South African design duo – Douglas & Company, launched the first items in a limited edition range at the recent 100% Design South Africa. The latest addition to their family of furniture features McSorley’s Wonderful Saloon (trolley) and Professor Seagull (bench). Conceived as playful, yet useful pieces, the items still holds a steady dose of utility to remain handy.
The bench includes a hat and coat stand, earmarked for an entrance hall or visitors area, and the trolley has a bottom grating for glasses, and a folded steel tray for your favourite tipple. A black steel angle frame holds natural stone (marble or granite) and American White Oak inlays for both. Both pieces have wheels to ensure the items can be moved around as needed. The current colour palette of grey green and candyfloss pink celebrates a fun filled summer season in the Southern Hemisphere, but can be customised to suit a more serious (or sober) environment.
Whilst conceptualising the new pieces, an article about American eccentric, Joe Gould (1889 – 1957) was published in The New Yorker (2015/07/27). Also known as Professor Seagull, the often homeless bohemian, claimed to be the author of the longest book ever written – an Oral history of the Contemporary World (also known as Oral History of Our Time). One would need time to read the longest book ever written – even though it is still unknown whether the book actually existed – and the bench will provide a welcome seat to do so.
The drinks trolley in turn is named after one of New York’s oldest bar, McSorley’s Old Ale House, which supplied American journalist Joseph Mitchell (1908-1996) with the title for his second book, McSorley’s Wonderful Saloon (1943). The book portrays a variety of street characters and customers at the famous watering hole, including Joe Gould. The unconventional New York characters not only provided apt names for the designed pieces, but also set the scene of an outlandish world for oddballs (literary characters and furniture alike) to thrive in.