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Red-curtained pavilion

David Lynch designs gigantic wooden chair within meditative A Thinking Room

Film director David Lynch revealed his furniture design skills at tradeshow Salone del Mobile during Milan design week, where he created a large wooden chair in a room with an ocean-like pattern floor.

Known for his dark Americana films, including Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive, as well as cult TV series Twin Peaks, the filmmaker was chosen to design the installation after curator Antonio Monda found out he makes furniture in his free time.

Wooden chair at furniture fair
A large wooden chair designed by Lynch sits at the centre of the room

"Last summer, Salone asked me if I could find the personality who wasn't from the field of design to create an event," Monda  told Dezeen.

"And I remembered when I was in Rome as artistic director for the Rome Film Festival, I visited David Lynch because I presented him with the Lifetime Achievement Award," he continued. "When I went to visit him he was polishing a desk and I said what are you doing? And he said, 'I do furniture. I build furniture.'"

Photography in A Thinking Room
Photos sit in large handmade screens

After taking a couple of weeks to come up with an idea, Lynch came back with a sketch for A Thinking Room that was sent to the famous theatre Piccolo Teatro in Milan.

Because of the anticipated popularity, two identical rooms were created and sit in two pavilions, hung with dramatic red-velvet curtains, at the entrance of hall 5 and 7 at the tradeshow.

Chair inside room created by David Lynch
David Lynch designed the chair for relaxing and writing

The deep-blue rooms, which were intended to be a relaxing space for visitors to the tradeshow, each surround a large wooden chair in which visitors can sit and write or draw using a fold-out desk.

"Lynch practices transcendental meditation, and he said 'this [room] is for meditation, but those who don't do meditation can just think and relax," Monda said. "His idea is [for it] to be a renovation or revolution of our souls."

Lynch went over the design on Zoom calls with a team from Piccolo Teatro, which built the room itself, as well as the large wooden chair and a series of frames that hold photos and videos.

The room also features a floor with a pattern of abstract waves and textured, tubular walls painted in a dark blue colour.

"The blue immediately connects with Blue Velvet; Lynch doesn't want to put the installation together with the films at all, but it's impossible not to," Monda added.

Back of A Thinking Room
A wave pattern decorates the floor

Piccolo Teatro worked closely with Lynch to make sure all the details of the room were in line with the director's concept.

"We started from a few sketches that Lynch sent to us and we developed everything, plans, sections, renderings – the most important things thing was to create a lot of samples of all the things that you can see inside this room," Piccolo Teatro's project leader Paolo di Benedetto said.

"We sent everything to David in Los Angeles to check," he added. "The most important thing for David was to create this kind of atmosphere inside the room; the possibility to see the images, sit on the chair and write and connect with the energy."

Digital screen in A Thinking Room
A Thinking Room also features video installations

Lynch had a clear vision for the space from the beginning, taking an interest in the materials and colours used and even creating a small decorative sculpture that sits at the top of the picture frames that hang on its walls.

"We sent him twelve samples for the walls, with more texture and less texture and many different blue shades," di Benedetto said. "He was happy like a child when he received all of the samples in LA."

Metal rods that reach up from wooden chair
Metal rods reach up to the ceiling

On top of the large chair, seven metal rods connect it to the ceiling, where they branch out. Like the often ambiguous images in his films, the design was left unexplained by Lynch.

"The only thing that we know is that these are the connections between something like the soul and the absolute; a flow of energy from your soul," Monda said.

Other exhibitions and installations currently on show at Milan design week include a show by designer Faye Toogood that explores "sexuality and the body" and furniture made from reused skyscraper formwork.

The photography is courtesy of Salone del Mobile.

A Thinking Room is on show at Salone del Mobile 10 from 16 to 21 April during See our Milan design week 2024 guide on Dezeen Events Guide for information about the many other exhibitions, installations and talks taking place throughout the week.