Styles, shapes, space. What did folks do to fit into a space, fit into a chair, fit on a throne. Our daily lives are so crowded with news, stories, headlines, we have become aware of the space around us. How do we find enough space? What is enough space? Did you know that space is calculated based on job type and position?
Did you read in Yahoo News on Monday September 12, 2011, White Castle is being sued by a stocky stock broker for not being able to fit his 290lb frame into the chain’s stationary booths? According to the customer, White Castle is in violation of the American with Disabilities Act. “I just want to sit down like a normal person,” he says. He compares himself to a pregnant woman and the handicapped.
Look at England’s Henri VIII, a really big guy. He would never fit into a White Castle booth. You can be sure his throne and furniture, of the 16th century Tudor period, was massive. Oak was the wood of the day, hard wood, hard to carve, hard to shape, but strong enough to accommodate a big person like Henri VIII.
Good space is premium. How much do we need to live and work and play? At work you may have a cubicle or a private office. At home you may enjoy a cozy, small, warm room with human scale ceilings (8′) or a large room with cathedral ceilings (13′ or higher). But the seating has to give the comfort you seek in your place of refuge.
Space in a chair, how big should it be? Chairs in the home, chairs in the office, chairs in your favorite restaurant. A place like White Castle, MacDonald’s and Burger King are people movers. They want you to eat and leave. Make the diners too comfortable, folks hang to visit with friends. Go where you pay a pretty price for a meal they better give you good seating. Then maybe, just maybe, you’ll stay for dessert.
So folks, have a seat. Try them out before you bring them to your home or office. How do you decide? Each have a purpose. With chair types and styles. Even Thoreau, in 1845, in his small cabin on the banks of Walden Pond, where he built a 10′ by 15′ house furnished with a bed, a table, a small desk and lamp, and three chairs — He wrote about his chairs, “one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society.” Today we have special chairs for every activity from watching games on television to working at the computer.
Office chairs need to be what is called “ergonomic.” It has to be adjustable, adjustable height, adjustable arms, adjustable pitch. A chair that gives you all those choices will cost a little more, but it is worth the price. Be sure the fabric is cleanable and durable. Leather is always great, but costly. Today, some imitation leathers are close to the real thing, just ask the seller if it is durable. Be sure to buy from a reliable source. Fabrics gather dust, especially black, but there are great fabrics that look good and are practical. Ask the seller to advise you. The image above is a “Herman Miller” hard mesh type, a material that does well. You don’t need comfort in the office, you need body support.
At home you need comfort. Your feet need to touch the floor, the seat should be sized to fit your body, the back should have the pitch that allows your feet to touch the floor. A standard chair has a seat height of 17-18 inches.
This is the “Barcelona Chair.” A contemporary classic design by Mies van der Rohe, designed in 1929. For most, because the seat is deep, your feet will not touch the floor. It is a beautiful design, found in most corporate offices to impress.
The image to the right is a 1925 Marcel Breuer contemporary classic. The “Cesca” chair is well-designed, functional, comfortable and practical. Do you recognize this popular chair? Have you owned one?
Remember the “Mitt chair” made by Stendig? You tell me, can we really tell White Castle to build bigger booths? Do you have chairs you love, do they give you comfort, do they give you the space you need to function, do they support your body?