How Sarah Coleman Took A Love of LOUIS VUITTON and Logo Mania Art.
Coleman built a reputation as the LOUIS VUITTON chair-maker. Her first job out of college was with architect Peter Marino, assisting with several of the design teams as well as in the fabric department. “It just so happened that right when I went there, CHANEL was crazy, opening so many stores. And so,” as she brazenly describes it, “I somehow got put on the CHANEL team to be designing stores.” She credits Marino with teaching her everything she knows.
Encouraged by her newfound knowledge, 25 years old, she left Marino to start a hand-painted clothing company called Unni by Sarah. It didn’t last long. “I thought I was more ready than I was to go out on my own,” she says, describing the period immediately after as a time that she was creatively lost. She spent the next few years painting and doing small interior design projects before joining the Mercer Hotel as an art director. She left there at the beginning of 2019 to focus on her projects, immediately beginning work on designing a three-bedroom apartment at the new Herzog de Meuron building located at 160 Leroy Street.
And that’s when she started making the chairs. “I had the idea that I would start taking objects that are very basic—cleaning bottles, for instance—and covering the label. I had seen people doing lighters, and one day I thought a folding chair would be cute.”
Some positive feedback from strangers on Instagram led her to create more. Before long, custom orders were coming in. Why LV? “I just love their stuff,” she puts it. “I think the material is amazing quality, and therefore the quality of the chairs is on their level. It’s Louis Vuitton- quality, the sewing, the craftsmanship, the details. “She takes apart one piece of luggage for every chair and uses the scraps for other objects. “Whatever I have leftover, I cover household items like plungers, toilet seats, matches, fantastic bottles, and outlet plates,” she says. “So I guess you could say I collect vintage luggage, I take it apart, use the majority of the material for the chair and get creative with the scraps.” As for where she’s sourcing the luggage: vintage stores, authenticated online resellers or directly from people she’s met in the luxury resale market who call her when they find something they know she’ll find useful.
Coleman says she has not heard from anyone at LOUIS VUITTON about her work, saying that “each is different, they’re signed, they have a number, they’re art pieces. I’m selling them as art pieces and don’t mass produce the same chair.” It’s not about the materials being used, Coleman stresses. “It’s not because of the label. It’s fun taking something that I can find, something used, and taking it apart, and creating something beautiful from it. I like looking at beautiful things.”