Modern Restaurant Furniture, Meet This Designer

Industrial designer and West Michigan native Joey Ruiter teamed up with Grand Rapids Chair Company for the third consecutive year for a bold new take on modern restaurant furniture, the Leo Collection.

By GR Chair

Black Leo chairs in retro diner.

Always ahead of the curve, industrial designer Joey Ruiter world won a Best of NeoCon Gold award just two years into his career and currently holds over 25 patents in furniture and transportation design.

Alfred designer Joey Ruiter at work.

Ruiter turned his passion for restoring cars and bicycles, something that he started at a young age, into a full-time career. Ruiter’s signature style strips a product down to its most simplistic form, but still manages to celebrate a refreshing take on restaurant chairs.

You’ll notice throughout most of his designs a genuine pursuit of simplicity. By removing the bells and whistles, his designs allow ample room for the user to be the focal point—which is something that originally attracted Grand Rapids Chair Company to his work.

VP of Marketing and Customer Relationtions, Jill Frey echoes this sentiment, stating, “Working with Joey has always been about more than just great product design; he brings a unique perspective, pushing our limits and propelling our entire brand forward. We attribute much of our recent success to his efforts and influence at Grand Rapids Chair. It’s easy to see by the interest generated from the design community as well as the happy customers sitting in his chairs."

Ruiter drew inspiration for the Leo Collection from the suspension on his 1962 Lincoln Continental. The four vertical lines in the back of the chair reflect the simple tubing of the car’s updated rear suspension. Ruiter noted, “I try to keep an unrestricted eye open, so inspiration is never limited in a particular category.”

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Image of Lincoln car with white Alfred chairs.

In addition to designing modern restaurant furniture, like Leo and Sadie, Ruiter has made waves in the transportation world with his artistically conceptual motorcycles, bicycles, boats and a buggy.