A local commercial furniture manufacturer is rolling out its first indoor-outdoor lounge seat.
Created with sustainable, exterior-grade materials and an easily customizable design, Rita is designed to make “a lively addition” to hotel lounges, co-working offices, outdoor patios and everything in between, the company said.
“Grand Rapids Chair Co. has completely redone its entire portfolio over the past seven years,” said Dean Jeffery, the company’s creative director. “We made a conscious effort to create a foundation, including chairs and tables for dining spaces, but now it’s time to put our stamp on lounge and outdoor areas.”
Designed by longtime Grand Rapids Chair Co. collaborator Filter Studio, Rita incorporates powder-coated steel frames and rounded edges with an emphasis on comfort. Defined by two angular, intersecting cushions, Rita is meant to be “cozy yet sturdy for productivity and engagement in commercial spaces.”
Available in three variations — a base model with optional arm caps or a 10-inch side table — Rita can hold everything from laptops and notebooks to happy hour cocktails.
“After two years of remote work, we want Rita to attract people to communal spaces, whether it be a café, office or hotel,” Jeffery said. “We love that Rita is designed for comfort, as well as work, conversation and dining. It toes the line between what people love about home and what they need to be productive.”
Following a trend of communal spaces incorporating hybrid indoor-outdoor environments — such as open garage doors and expansive window walls — Rita’s powder-coated steel frame, textured wood-inspired details and cushions are designed to withstand the demands of climate and weather changes.
The chair’s arm caps and side tables are made from ACRE, a sustainable wood alternative composed of discarded rice hulls. Originally intended for exterior siding, ACRE is UV-resistant, pest-resistant and has thermal plastic capabilities. Unlike wood, it will not splinter or rot when exposed to water, according to Grand Rapids Chair Co.
Rita is one of ACRE’s first applications on commercial furniture, the company said.
Rita’s Dri-Fast outdoor-grade foam cushions are meant to capture the look of residential lounge furniture while withstanding the elements. The cushions’ foam has an open-cell structure that doesn’t hold onto moisture or let bacteria grow. The cushions also are velcro-attached and easily can be removed for cleaning or winter storage.
Available in 29 standard powder-coated steel colors (two of which are custom-designed by Grand Rapids Chair Co.) and custom-upholstered with fabrics designed by partnered textile mills, Rita can be mid-century modern, ’90s retro or Scandinavian modern with a different combination of colors and patterns. Rita’s optional ACRE features also are available in 11 stains, including wood-grain-inspired options.
“Rita’s basic form lets designers personalize and manipulate it to be different in every installation,” Jeffery said. “Its flexibility and malleability allow designers to make Rita their own, making sure that no two seats will be exactly alike.”
Rita is designed and made to order in Grand Rapids. The lounge chair meets Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association (BIFMA) standards and has a six-week lead time once fabric arrives at the Grand Rapids Chair Co. factory.
Standard Rita Lounge Seats start at $2,100, Rita with the ACRE table attachments are an additional $1,350, and Rita with ACRE arm caps are $2,350.
More information is online.
meet the team
We’re a band of women (and a dog named Evie) inspired by other women, design, innovation, technology, art, and the world around us. We live for the chance to create and disperse powerful, genuine messages that resonate.
Growing up in Seattle, Amy was always exploring the great outdoors but she found a particular thrill in traveling. During a visit to New York City at age 10, she knew that was where she wanted to live. After high school she left her home in the Pacific Northwest behind for the great unknown to attend Fordham University in the Bronx. Upon graduation, Amy received a phone call from CNN offering a job opportunity of a lifetime working in television ad sales at Manhattan's Time Warner Center. When a job opportunity in Los Angeles opened up a few years later, Amy couldn't say no to a new adventure back on the west coast. But Seattle eventually called her back home and Amy returned to pursue a Master's degree in Business Administration with the hopes of learning the skills she needed to feed her entrepreneurial spirit. Before graduating, Amy co-founded Paxson Fay with Tessa Andrews in 2015. Amy focuses on marketing strategy, public relations, social media, and partnerships.
Tessa graduated from Fordham University in New York with a dual bachelor's degree in Communications and Political Science. During her time at Fordham, she worked for an interior designer and at NBC News where she developed her love for both design and communications. After graduating, Tessa managed marketing at 3form, a pioneer in the sustainable building products industry. During her tenure, 3form was repeatedly named one of the most recognized manufacturers in the design industry among architects and designers, and the company won multiple awards for its innovative product launches. After 3form, Tessa consulted on marketing efforts with leading product manufacturers in architecture and design before starting Paxson Fay with Amy.
senior account coordinator
Claire Butwinick specializes in marketing and social media strategy, copywriting, and public relations. Formerly the Assistant Editor at GRAY Magazine, an international architecture and design publication based in Seattle, Claire brings to Paxson Fay her editorial background and a passion for all things design. In addition to her writing experience, Claire is a seasoned public speaker, moderating a number of panel discussions with IDS Vancouver and Be Original Americas, and hosting the 2019 GRAY Awards. Last year, she took her speaking skills virtual, conducting several Instagram Live interviews with designers amid the pandemic. A graduate from the University of Washington’s School of Communication: Journalism, Claire was honored with a Pioneer News Group Excellence Award for Visual Journalism, selected for the Communication department’s prestigious Career Exploration scholarship, and nominated for a Hearst National Journalism Award. Her work also appears in GRAY Magazine, Office Insight, SagaCity’s Jewish in Seattle Magazine, and more.
senior account coordinator
After graduating from Fordham University in New York City with a major in Communications and Media Studies and a handful of marketing and PR internships, Colby moved to Boston to manage marketing for a small, women-owned, creative consulting agency. While in that role, Colby managed public relations and marketing efforts for some of Boston's most prominent events and public art initiatives, including the Boston Pickle Fair and The Bulfinch Crossing Projections in downtown Boston. Colby gained experience crafting brand stories and identities through social media marketing and creative copywriting, seen through the successful launch of a premier Massachusetts adult-use dispensary and the revamp of her agency's own website. After two years, Colby decided it was time to figure out what the West Coast was all about. Looking to blend her marketing experience with her passion for design and architecture, Colby found Paxson Fay, where she focuses on social media strategy and management and public relations.
Chloe Edwards is a PNW native and recent Summa cum laude graduate from the University of Washington, where she studied Communication and Anthropology. While interning with the strategic communications firm Parsons + Co. Chloe developed skills in messaging and branding development, media outreach, and social media management. Chloe joined the Paxson Fay team as an intern in the fall of 2020. At Paxson Fay, Chloe creates social media content for a variety of client campaigns and profiles and leads engagement on several accounts, coordinates internal communications efforts, and assists with media outreach. As Paxson Fay's full-time Communications Assistant she uses her experience to achieve social media marketing, content strategy, and media relations success for clients and for the Paxson Fay brand.
what we do
We are a communications firm founded in our passion for good design. Our unique approach to marketing and public relations in the architecture and design community has elevated our clients work to the next level. We’re backed by a talented community of creatives. From copywriters to social media experts, we provide a complete package of customized services. We strive to create a personal experience with each client, integrating teams and tackling your biggest marketing and public relations challenges from a high level. Then we help execute those plans ensuring lots of reporting along the way, with lots of coffee breaks in between because we’re from Seattle and that’s what we do.
partnerships acquisition and management
media communications and outreach
awards: strategy, content development and submissions
platform strategy and management
results + reporting
budget strategy + negotiation
website and e-mail marketing
video: sourcing, storyboarding and scheduling
photography acquisition + curation
sponsorships + partnerships
Here is a little taste of who we love to work with and what we love to do.