Day dreaming about the Hirohata Mercury at shool resulted in this Art Deco design the Hirohata Merc Chair.
In the mid 1980’s I was in art-school. Around that time news about the revival of the custom cars in the US, from a few years earlier finally made its way to the Netherlands. The little spare money I had was spend on Hot Rod magazine from the US, Wheels magazine from Sweden and Custom Cars from the UK. These were the only magazines that had some custom car info in them that I was able to get my hands on where I lived. I absorbed everything I could find about customs in these magazines. One cars name that kept popping up was the Hirohata Merc, and was often revered to as the “grand daddy of all customs” in the magazines. Everything about that car was pure magic for me back then (and still is today)…
For a school assignment we were asked to design a chair, create some work drawings, build a scale model and a way to display the chair in a furniture shop. I knew immediately that I wanted to design a chair based on the lines of the Hirohata Merc. I made some sketches of a chair inspired on the art deco launch chairs from the 1940’s and some newer chairs created by De Sede, combined with elements of the Hirohata Mercury. The Buick side trim boomerang trim was an excellent shape to be used for the sides of the chair. After sketches the perfect chair, I created a side, front and rear views that would help me build the scale model.
Building the scale model
I wanted this chair to have some car elements like the body panels done in metal. But painted a satin pastel color to make it fit better inside a comfortable home. The basic shape of the model chair was created by laminating foam board together and cut and sand it to shape. The “metal” shaped panels were created from sheet styrene and made as separate units so that they could be painted easily. The seat needed to have a real leather look. I found some very thin imitation leather that was used to create shirts. The leather was cut to size, slightly over sized, with the ends carefully folded and moved under, then glued to the shaped foam base. The side panels were painted satin pastel turquoise (a very popular color back then) and the frame pastel blue.
The Buick style side trim and art deco lines on the front were cut from sheet plastic and covered in aluminum foil to make them look like chrome. Once assembled the chair looked really nice and very comfortable. And I planned to create one in 1/1 scale. But I was never able to find the funds to do so back then. Sadly these photos shown here are all left from the Hirohata Merc chair project. The sketches and drawing have been misplaced many years ago and on one of my last moves the chair was damaged beyond repair. I had not thought about the chair for several years, until I came across one of the photos on a recent hunt for something else.
These photos show the scale model I created of the Hirohata Chair. I named the chair Streamline 51 back then, because I figured nobody at school would understand the real name of the chair. The photos were taken many years after the model was first constructed. And parts were already falling off and others were damaged. So the model does not look as good anymore as it used to do when I first created it.
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