Theo is a family of furniture products designed for New Design Group by award winning British designer Simon Pengelly. In 2009 Theo began as a design brief to create a wooden stacking chair for use in churches; a market in which New Design Group had already been established for a number of years. The need came from a shift in the way churches are used which is now not only on Sundays but throughout the week for community activities such as crèches, concerts and cafés. Consequently, the need to quickly clear spaces of heavy and cumbersome pews has become an issue given the age of many of those who often undertake the job, and so the need for a light chair that can be expediently stacked and stored to maximise open space is increasingly relevant.


As well as being made wholly from wood, the design brief also required that the chairs link together and stack whilst linked, which presented a challenge in how much a single chair can weigh. The solution was to laminate the chair to achieve small, light sections that are inherently strong due to the combination of glue layers and wood veneers. The result is a wooden chair that has passed contract strength testing whilst weighing just 4kg. Due to its light weight, 3 chairs can be comfortably lifted and stacked on a purpose-designed trolley whilst linked.


The highly resolved nature of Theo’s design has seen it transcend from the ecclesiastical space into a multitude of environments in which it is equally suitable. The growth in popularity of the chair across a wide range of applications naturally led to the development of a matching family of Theo products. Each item in the Theo range embodies the elegant and purposeful aesthetic of the chair whilst being individually striking designs in their own right.