DWR Hosted Its Champagne Chair Contest at the Stahl House Last Night

a house party

Guests mingle at the Stahl House in the Hollywood Hills, where Design Within Reach held the annual Champagne Chair Contest.

Photo: Courtesy of Design Within Reach

High above the West Hollywood hills at the legendary Stahl House last night, Design Within Reach hosted its 16th Champagne Chair Contest.

The crowd gathered in the dining room to inspect the extraordinary miniature chairs, made using just the foil, label, cage, and cork from Champagne Pommery’s own bottles of bubbly. The fan-favorite contest was created by DWR founder Rob Forbes and his friends after a New Year’s Eve party many years ago.

The judges, who also contributed chairs of their own, included Block Shop Textiles owners Hope Stockman and Lily Stockman; ETC.etera interior designer Sally Breer and Jake Rodehuth; along with Herman Miller archivist Amy Auscherman. Categories included Most Original, Best Likeness, the Tiny Bubbles Prize, and the Pommery Prize.

Designer Bari Ziperstein's chair.

Designer Bari Ziperstein’s chair.

Photo: Courtesy of Design Within Reach

As guests and judges mingled in the kitchen, nibbling Japanese-style katsu sandwiches from Konbi and sipping bubbles, the crowd discussed the eclectic creations as the sun set over the hazy Los Angeles sky.

“It was a huge honor; people’s creativity over the years [has been] mind-boggling,” says Sally Breer, who spent eight hours creating her masterpiece. “They are so impeccably done,” she added. “It was incredibly hard to do, and I have so much respect for these people.”

a party

The judges weigh in on miniature chairs constructed from champagne bottle muselets and corks. 

Photo: Courtesy of Design Within Reach

“It’s a great opportunity to stretch our arts and crafts [skills],” says Hope Stockman, who was inspired by a 1920s Egyptian Revival stool found on the Christie’s website. “We design in this Bauhaus vernacular, but we also love whimsy. You can’t compete with all of those perfect Eames lounge chairs that people made, so we decided to take a hard left.”

The finished Champagne Chair Contest projects.

The finished Champagne Chair Contest projects.

Photo: Courtesy of Design Within Reach

The winners for each category were Mary Chimenti, Jared Scott Kay, and Lynn Everett Read—in first, second, and third place, respectively—for originality. Keenan Bouchard won the Best Likeness category for the folding chair. Katy Garvey won the Pommery Prize (and a jeroboam of the brand’s Brut), and Josh Gagnon won the Tiny Bubbles Prize.