thinking about :: every chair I sat in today

Katie | August 30, 2010

A very long time ago, I read somewhere* that the average person sits in seven different chairs every day, and had an idea; to photograph every chair I sat in for a day. Here’s how I got on:

Eero Saarinen Tulip Chair

I spent most of the day sitting in this chair working at my dining table (you guessed it, an Eero Saarinen Tulip Table!). I needed the cushion to get myself high enough up to work comfortably on the laptop – they were obviously designed for…

…eating, not working!

My favourite armchair

I only sat in this chair very briefly to do my shoe laces up. I bought it about six years ago at Camden market and blew my chances of getting it at a decent price, by greeting the vendor with “that’s it; that’s the one – I have to have it”!

District Line tube chair

Another District Line tube chair

Didn’t sit on either one for very long, but was very grateful for both. (Also felt a bit of a pillack taking the pictures, but in the name of art…)

A lovely sofa in the V&A members' room

I love these sofas and was very happy to curl up in the corner of one of them for a good natter with a good friend.

And another District Line tube chair

These are my favourite type of tube chairs – especially when travelling on my own on a busy tube.

Last District Line tube train for the day

And then it was home to my own corner of my own sofa for TV and take-away…

My corner of my sofa

So, eight chairs in my day – above average, despite a fairly non-eventful day. What interested me was despite all being very different, these chairs had the basics in common – a horizontal space for sitting on, a back for leaning on and something to keep them off the floor; the things, I suppose, that make them all chairs. Martino Gamper’s Confronting the Chair, in which he attempts to create 100 chairs in 100 days from remnants of other chairs, is a brilliant exploration of this thought.

The chair is in many ways the perfect example of 3D design. Along with aesthetics, chair design has to take into account how the chair will be used and how comfortable it will be for the user, together with requirements such as size, stacking, folding, weight and durability.  Aesthetic trends, the emergence of new technologies, ergonomics, social and cultural developments are all reflected in chair design. (Design Museum) And apparently; the population of the western world spends at least a third of its life time sitting in a chair, ( so chairs are pretty crucial in the world of design.

Further reading and watching for the especially geeky:

  • (a blog all about chairs)
  • (A Century of Chairs at Design Museum)
  • (99 contemporary seating innovations)

(*I can’t remember where I read this and would love to provide a credit, so do let me know if you know where this statistic comes from. Also, I’m pretty sure the idea to photograph them was mine, but it was such a long time ago, do let me know if I’ve nicked it and need to credit that too!)

Further Reading for the Especially Geeky ::

Founding Editor – Katie Treggiden

Having established confessions of a design geek in 2010, Katie Treggiden has gone on to a career in design journalism, writing for titles such as The Guardian, The Telegraph, Elle Decoration, Stylist, Design Milk and Ideal Home. In 2014, she launched Fiera, an independent magazine dedicated to discovering new talent at the world’s design fairs. Her second book, Makers of East London, was published in 2015.

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