August 2007


FELDFORSCHUNG (Field Research) translated from German

Richard Wrightman has made an expedition into the culture of British Colonial furniture. Fascinated by the flair and function of the classic travel furniture, the American designer has produced a collection of handcrafted chairs, tables, and beds for the modern nomad.

As British adventurers, scientists and entrepreneurs have found for a century, to explore foreign countries, cultures and people, you must have your furnishings in tow; no ordinary furniture would suffice for those who were on a constant move. What was needed were chairs, desks and beds made portable for the journey. The colonial furnishings were noted for their style, utility and comfort all in which the British explorer could not do without.

Today, "feldforschung" is still pursued by scientists and explorers and Richard Wrightman, the American designer long ago discovered the charm and utility of Campaing furniture. As a boy, he was fascinated by a piece belonging to his father: an old English "Officer’s Chair," a typical turn of the century colonial chair. I was always aware of the timelessness of the design in which you could take anywhere – an important criterion for furniture thought the young Richard. Born in Los Angeles, he split time between two continents between his Danish mother in Copenhagen and his American father, who was stationed as an officer in Europe.

When the trained fashion designer opened his New York furniture studio in 2000, it was only natural that his first design to be inspired by the chair he loved as a boy. His updated design is a refreshingly new look at a traditional piece. Now he has seating in many variants: for the bar, the dining table, and lounge. The ever-growing "Campaign" collection, as the 44 year old calls it, spans 18 designs with 50 variations. Each piece is made by hand in oiled American and tropical hardwoods, leather, linen, canvas, and stainless steel. His furniture made for the generations is made to order in a 12-week lead time. The days of expeditions followed by caravan are long over but the romance of that type of travel is still very much alive. While most pieces in the collection can be easily carried by one person; others such as the Danziger desk can still be strapped to a camel’s back if necessary.