Chairs, in their nature, are designed to be functional pieces of furniture yet in today’s world have to be so much more than that. The design of a good chair, whether it is an office chair, swivel chair, executive chair, café chair, visitors chair etc… it is paramount that the chairs have to fit in with the décor of the environment they are to be placed in.
People seem to build a relationship with chairs , not only do our bodies seem to mould and wear the chair, but some can even suggest that they are the most human-like pieces of furniture with their legs, arms and backs. Gary Lysaght from the FKL Architects based in Dublin comments on his favourite chair the Low Pad “It has the imprint of the human form: wide at the hips, narrowing to shoulders and square at the head.”
We may have our own opinions on what makes a good chair but chair collectors and architects Simon and Tadgh O’Driscoll asked 20 architects to select their favourite chair and these 20 are part of an exhibition called SIT:20 chairs, 20 architects.
Simon O’Driscoll comments “We wanted to get architects’ perspectives on what they consider to be good design,”
The result was a very varied, but solid range of chairs which just goes to show just how intricate and diverse chair design actually is. As you could probably imagine all the modern classic chairs were there from the Egg chair by Arne Jacobsen to the bent plywood chairs designed by Ray and Charles Eames that, at the time represented a breakthrough in technology.
It seems that even though the emphasis was on the architects opinions of the chairs design in relation to functionality as well as aesthetics, the architects were forgiven for just choosing the chairs that they loved. Emmett Scanlon of Cast Architecture chose Arne Jacobsen’s Ant Chair:
“It’s a sensual, elegant and beautiful object and I didn’t consider if it was comfortable. It is not stable. We warn people before they sit down, in case they topple off, but I still sit on this chair and its beautiful imbalance encourages me each day to strive to find some better architectural poise.”