Constructed of salvaged piano keys, Designer Andrew Rumpler’s latest project repurposes the ivories to compose – a chair! Named in honor of 1940s stride pianist Arthur Tatum, the lounge marries concept and function to get its name—a play on words derived not only from the “lounge” style chair, but also the Harlem venues Tatum frequented as a pianist.
Tatum’s Lounge showcases a thin, nearly translucent seat combined with a fragile-looking framework of recycled piano keys. The finished product inspires the visual equivalent of Arthur Tatum’s haphazardly unpredictable solos and compositions; an impossible allocation of thin legs and angles somehow sturdy enough to support a grown man.
25 keys fastened by 36 hidden mortise and tenon intersections make up the lounge. Upcycled from an abandoned upright piano Rumpler found on a Brooklyn street, the lounge follows in the footsteps of the designer’s Elsie series—distressed metal tables made from old auto body panels found in junk yards.
Though Rumpler began his work in the mid-90s, pre-green revolution of New York’s East Village he’s since relocated Nine Stories to an adaptive reuse navy yard, breathing a second wind into another hand-me-down. Yet, despite the change of address, Rumpler’s kept his original design mission intact: “the way a thing is made should inform the final outcome.”