Jake Berstein


Furniture For a Lockdown


After a summer of protesting for racial justice and quarantining for Covid 19, my final semester at Parsons was carried out completely online. My world had shrunk to the size of a small Queens apartment. Going about my days in online class rotating between my bed, my desk, the couch, and the toilet, I wondered what was even possible for this capstone project? How could I make something that was both politically motivated and deeply personal while stuck in my apartment? Looking around my now shrunken world, I decided to make an object that could free me from my monotonous routine—a chair.

Using only a Japanese handsaw and a power drill, I pushed the limits of my skills and made what I called “Furniture for a Lockdown.” Through many failed attempts, I created a set of three chairs designed to both connect you to your space and to connect the segments of an apartment to itself. With four wheels and a shorter than average seat height, the chairs allow the user to sit, scoot, dance, and move around a space with complete freedom. There are many ways to sit on these chairs, and the very act of using them can elicit things that are rare under lockdown: laughter, play, and freedom. I made the chairs from wood from a local hardware store and scraps leftover from boarded-up businesses during the protests. Ultimately, the project was about connecting: Connecting wheels to wood, connecting rooms of an apartment, and connecting to a space, neighborhood, and community.