Anatomy Of A Design: Doorman Gives A Facelift To The Traditional Southern Patio

Alex Geriner, Founder & Creative Director of Doorman, joins us to describe the design process behind his Coliseum Club chairs. Built with sculptural metal frames and born somewhat by accident, the Coliseum chairs are a funky update to traditional cast-iron patio furniture.

Raymond Paul Schneider: When did you first start to develop this new collection?
Alex Geriner: They came as a total fluke. Originally, we designed them for a local charity in 2019 – The Green Project Nola. The challenge was to build a donatable piece of furniture from at least 90% recycled materials and then auction it off at the gala. We first checked out the local metal scrap yard and found these really unique curved pieces of metal. Then we partnered with Palm Orleans and she contributed beautiful scrap pieces of her Palmetto stripe fabric in the Audubon colorway. The night of the charity was a huge success and everyone was so enthralled with the chairs. We knew we were on to something and figured out a way to build them as part of the Doorman line.

Raymond: What was your initial inspiration, and where did the idea(s) come from?
Alex: The Coliseum Club chairs are an updated facelift to the traditional Southern patio furniture. These are fun, and more comfortable to lounge in over the traditional cast iron heavy pieces seen across porches in the South. They’re modern, yet funky, classic and sculptural all in one. What I love about them are the long shadows they cast across the floor as the sun sits lower in the sky. I just can’t wait to see how these are used in outdoor or indoor spaces all across the country.

Raymond: Did you have a specific audience or theme that you had in mind?
Alex: After being cooped up during COVID, my family and I started spending even more time outdoors. I’ve always loved the idea of taking our furniture collections outdoors and COVID was that final ah-ha moment. There’s a lot of outdoor options, but very few unique and creative designs that work in a variety of settings.

Raymond: Please describe the methods, tools, and materials you used to develop and prototype this design?
Alex: They’re made of rolled aluminum stock with intricately turned zig zags. Each panel is bent by hand on our metal press. Then we weld and fabric the chair back and seat. The chair assembles easily and is shipped in a flat box. Beetle from Palm Orleans and I have been friends for a few years. She’s got such a great eye for art and design. Her Palmetto stripe is just the right mix of color and spunk for our Coliseum chairs. It was an instant match made in design Heaven.

Raymond: Describe your overall brand DNA and Ethos
Alex: We are a furniture company based in the deep South. Our region is known for doing things the way they’ve always been done. We’re taking this concept and turning it on its head with the way we design and build our furniture. We are looking to the new south which, culturally and socially, is much different. Our furniture is the same way, and with that we are playing with new forms and concepts while honoring southern tradition.

Photography by Jacqueline Marque.

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