Chair stories and more at the museum


“Chair Stories” is one of three new Bolinas Museum exhibitions opening this Saturday, Jan. 28.  Museum director Jennifer Gately invited 12 outstanding San Francisco and Marin designers, architects, artists and design experts to contribute a chair or two, along with a personal narrative describing how the chair has influenced their life, professional thinking or design practice.

 The results are intriguing and often very personal. Some brought their own designs, while other contributions range from a contemporary Japanese designer stool of shining silver to an antique wooden commode. The contributors, who all have close ties to coastal Marin, are known for thinking outside the box and several are influential in international design. They include Valentino Agnoli, an architect from Stinson Beach whose singular homes dot the coastal landscape; Joseph Becker, associate curator of architecture and design curator at SFMoMA; Yves Behar, an industrial designer and founder of Fuse Project; Tripp Carpenter, a talented fine woodworker and furniture-maker who honed his skills beside his master-craftsman father Art Carpenter; Lara Deam, founder of trendsetting Dwell Magazine; and Lara’s husband Chris Deam, an outstanding architect and designer known for a redesign of the iconic Airstream. 

Also contributing are Charles de Lisle, who designs creative interiors, furniture and lighting; Rob Forbes, founder of Design Within Reach; architect John Lum, known for elegant but unpretentious and environmentally sensitive buildings; Eric McDougall, an inventive force and design creative; Sim Van der Ryn, an architect, educator and leader of California’s ecological building movement; and Ido Yoshimoto, a fine woodworker and artist who was inspired by his father Rick Yoshimoto and the legacy of J.B. Blunk. This combination of generations, visions and objects bring a fresh perspective to the basic form of the chair.

Also opening on Saturday are “Home Studies: Portraits Without People,” intimate interior portraits by Leslie Williamson of iconic mid-century modern designer’s homes around the globe; “Carey Cherney: Fire and Light” a selection of this Bolinas potter’s handsome stoneware and raku lamps, art vessels and garden water bowls; and “The Waterhouse & Pepper Families: Their Bolinas Legacy,” which reveals the influence these two families had on downtown Bolinas as we see it today. 

Exhibition preview talks start at 2 p.m., followed by an opening reception from 3 to 5 p.m. Admission is always free. For information, visit


Elia Haworth is curator of coastal Marin art and history for the Bolinas Museum.