It was an advertisement that became an icon of pop culture, transforming a humble audio tape from Japanese electronics company Maxell into a global phenomenon.
To a theme of Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries, a reclining man in a Le Corbusier chair is seen being blown backwards by the power of sound coming from speakers in front of him.
In the advertisement, entitled “Blown Away Guy,” his hair, necktie, and dry martini are all buffeted backwards by the volume of sound.
Now, an American woodworker studying at the renowned Chippendale International School of Furniture in Scotland has recreated the famous chair in spalted cherry for a new generation who may only dimly know what an audio cassette tape looks like.
The School will shortly be recreating the famous advertisement on video, which will be shared on this website and on its YouTube channel.
The reinvented chair, finished with linseed oil and carefully polished, was designed and made in three months by Isaac Thompson (24) from Orange County, California, who is a sculpture graduate of Bates College, Maine.
“The chair’s design was inspired by the exaggerated lines and movement of the Maxell advertisement. I liked the idea of sliding into the chair, reaching for my martini, pressing play, and listening to my favourite music,” says Isaac.
“Spalted cherry has a beautiful grain, a grain so intricate that it looks like a hand-rendered drawing. Spalted is another word for rotten – so at first I worried I was making a chair already past its prime, but the outcome has amazed me. The fungi in the wood ‘battle’ each other and collide in a way that creates dark lines and rich colours,” he said.
The Chippendale International School of Furniture was founded in 1985, and is this year celebrating its 30th birthday with UK Best Business and Best of the Best Awards.
“I came across the Chippendale School while I was working for a sculptor in Brooklyn, New York. For as long as I can remember I have been surrounded by creative minds. My grandmother was an artist, both my grandfathers were woodworkers in middle America, so I felt an inherent pull towards furniture and design. The Chippendale School was the perfect combination of artistic freedom and practicality for me,” says Isaac.
Maxell advertisement: The name Maxell is a contraction of “maximum capacity dry cell” – the original core products of the company. The iconic advertisement began as a two-page spread in Rolling Stone magazine then ran on TV throughout the 1980s. It has been much parodied since, most recently in Jackass 3 and TV’s Family Guy. In the UK, the music used was Night on Bald Mountain by Mussorgsky.