About the Chair

Brendan Lawless in his Workshop

Brendan Lawless is an Irish furniture maker with over 30 years’ experience in wood working and design. He has worked in a variety of environments within his trade including high-end cosmetic display cabinets, one off commissions and bespoke pieces for the private market. He lives and works in his native County Wicklow.

“What first attracted me to the Irish Boat Builders Chair was its simple and unique design which instantly caught my eye. I immediately wanted to give the design a new lease of life. This involved honing my skills as a furniture maker and learning the art of steam bending, a traditional technique used by boat builders.”

The distinctive feature of traditional Irish furniture and design lies in its beginnings, that is, in the function of each piece. The charm of the settlebed or the three-legged stool is the fact that the design hasn’t changed or become stylised like many pieces from other cultures. The boat builder’s chair follows this tradition of simplicity and functionality. Its source sprung from the use of existing and available techniques and materials; native timbers like oak, elm and ash feature strongly in Irish pieces. 

The legs are turned by hand on a lathe. I built a steam box to bend the ribs of the chair. Not wanting to deviate too much form the original mood of the chair – it was a deep red colour – I experimented with different colours and shades to bring a unique and authentic collection so customers today can gift, mark or celebrate the many key occasions in our lives with these chairs that are steeped in history.