Lynda Chesser and Bill Schacht
Bill Schacht once worked with a team to design the interior of a privately owned 727 aircraft. The cabin included a dining table for 20, three bedrooms, a master bedroom equipped with a king-sized bed and seatbelt to fit it, and a living room, all with custom-designed furniture, light fixtures, and tapestries.
Lynda Chesser participated in the interior design of a posh gentlemen's club in Paris, complete with custom carpet, millwork, and an inlaid wood and leather ceiling. Every chair, light fixture, plate, and coffee cup was designed for the club.
Together they restored their 1923 Mediterranean-style brick home. Whether designing customized storm windows, refinishing chandeliers for weeks, or discovering, under layers of paint, a door with hammered black pewter hinges and textured brass knobs, their work is precise, their ideas original.
So it may come as a surprise that Lynda and Bill also love to design furniture for mass production. "I love the challenge of the manufacturing process—the forming of parts, the tooling, the fitting together of those parts," says Bill. "We get to solve complex problems in order to make something manufacturable, and we get to solve complex problems for the people who will use the furniture."
While designing furniture for planes or restaurants has its unique set of rewards, Lynda and Bill find great reward in designing products for offices, for places where design perhaps serves a greater purpose. "Our products may not save lives," says Lynda, "but they do make people's lives more pleasurable."
Native Floridians, Lynda and Bill have worked together at firms in Florida and New York City—Lynda in interior design and Bill in industrial design. As partners, their backgrounds help to create a rounded approach to design, where all aspects of an environment are considered.
When approaching a project, Lynda and Bill work closely, sketching, deliberating, exploring possibilities. "Then we separate and focus our individual talents on different aspects of the solution," explains Bill. "After a time we regroup to make sure our ideas mesh. We both contribute to the aesthetics, to the functional elements. We educate each other. We debate and challenge each other."
And with every new project they ask: How can we improve the function and the aesthetic and create a product that can be manufactured? The answer lies somewhere between the world of wants and the world of needs. "The designer balances these worlds," says Lynda. "It's the perfect blending of pragmatism and creativity."
Chesser Schacht Design, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Best of NeoCon Gold Award for Systems Furniture for Passage Desking System, 1998
Best of NeoCon Silver Award for Storage and Filing for Meridian Stackable Storage Cabinets and Storage Towers, 1998