Summertime, and the Sitting is Easy
Inspired during the pandemic, local furniture maker introduces first outdoor offering
Nothing says “summer” more than chilling on the patio with a cold beverage in one hand and your grill tongs in the other. Now, patio-loving New Orleanians have a classy new option for their lounging: the Coliseum Club chair from Doorman.
Doorman is a local firm that designs and handcrafts a wide range of specialty furniture items. Founder and lead designer Alex Geriner described the company’s style as “southern made modern.”
“Our region is known for doing things the way they’ve always been done,” Geriner explained. “We’re taking this concept and turning it on its head with the way we design and build our furniture. We are looking to the new South, which culturally and socially is much different. Our furniture is the same way, and with that we are playing with new forms and concepts while honoring southern tradition and craft.”
Doorman takes the southern connection even further by using a variety of materials found throughout the Gulf South, including reclaimed woods and architectural salvage. Each furniture piece is individually handcrafted in the company’s Algiers Point workshop, which can be toured by appointment.
The Coliseum Chair is a collaboration with New Orleans textile company Palm Orleans. “Beetle from Palm Orleans and I have been friends for a few years,” said Geriner. “She’s got such a great eye for art and design. Her Palmetto stripe is just the right mix of color and spunk for our Coliseum Chairs.”
The chairs are designed for either interior or exterior use, though Geriner was inspired initially by the thought of being outside.
“After being cooped up during COVID-19, my family and I started spending even more time outdoors,” he recalled. “I’ve always loved the idea of taking our furniture collections outdoors, and COVID was that final aha moment.”
While this may be Doorman’s first step into the great outdoors, it is unlikely to be its last, as Geriner is planning to expand into outdoor sofas and chaise lounges to compliment the Coliseum Chair. These too are likely to be collaborations with other fellow designers from around the south.
Doorman was founded in 2013, and since then has created pieces for homes from New Orleans to China, Australia to New York City. The firm has also developed furniture for hotels, restaurants and other public establishments from Malibu to Martha’s Vineyard. Locally, their work can be found in locations such as the Henry Howard Hotel, The Columns and Old Number 77 Hotel.
Products can be ordered via the company’s website, doormandesigns.com. Doorman accepts a limited number of custom projects, both commercial and residential.
The Coliseum Chair typifies the firm’s approach to creating furniture. Quality materials from sustainable sources are hand-shaped into the individual components of the chair. Preliminary assembly takes place in the workshop; then the chair is shipped to the buyer for final assembly.
In his design process, Geriner considers many factors, including everything from user comfort to the environment in which the piece will be situated. “These are more comfortable than the traditional cast iron heavy pieces seen across porches in the South,” he stated. “They’re modern, yet funky, classic and sculptural all in one.”
And despite its indoor-outdoor versatility, Geriner clearly envisioned the Coliseum Chair as an outside piece. It’s bold, even as it blends well with its intended tropical surroundings, and as easy to sit in as that accompanying beverage is to sip.
“And what I love about them is the long shadows they cast across the floor as the sun sits lower in the sky,” he concluded.