FROM DESIGN HISTORY: FAMOUS CHAIRS
Creating your own chair is a must for every true designer. The portfolio of all the major masters of the 20th century has at least one outstanding chair, whose appearance provoked a “Copernican revolution” in the field of interior design, and which has not been stopped talking about until now. Why are artists not attracted to tables or cabinets? If the cupboard is assigned the secondary role of the keeper of things, then we touch the table no less than with the chair. And, nevertheless, it is the chair that invariably occupies a leading position in the hit parade of designer’s favorite items.
The first designer chairs were the “Vienna Chairs” by Michael Tonet, which he created in the second half of the 19th century from bent wood. The combination of a very simple, lightweight, but solid construction and low price (due to mass production) made them incredibly popular. They remain incredibly popular until now; it will not be easy to find a person who has never sat in this chair. Thonet created twenty variants of his chair, but model No. 14 became the most famous. We now mean exactly that under the name “Viennese chair”. Finished to perfection, the design was assembled in only six parts. In the Art Nouveau era, only Tonet managed to create simple, beautiful and affordable furniture. His factory is the beginning of the history of industrial design. So, it all started with a chair.
And with the “valet chair” of the great Scottish designer and architect of the Art Nouveau era, Charles Mackintosh, the story of his versatility began. This is not just a chair – an object on which they sit. It serves as a hanger – you can hang a jacket or hat, screens on it – due to its size it is able to divide the space of the room into zones, and a light filter – the light penetrates through the holes between the back rails and parallel strips on the floor and the chair seat.
In 1960, the 35-year-old designer Vernen Panton created his ingenious Panton chair, which shows the whole world the opportunity to make a chair without legs, back and armrests. Made from a single piece of molded plastic, the Panton chair became the most famous chair of the 20th century. According to Werner, sitting on a chair should be as fun and interesting as in a game. Vernen’s items are really similar to the details of the children’s designer or cubes. The new Panton table-chair modification is a chair and a table “in one bottle”: put the chair on its side and you get a table.
The sensation of the Milan furniture salon in 1969 was the series of armchairs by Gaetano Pesce “UP”. This furniture is ironic and feminine; according to the designer, the human brain is divided into two parts: male and female. The male half is boring and straightforward. Guided by it, you can only create strict, direct things. Only the female half of the brain is truly creative, and it can inspire us to create truly original, vibrant, fun interior items. Pesce loves femininity and everything feminine, it is no coincidence that one of the seven “UP” armchairs was given the shape of a female body. A ball is attached to the chair – an ottoman. It can be pulled to itself or discarded over the entire length of the thread. It is in this, according to the artist, that the playful female essence is expressed.
A new approach to chairs and interior items was identified with the advent of Philip Stark. Probably no designer in history has created so many famous chairs. Moreover, Stark developed a whole philosophy of the subject in general and the chair in particular.
He was convinced that the expression and ability to communicate with a chair is no less than that of a true work of art. Stark called an object good only if the object combined functionality (or “helpfulness”), the ability to express criticism of society and make contact with its owner.
The ability to challenge a person to emotional contact, expression, philosophical overtones, “helpfulness” and the desire to interact with other interior items – all this makes the chair more than just an object. The chair turns into a cornerstone – the basis of any interior and a landmark item for any designer.