Djinn Furniture


Djinn chairs and Sofas were used in the Space Station V scenes in 2001. The furunituure was commercially available at the time, being "Designer Furniture", manufactured by Airborne in France. Unfortunately Airborne is no longer in business. However, the good news is that the furniture can be found. The bad news is that it is considered a "Mid Century" collectible type furniture, hence the prices can be rather high.

Contrary to what many have believed, the Djinn Chairs and sofas used in 2001 were not red, but rather a bright pink/magenta color. I had just purchased my first Djinn, a two seater sofa, which was covered in pink fabric. I was investigating materials to re-upholster it, and in fact had purchased some red stretch fabric to recover the sofa to make it match the ones used in 2001. At that time the, 70mm re-mastered version of 2001 was released. Someone who saw it in the UK, commented on the chairs as being pink, not red. This startled me. So I checked some old images I had, an when they were color balanced to correct the color shift, the images showed the chairs to be a pinkish magenta color.

At that point, I decided not to replace the fabric, but to clean and repair the damaged areas. The color hue of the pink fabric changes drastically in different lighting. In bright sunlight is looks magenta/pink. In fluorescent lighting it looks bright pink. But in dim lighting it appears red. Further checking of images from 2001 identified that the built-in benches in the Space Station also used the same fabric.

The cushions of these benches, which were made up of several cylindrical pads, were covered in pink fabric as well. When you think about it, this makes sense as the fabric on the chairs should match the fabric on the benches.

Djinn Sofa Restoration

The first piece of Djinn furniture I found was this two seater sofa. Although it is a sofa, it is rather small. I found it in Canada and had it shipped home. The customs agent kept asking how a "sofa" could only weigh a few kilograms. I think he thought I was trying to bring something different in to the country, so I ended up showing him a photo. Fortunately he didn't ask why I wanted a pink sofa.

In these images you can see the sagging foam padding under the fabric cover.

As can be seen in these images, the foam rubber padding has deteriorated.


All of the old rubber was removed and the frame cleaned. The Djinn furniture has a very simple structure, consisting of formed steel tubing with elastic webbing that supports the foam rubber padding. The seating webbing was tightened up. The old foam rubber was used as patterns for the replacement padding. The burlap was cleaned and reglued in place at the ends of the sofa. Next the new foam padding was glued in place and the edges of the two sides of foam padding glued to form the rounded flowing contour which is characteristic of the Djinn furniture.


Here is what the sofa looks like after restoration of the padding and prior to reinstallation of the fabric cover.


The cover was washed and some small holes repaired prior to reinstallation. Here's a photo of the restored sofa and chair along with a table I made up to complete a display. This image was taken prior setting up at the Playboy Mansion for the Space Frontier Foundation's Arthur Clarke Gala.


Djinn Chair #1 Restoration

I finally found a Djinn chair to go with the sofa, however it was covered in a coarse blue/gray fabric. So in addition to needing the foam rubber padding replaced, the fabric cover needed to be replaced as well.

This particular chair did not have a zipper in the cover, instead the fabric had been hand-stitched together.

After all the old foam rubber was removed and the chair frame cleaned, the seating webbing was tightened.


The back rest webbing was made of pure rubber straps and had petrified with age, so it needed replacing. Identical webbing material could not be found, so a wider elastic webbing similar to the type used on the seat area, was used instead.


Then the new foam rubber was attached to the frame and the edges seamed together.

A new cover was made to the pattern of the original, using fabric which matched the sofa fabric.


Djinn Chair #2 Restoration

I found another Djinn chair, fortunately this one was in the pink fabric. The chairs are very small and lend themselves to being shipped in a box as shown here. This particular chair has the fabric covering in fair condition, with only a few very small holes. The foam rubber will need replacing as before. Some repair will be needed to the zipper, but having the cover in the correct color saves a lot of work.

Restoration of this chair will occur when I have some free time,....hopefully sometime before the next ice age.