The Mystery of the X202 Chair

Tuesday, 7 May 2024 | 6:30 – 8:30pm

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Peter Wyeth tells us about designer James Leonard whose 1940s aluminium and ply school furniture for ESA in Stevenage sold in the millions.

Project X was a daring moment of post-war optimism inspired by the revolutionary glued wood-strip frame of the Mosquito warplane, which the ESA factory was turned over to producing from 1941.

Leonard’s remarkable designs, including the mystery X202 chair, were made in aluminium with high-pressure die-casting machinery that could produce seven chairs a minute, eventually seeing over a million of his X201 chairs sold. True mass-production but with the highest standards of modernist design, and unique in Britain.

Peter Wyeth is an qward-winning film-maker (12 Views of Kensal House - After Hokusai), and writer (The Lost Architecture of Jean Welz), with a Bronze Medal, Independent Publishers Association (US, 2023).