Behind the scenes – The Making of the Sixty Two Armchair
An expert upholsterer…
Every Sixty Two armchair and footstool is expertly handcrafted by one carefully selected upholsterer at the G Plan Factory based in Melksham, Wiltshire. His name is Tony Falconer. Originally from Coventry, Tony now lives in Melksham, just a short drive from G Plan HQ. He works on a range of G Plan models, but when a Sixty Two order comes in, Tony is called upon.
“The Sixty Two is my favourite piece to create, I’m very proud to be responsible for every single one that is made. The design has stood the test of time and it’s nice to think that something I’m crafting will be enjoyed in the owner’s home for a long time and perhaps even be passed on through the family.”
“The most popular covers are Capri Black Leather (like Blofeld), and the Capri Red and Claret (iconic sixties colours). I love it when something a little different comes through though – recently I’ve upholstered chairs in Festival Teal and Capri Aubergine which both looked amazing. I personally would opt for a Sixty Two in either Capri Black or Capri Claret.”
A careful process…
Tony sets up on his upholstery bench and receives one big box of components, the key ingredients for The Sixty Two. It includes the expertly pre-cut-and-sewn leather or fabric, the foam, seat back, feet, base, a bag of buttons and that famous pewter badge. Tony explains ‘I’ve got to get it right first time, this box contains everything I need and there are no spares!’
Tony starts work on the seat back. After carefully removing foam so as to reveal bolt holes, he cuts out sections for the buttons and a silicone slip is placed over the back so that the fabric or leather can be pulled on with a glove like fit. Tony constantly checks for lumps and bumps to ensure a completely smooth surface and a comfortable sit. The buttons are then intricately placed and attached in the iconic diamond format. Goggles are on, the leather is pierced and each individual button is pulled through on a sharp spoke then secured with a black cap. “I need to work with the leather and give it a bit of respect. Each button has to be perfectly positioned and the leather completely smooth, otherwise I’ll start again.”
Next the leather is pulled round the back of the chair; Tony constantly works and smooths the leather, taking extra care to pull out any kinks. The leather is then cut at the sides to reveal bolt holes ready for the arms. The cover is pulled tight and fixed securely in place to give the back a nice smooth edge. “I tighten the fabric and upholster right the way around the frame, then I repeat the process on the second arm” says Tony.
On to the seat platform. Bolt holes are freed and the leather is carefully inspected for any marks. The cover is fitted over the seat platforms to create a neat surface for the seat cushion to sit upon. Clips are attached to the base and 16 gage springs are stretched and secured on. The seat is then bolted to the platform and the flaps are carefully glued down at the sides. “The seat action is extremely heavy so this stage of the process is particularly tricky.”
For the base, Tony begins by attaching the pewter badge to the show wood. The show wood is then carefully put on to the base, one piece at a time. The beautiful chrome castors are screwed on to the base and tightened with pliers. “Extra care needs to be taken with a swivel chair like the Sixty Two; you’ll be seeing it from every angle when it’s in your home so it has to be perfect.”
Finally, the chair is ready to be assembled. The pieces are carefully laid out at the end of the line and Tony inspects each part. He unzips the back to reveal the holes and bolts in the seat platform and the arms one at time, not tightening fully until everything is in perfect position. “An anti-tipping device is added for stability, ensuring the perfect rocking motion.”
Tony collects the seat cushion and the cover. A special machine is used that not only helps fill the cushion accurately but pummels the foam to exactly the right level of comfort for each chair. It’s zipped up and placed on the chair. “Hey Presto, the Sixty Two is complete!”
An iconic chair…
“Every chair I create is unique and handmade. They aren’t all uniform and this gives them charm and character. It’s great to think that in a week’s time someone will be enjoying this in their home, relaxing in their living room or working in their study.”