Chairs: 4 examples of simple and straightforward design
January 1, 1970
I am writing this article while at my desk on a chair that I have bought just a couple of weeks ago. And I have to admit that, before I actually bought it, I spent a good amount of time doing research and trying to find the perfect chair that would suit my needs and preferences. And the funny thing is that, after buying it, I have spent maybe 10 seconds in all thinking about it, even though I sit down on it at least 3 hours on an average day. But in those 10 seconds in which I did think about it, the idea for this article was born.
If you take a moment to think about it, you too can admit that many of us take for granted things that we use on a daily basis. And one of the most overlooked pieces of furniture that we might not give a second thought, even though it deserves out full attention, is the chair. A quite interesting fact to consider, especially in a modern society when many of our jobs and daily activities involve sitting down. So let’s take a few minutes, analyze this a little more thoroughly and pay a little attention to this essential piece of furniture, as well as its purpose and design.
Just a few words about chair design and its purpose
The sole purpose of a chair is to be a tool that we can use in our daily lives. Since its beginning and until this day it has been a basic piece of furniture, part of any household and to this day it has not lost its importance. So what does designing a chair entitle exactly? I can honestly say that, before I began paying more attention to furniture and objects design, I believed that it was fairly simple. But nothing ever is. A little bit of research has resulted in me finding out that, when it comes to designing a chair, there are several factors that need to be taken into account such as:
- Intended usage
These are just a few of them and there are many that even derive from these. For example, depending on its intended usage, you may need to stack the chairs; fold them so that they take as little space as possible; have them made in a unique design to fit the surrounding space; etc. Therefore, the point I am trying to make by telling you this is that even though we may not think much of a simple object as a chair, it takes a lot of planning and thinking when designing it. And, especially in this modern era when function is not enough anymore, design has to play a huge part in the making of a chair and it has to make a statement in order to attract attention.
At this point you may be thinking that, in order to take all of the elements above into account, the design of a chair has to be complicated and elaborate. But this is not the case. I will actually show you in the following part of the article a few brilliant examples of design done simple and right. I will ask you to look through the following examples, take note of their simplicity and think about the fact that their designers have thoroughly thought of every element on the list above and many more besides them.
“…a mix of contrasting elements…”
We start with a design from Poland-based designer Marta Adamczyk, who introduces us to the K1 Chair right from her studio in Moskou. Her design offers us a minimalist version of the modern chair. She describes this design as a mix of contrasting elements, which is a big part of its appeal and charm. And these are quite noticeable even at first sight. We see the roughness of the metal legs combined with the rich wood finish or the sharp angles mixing with the polished and rounded features of the wood seat and backrest. All of these elements have been well thought of and end up making a beautiful final product worthy of your attention.
“…a chair that blends with the natural curves of the human body…”
From rough and sharp edges we move on to a more delicate take on design. This design was inspired by the continuous looking lines of a bike and their close connection with the human body. And this is exactly what the designer, Jan Waterson, was hoping to achieve with his design of the Velo Chair. His concept consists of the chair blending with itself, appearing to be made almost of a continuous piece. But, at the same time, it should be also modeling after its user, forming a close connection, being almost a natural continuous part of the body. This design speaks volume when it comes to the level of comfort and I think that this is truly what the designer intended.
“…art nouveau combined with elements of mid century modernism…”
Tom Faulkner brings us a gorgeous example of art nouveau combined with elements of mid century modernism. This mix results in this unique chair design, properly entitled “Vienna”. With a striking look, marked by its delicate features, this chair manages to hide its strength behind its seemingly fragile appearance. Its legs and frame are cut from steel plate using a water method, which makes the entire structure defy the normal expectations of sturdiness. Its upholstery beautifully compliments the frame lines and you can even customize it. It comes in several different finishes, materials and colors, giving the client the wonderful chance to alter it in order to fit his preferences.
“…the most remarkable Portuguese chair design since 1953…”
As the last piece on today’s design list, I have for you what is known as “the most remarkable Portuguese chair design since 1953″. This chair comes with a charming story, which I am going to tell in very short. If you want the full version please visit the designer’s website to learn more. The original design for this chair it is said to have been created by Master Gonçalo Rodrigues dos Santos. He made this chair with the help of a tube bending machine, his own creation, which he kept a secret from the rest of the world. He and his chair became popular after 1953, when the chair was approved for its level of comfort, reaching a popularity peak in the 1960s. After the Portuguese revolution in 1974, both the chair and his designer disappeared without a trace. The chair and its design were saved by Alexandre Caldas, a young designer keen on keeping the Portuguese patrimony alive through his passion for design. As you can notice, the idea of simplicity, minimalism and comfort were present even in the 1950s, without ignoring the people’s desire for good design.
With this last design, I leave you for now. I hope you have enjoyed this article and that it was worth the read. And from now on, try to pay more attention to the little things in your life, because they deserve it and it will pay big time in the long run.