Tennessee-based wood artist Alan Daigre hand-builds heirloom-quality chairs that are sought after for their smart design and handsome woods.
The artist: Born and raised in historic Natchez, MS, Daigre received his undergraduate degree in business from Georgia State University in Atlanta. He then earned a master’s in social work and a good part of his career as a mental health therapist.
The career shift: Daigre took up woodworking in his spare time. It quickly became a passion. In 2001, he attended a chair-making workshop at the Appalachian Center for Crafts in Tennessee and decided to set out to design and build a chair that was different.
The company/studio: Alan Daigre Designs based in Woodbury, TN, started in 2005. A few years ago, Daigre purchased and renovated a 10,000-square-foot commercial building about 45 minutes southeast of Nashville. The space houses his shop, a gallery and living quarters.
The goods & materials: Comfortable chairs, including rocking chairs, dining and office chairs. Also bar and foot stools. He starts solid air-dried hardwood frames, usually in walnut, cherry, or maple. Diagre also takes commissions for tables and other pieces of furniture.
What’s popular: Rockers, especially the classic walnut rocker ($4,200).
Other favorites: Dining chairs ($1,750 to $2,100), depending on the wood choice.
Why the chairs are different: They adjust each time to a sitter’s body. In the unique design, the chair’s seat and back consist of many individual wood blocks that are threaded together through the frame by a single cable encased in a synthetic jacket that protects the wood and the steel cable.
Influence: Daigre’s experience building and facilitating ropes courses for a zipline park. It gave him the idea of using suspension seating to give his chairs a different look and feel.
Design style: A blend of Danish modern and Craftsman influences.
Fun or unusual requests: Repurpose a customer’s family heirloom piece of furniture that they can no longer use into one of my designs. Also, use lumber from trees on a customer’s property that hold some sentimental value.
Big break: Built 10 dining chairs and two rockers for former Vice President Al Gore’s house in Nashville.
- Excellence in Design at the 42nd annual Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show.
- Best in Show in Tennessee Craft fair.
- Exhibitor at Master Woodworkers Show in Knoxville.
- Best in Show at the 2016 Craft + Design show in Richmond.
What’s new: Three patents for his new Pod chair design.
Where to buy: www.alandaigredesigns.com
Get social at: Alan Daigre Designs on facebook and instagram