Rethinking Restaurant Furniture With the Harper Collection

by Andrea Reynolds

Picture a fast-food restaurant chair. Odds are, you’re thinking of something durable and something unsophisticated. “Meticulously designed” is a description likely to be left out.

For our fourth collaboration with minimalist industrial designer, Joey Ruiter, we knew we wanted to radically rethink modern restaurant furniture.  The Harper Collection does just that, focusing on functionality and design. 

Why radically? Because there's a need to drastically shift a restaurant chair's perception to include more than a utilitarian object; a restaurant chair can be strong and beautiful. With Harper, it’s both.

Foreign Yet Familiar

Harper Barstool by Joey Ruiter x Grand Rapids Chair Co

Harper is an eight-piece collection made of powder coated steel tubing and molded plywood shell. The collection features striking, yet simple silhouettes. Harper is available in multiple base styles including an X-base, four leg, stacking A-frame, and even a lounge. Most bases come in bar and counter height, and all seats can be specified in wood or laminate shells and with various upholstery options.

Ruiter looked to mundane shapes that simultaneously felt foreign yet familiar, specifically drawing on the shapes of the salt and pepper shakers commonly found in fast-food restaurants.

Ruiter's Inspiration - salt and pepper shakers

“You don’t know what’s familiar, what calms you, makes you feel at home. When you pick up on those referenceable cues, it’s known and you feel better. I try to make products that make that connection, that make people feel comfortable and better,” states Ruiter.

Harper is deliberate balancing act between new and familiar, beautiful and functional. Director of Marketing, Dean Jeffrey, adds, “Its familiar, simple shape allows Harper to be a chameleon of style—melding into multifarious environments and spaces without ever sacrificing durability, functionality, and style.”

Cohesive, Not Matching

simple and modern restaurant stool

Harper’s design language is defined by details like uniform back height for clean sight lines, swooping, continuous bends, and soft arched shells. The entire collection is  cohesive without completely matching, allowing designers to conveniently specify multiple styles without ever having to reach for a separate product.

It’s not that Harper’s design is radical, but the intention is. Harper seeks to elevate the standard of restaurant design by reintroducing familiar shapes, rethinking a functional collection, and replacing the standard style.

The Harper Collection is available for order July 11, 2016. And, you can customize Harper to your liking! Mix and match fabrics, woods, and finishes on the entire Harper Collection. Try it out here.

Fast-Casual Restaurant