Saturday, April 01, 2006

50 Best Chairs

Some people obsess over cars, for me it’s chairs. I’ve been meaning to write something chair related ever since I saw this in the design museum. It’s Jerszy Seymour’s “Easy Chair”, for me it is a one stop lesson in product aesthetics. Let your eye fall on it, subconsciously you will scan over the whole form wherever you start, either from the legs up or the seat down taking the arms and the back in without even knowing it. This is because Seymour has designed it so all lines are continuous. All lines/edges follow and accentuate the form, some accelerate downwards only for your eye to loop round the bottom of the leg and carry on. It is this flow of lines which makes an object appear light and effortless. An AUDI TT on the other hand has many lines which hit each other or the floor at tangents creating an altogether different aesthetic. The AUDI appears heavy and solid, while the easy chair appears light, casual and fun.

The fun form of the easy chair means it suits its vibrant colour palette, I’m getting bored of everything minimal and white at the moment. And, it stacks, is weatherproof and wipe clean, so top marks for function! I admit it's not to all tastes, I probably wouldn't have it in my own house.

However… no design is perfect, if it was I would be out of a job, but I think Seymour's comes fairly close. Ok so it’s not a swanky leather office chair, or a chrome Bauhaus lounger, but I’m getting bored of all that by now. That’s ancient history. It’s also the most recent design in today’s “50 best chairs” article in the Independent. I would have to disagree with about 46 of their 50 choices (probably because they had Max Fraser on the panel… I‘ll explain more later) , but then I’m a perfectionist. I would find it hard to choose 50 average chairs, I hold only a few dozen as good, a handful as great, but only one as the best ever. This is the only design both me and The Independent agree on: the Eames Aluminium group EA108 office chair. I’m sat on one now, I spent all my first wages on it and it wiped me out for a month but I don’t regret it one bit. It’s comfortable, classic and I would get back what I paid for it tomorrow on ebay!

I will try and write more on this passion of mine, maybe do my own top 5. For the time being here’s a few of my other favourites, some you may know, some you probably wont. Poul Kjaerholm’s ‘PK24’, Ernest Race’s ‘Antelope chair’, ‘Dolly’ by Citterio and Low and Sori Yanagi’s ‘Butterfly’ stool. Oh, and as for Max Fraser, I went to one of his lectures last year, he spent two hours telling us how great his career was and how he spends most of his time going to designer parties. And he gets paid for it!

NB: new 'Creative Links' section in the sidebar >>>

27 Comments:

Blogger Holly Finch said...

hey you chair spotter!

the butterfly stool is beautiful!

7:15 AM  
Blogger steve said...

I am a chair spotter I confess the first thing I noticed on the London Assembly webcast were the Aeron chairs by Chadwick and Stumpf you were all sat on. I'm saying nothing.

Yanagi's Butterfly stool is beautiful, while I'm strictly an Industrial Designer, it's furniture design which is what I feel drawn to. I think it's the nearest I can get to sculpture while remaining a true designer as opposed to an artist.

10:27 AM  
Blogger fjl said...

I love the PK24 and Butterfly. Very Romanesque. Do you do the well worn type that fit round your bum and your cup of tea? :-) At the end of the day these are so often my favourites. x

5:32 AM  
Blogger steve said...

Well, you are getting into the realms of the question, "What is good design?"

Maybe good design is a beat up old lounger from a car boot sale. After all it's comfortable and cheap. But some argue that if a chair is uncomfortable, yet attractive then it is still good design because 95% of the time it's function is to look attractive.

It's a massive subject, the reason some chairs don't appeal to most, but they do me is often due to technological innovation. This is why some of my favourites may seem odd choices.

7:53 AM  
Blogger Holly Finch said...

well spotted indeed......and i have to say they were super comfy!

11:51 AM  
Blogger steve said...

They had better be super comfy for £650 each!!!

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Blogger SILA KING said...

I don't understand about chairs, but Ikea's 2 Pounds chair is the one I can afford.
Take care lovely!

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Blogger fjl said...

Stevie will you jazz up this blog? You could have a little logo for KCU, I thought of an old fashioned steam train, as per Cat Steven's peace train, ( Old Rockers!) with a balloon heart waving about on its front. :-)

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Blogger steve said...

I have serious issues with Ikea ever since I saw a documentary showing African child labourers welding up their chairs without any eye protection, and chemical etching (in an acid bath) the chair frames with their bare hands. Same as the Nike dilemma, is it giving them opportunities or abusing them?

FJL, I have absolutely no clue about CSS coding, I will try and jazz it up. Any good websites to recommend on CSS? I have no idea where to start!

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I'll check out the best online advice x

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those of you that like design furniture or have a passion for chairs, check out this little shop in west london who have a good range of second hand and new design furniture, I have bought a couple of eames chairs from them which were in excellent condition and at good prices.
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