designer Turns Eco Chairmaker

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eco-friendly industry

Born and educated in the UK, Jolyon Yates made a name for himself in what is possibly the most impersonal, least eco-friendly industry around.  Armed with a degree in Automotive Styling (yes, you can actually study that in school!) from the Royal College of Art in London, he began his career designing for the automotive and boat industry.  Yates was an instant superstar, becoming part of the team that developed the world’s first 100% virtual car design at Frankfurt firm Opel.  This led to a lucrative position in the style department of the uber-stylish Porsche company.

But all that time in the cold, impersonal world of mass production took its toll on Yates, who is, at heart, a nature lover.  So the designer headed back to Northumberland in the United Kingdom, where he developed the Ode line of chairs and stools.  Each eco-friendly piece is created entirely by hand, and takes an amazing two weeks to produce – which may be longer than it takes to produce an automobile.  Yates’s stools include the delicate sculpted Birch Leaf Stool, and the sturdier, sea-creature-inspired Stingray Stool, which is available in natural birch and ash, as well as a glossy, molded and painted resin.  Chairs include the curvy birch Ocean Rocker and Savannah Rocker – the latter of which looks like a wooden, rocking Panton chair.   And the piece de resistance?  The Coffee Chable, which is what it sounds like, a chair and table in one.

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