Alberta Cancer Foundation

Research Chairs

One of the research chairs designed by Pallett Industries. Photo Credit: Honoured Photography

The brainchild of three Calgary-based designers, Palette Industries blends the skills of an artist, an engineer and a visual communications specialist. Recently, the team adapted one of its chairs, the Dharma Lounge, for the Alberta Cancer Foundation.

While many Palette products exhibit a flair for Canadiana (Tobo, for instance, is a toboggan inspired lounger), these chairs were given as gifts during the foundation’s 25th anniversary celebrations to the 11 endowed research chairs established in whole, or in part, by the Alberta Cancer Foundation. Palette generously donated all of the labour for the project.

Nathan Tremblay, a Palette co-director, talked to Leap about how the chairs are more than just a place to park your behind.

Leap: The chair uses the slogan, “Minds for a cancer free future,” but what’s the inspiration behind the chair?

NT: It’s using language, in a way, like a puzzle. The idea would be to make an individual have a relationship and interact with an inanimate object. Basically, with the play on words, and the play of the message within the chair, we’re creating a longer interaction than an individual would spend with the chair because they’re trying to figure out what the message is. A person will build a more prominent connection with the chair itself as an object, and even more with the message that they’ll get out of it. Some quotes stick in your mind for life, and it affects the way you think and perceive things.

Leap: The chairs are balancing between being functional and being a decoration. Was it difficult to strike the right balance?

NT: We always try to make something that will have longevity. We don’t want to make a product that someone’s going to buy and when the life cycle ends, then it’ll be in the landfill in a year or less. We want to revert back to the old school ways of thinking – where you have something that is interesting to look at, that is a piece of art, and that is something you can pass on down the road to someone else.

Leap: Why did you choose to support the Alberta Cancer Foundation?

NT: The scientists research one of the most prominent illnesses that affect human kind. Period. We just wanted to give back within the local environment, and give to the greater good. We’re all affected by cancer in one way, shape or form.

We wanted to give, and help promote the great research that people are doing in order to find that cure.

Leap: How did you bring the chair together, from concept to completion?

NT: We didn’t do it alone. While we tweaked and designed a chair for the Alberta Cancer Foundation, we also approached companies that we’ve dealt with in the past, and other designers that we know, and asked them if they wanted to be part of the project. They ended up donating partial, if not all, materials and labour needed to make this come to fruition. Laser Equation, Custom Stainless and Sheet Metal MFG, Rite-Way Powder Coating and Legacy Marking all contributed.