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4/17/16The Birth of the Zahra Peacock Chair

Justina Blakeney For Selamat

If you follow me (or @TheJungalow) on Instagram, you know that over the weekend we shared a preview of my newest collab: a furniture line with Selamat Designs (…and yes, I’m freaking out about it!).  While I’ll get more into the details of the collection later on, I thought it would be cool to take you guys backstage today and show you a bit of the process and how our Zahra peacock chair came to life.

Selamat makes case goods. Case goods are furniture pieces made of hard materials: wood, metal, glass etc. Coffee tables, dressers, hard dining chairs — those are all case goods. I began thinking about the collection with chairs. So first, I put pen to paper and started to sketch.

Sketches of Chairs by Justina Blakeney

I used the hexagon shape as a starting point because I knew I wanted the collection to have a geometric look and I wanted many pieces to modulate and fit together — the hex is perfect for that. After sketching pages and pages of concepts, I went on to look at vintage pieces for inspiration. With designers like Franco Albini, Gabriella Crespi and Hans Wegner on the brain, I pulled images of pieces with great silhouettes, cool details, and inspiring lines:

Vintage pieces can be found on my favorites page on Chairish.

After pulling inspiration, I realized that I definitely wanted pattern on the chair too, and taking inspiration from French bistro chairs,  I decided I wanted woven rattan seats and details. After I pulled together my ideas, I created these composites on photoshop:


You can see the hex shape in the bottom, back portion of the seat, and the pop of pattern. I presented these ideas to Selamat and we met for our first creative meeting in SF. Shannon (one of the owners and all-around rad lady) suggested a pedestal base for this piece and I was totally on board. So after working through this design (and the two dozen others) we consolidated ideas and next was Selamat’s turn to put their spin on my designs and make sure that the chairs functioned properly.
A bit of back and forth and a few months later, this piece came back from the factory:

And while I nearly cried because I thought it was so dang cool, we all agreed that the chair was a bit squat and needed to be elongated more to feel regal. And then this piece came back:

And the Zahra chair was born. Bringing this beauty to life was so much fun and such a great challenge. You can see how different the design looked from the original ideas, but you can also see the thread that remained from those original sketches, right? I learned a ton about materials (did you know that rattan is a vine??) and it was an amazing experience to watch my first furniture collection come to life.

So…this is happening. The entire collection will be available later on this year and I can’t wait to share the rest of the line with you all. Pinch me.

My vintage favorites were curated in partnership with Chairish. 

Justina Blakeney Justina Blakeney

Designer, artist, stylist & mama. Founder and CCO at The Jungalow. Crazy for color, pattern and plants!

14 responses to “The Birth of the Zahra Peacock Chair”

  1. Caro says:

    you are amazing…..amazing, amazing!!!

  2. Luna says:

    Whoa!! Absolutely stunning. And it looks great with your wallpaper!

    • Justina Blakeney says:

      eee! Thanks so much Luna! It’s exhilarating to see it all come together :D. PS I love your name!

  3. Absolutely Gorgeous and I love love the name!!!!!!
    Can’t wait to see more…….

  4. Kirbi Eckerty says:

    Oh my gosh.. such a beauty! Looks like I’d better start a new budget category. Furniture, wallpaper, pillows, rugs.. can’t wait to see what the future holds!

  5. Sarah says:

    LOVE it! You need an Australian stockist ;-) also, don’t mind the “squat” one at all- it looks like an altar to an Incan sun God…

  6. Betsy says:

    We love Selamat. You continue to inspire! This really hit home today.
    We are embarking on our first foray into furniture design as well. We aren’t starting out with as bold, conceptual and radical of a design as this insanely cool chair, but it is really something to see the technical specs, the craftsmanship and the ideas all coming together. <3
    Thanks for sharing the process!

  7. Sarit Werner says:

    This chair is stunning. Congratulations T!! You are incredible. Maximum respect chupps

  8. Nadine says:

    Beautiful and dreamy. I love these chairs. ♥♥♥

  9. Holy! SO cool. Congrats!

  10. Jessie says:

    Gah!!! I know I’m behind, but this is SO MAJOR! Secretly crossing my fingers that you’ll keep us posted on any sort of pre-order situation that might be happening… ;) Either way – Congrats and can’t wait to see the final pieces!

  11. […] vignette in our studio because we recently received some samples in studio from our Selamat collection. (The fabric wrapped ottoman, the copper pyramid planter and the sun mirror with the face on it are […]

  12. […] on the blog, I’ve shared some of the details of the making of the Zahra Peacock Chair. Over on the JustinaBlakeneyHome instagram, you can find a peek behind the curtain and check out […]

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