Next to tables, chairs are probably the most important furniture around the world. It is no surprise, as the two are often linked with each other. Though these two can be separated from time to time, but more often than not, they are part of a set, such as in the dining set. Also, chairs are probably the most numerous of all the furniture found in one house. Looking at the average table and chair set, they probably outnumber the former, four to one, an unsurprising fact, given how much of our lives are spent sitting on one. Maybe it is the other way around that the ubiquity of the chair made us sit on it more. Maybe if there were lesser chairs, then we’d sit more on tables. But then, by that time, chairs would be tables, and tables would be chairs. But that discussion is beside the point.
Chairs also come in different shapes and sizes. There are chairs with a defined and solid body. Then there are also chairs that form a more confusing or abstract shape. There even are chairs that do not have a form at all. Such flexibility in form can only come from how chairs can be made from different materials. This flexibility in chair manufacture also means that chairs can also be made by different people. Maybe more commonly shaped and rigid types of chairs can be made by innovative local furniture makers. Take the Bistro Table and Stool set from Admire Works in St. Petersburg, Florida, which has a very minimalistic yet elegant and functional design.
Chairs as Pieces of Art
Aside from being just furniture for people to sit on, chairs can be works of art. Chairs have come from different art houses that inspired art movements. The Wassily Chair, or the Model B3 chair, was designed and created by Marcel Breuer, who was the chief of the cabinet-making workshop at Bauhaus, which is home to the Bauhaus Movement. More chairs from this movement are the Barcelona Chair by Miles Van Der Roche and Lilly Reich, The Chaise Lounge by Le Corbusier, and the Dunn Modern Black Leather Lounge Chair.
The Museum of Modern Art in New York hosts some of the most artistic and elegant chairs ever produced in history. Some of which include the Butterfly Chair from Buenos Aires, as designed by the collective Grupo Astral. The Chaise A, which is primarily found in all restaurants across the country, is also a work of art due to its history and is an icon of industrial design. Some chairs are even designed with MOMA in mind, like the Eames Molded Plastic Armchair as designed by Charles and Ray Eames.
Then there is the art piece called the “Broken Chair.” This monumental sculpture was created by Swiss artist Daniel Berset and carpenter Louis Genève. It stands across the street from the Palace of Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. The 12-meter wooden sculpture stands as in opposition to land mines and cluster bombs.
Probably, one of the most famous chair designs in existence is the Cesca or B32 (without arms) and B64 (with arms). It is also a product of the Bauhaus movement as well as being another brainchild of Marcel Breuer. It consisted of a tubular steel frame and a rattan seat and backing. The Cesca’s inspiration is said to come from Breuer looking at tubular bicycle handles as he was brainstorming for a design. The chair that was said to be “bent like a macaroni” stood for the purist manifestation of Bauhaus ideals. This chair is also in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, where curator Cara McCarty referred to it as among the top 10 most important chairs of the 20th Century. The name Cesca comes from the name of Breuer’s daughter, Francesca.
Chairs as an Extension of Personality
Due to the expressiveness of the chair, it is probably the most human of all furniture. In the realm of film production alone, there is no better prop to visually signify a character’s attributes than the chair that he or she is associated with. This fact can be extended in real life too. Aside from the bed, the chair is probably the one that most personal in any home as evidenced by family members calling out “My Chair!!”