It is amazing to know that the chair has evolved in the last 150 years to a greater degree than any other piece of furniture.
TAGGED UNDER: Furniture
“Eventually everything connects – people, ideas, objects, etc., … the quality of the connections is the key to quality per se.” (J. & M. Neuhart & R. Eames, Eames Design: The Work of the Office of Charles and Ray Eames, Harry N. Abrams, New York 1989, p. 266).
The concept of connections is essential for the art of design, and especially when it comes to the design of chairs. It is because there is no other piece of furniture which may offer so many possibilities to create connections to the same degree or extent as the chair does. And due to this fact, there have been plenty of efforts and resources invested by designers throughout a longer period of time even longer than for other furniture pieces. In our modern times and apart from the auto vehicle, the chair is the most written about, designed, studied and famous art object.
Indeed, it has always been the number of connections that influenced the success a type of chair enjoyed both for the design art and industry, and for the large market, for the great public. Apart from their number, the quality and variety of the connections can also have an impact on the designer’s chances of success. At the same time, chairs may address a certain or several specific needs, habits and tastes. If we are to take into account the functional aspect of such a type of furniture, chairs can make both psychological and physiological connections with the persons sitting on them. And these connections are made through the chair’s materials and form. At the same time, a chair may be the embodiment of certain values and meanings which can connect with the user at certain specific levels – intellectual, cultural, emotional, aesthetic or even spiritual. Also, there is another level at which the structural components within a chair’s design can result in fundamental connections. Also, a chair can connect both visually and functionally with the context in which it is used. This context can include other objects and styles, of course. In a larger sense, chair design connects with different ideologies and mentalities, production approaches and to various economic theories.
In the past 150 years, the evolution of chair design has been parallel to the development of other fields such as architecture, technology, and so on. This evolution has mirrored the change of social needs and concerns to such a degree that one could actually say it may in fact encapsulate the entire design history. George Nelson, the author “Chairs” (1953) has stated that: “Every truly original idea – every innovation in design, every new application of materials, every technical invention for furniture – seems to find its most important expression in a chair.” Nowadays, this may find its perfect reflection in the development of more economically built and better functioning chairs. It is a highly competitive market, the one of office seating products. Because of that, it continuously requires new technical advances and performances, because it is also more and more controlled by tougher health and safety legislation’s. Also, there is an increasing interest for the workforces’ well-being from the part of corporations and companies.
Nonetheless, the chair’s function as an object for us to sit on has not changed and obviously could never be changed. But to achieve good solutions for the problems which are posed by this object can often be a challenging, demanding and complex task. That is mostly because another obvious fact is that chairs are meant to support people of different ages, sizes, shapes, for different time lengths and for various purposes. Such purposes may include eating, waiting, reading, writing, resting, an office task and many more. Let’s not forget the social aspect of chair sitting. Each sitting position is actually charged with its very own social importance.
Apart from technical aspects related to the designs of the chair and from how sitters can connect physically and psychologically with certain forms depending on various contexts of functionality, chairs are at the same time designed for reasons that have to deal with contents of symbolism, fashion and aesthetics. Thus, out of all the furniture types, the chair is the one that can boost people’s self-esteem and can be used to prove one’s “good taste” to the others.