UNDULATING

UNDULATING

Cardboard wiggle chair

Cardboard wiggle side chair

FURNITURE DESIGNS
1969–92

Frank Gehry’s wiggle side chair was the beginning of his most pervasive innovative ideas. While I was working in the interior design department at Bloomingdale’s, New York, Mr. Gehry came in to demonstrate the strength and comfort of his side chair. He climbed up onto the seat and jumped up and down. All of us, interior designers and furniture salespeople, watched in horror, but he knew something we all didn’t know, because he was smiling the whole time. This most amazing chair was impervious to the tests.

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CHAIRS: HISTORY AND THE BAUHAUS

CHAIRS: HISTORY AND THE BAUHAUS

 


Brno Flat Bar Chair

The Brno Flat Bar Chair (1930) from KnollStudio® is a masterpiece of structure, paying tribute to early modernism’s gravity-defying skyscrapers. Designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe to have a cantilevered base, the Brno offers the comfort of an arm chair without the old-line stuffiness or bulk of upholstery. Leather covers the cushions for long-enduring appearance retention and ease of maintenance-two especially important features for dining rooms, offices, conference rooms and waiting areas.

What is this all about? How famous is this Brno Chair, and who likes it? Well, it is historically as important as King Tut’s Throne and Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Chair, but only a select few know about this flat bar chair. You do not have to like modern furniture, nor do you have to own one of these beauties, but let me tell you…this chair is handsome, strong, and has amazing tactile sensations with its gorgeous supple leather and smooth steel frame. And as an owner it sets you apart from the rest of the world. It is impressive to own even just one.

Barcelona Chair

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Chair and Stool (1929), originally created to furnish his German Pavilion at the International Exhibition in Barcelona, have come to epitomize modern design.

Barcelona Pavillion, Spain

Mies van der Rohe designed the chair to serve as seating for the king and queen of Spain, while the stool

Barcelona Stool

was intended to accommodate their attendants. The Barcelona chair and stool is one of the most stylish and elegant pieces of modern furniture of the 20th Century and probably the most recognized piece of modern furniture around. Still produced to his original specifications, this chair and stool are of quality fit for royalty.

Bench classical seating

Funny feet seating are still popular. These designs are considered classical classics. The funny feet seating is in complete contrast to the modern classics.

Classic Dining Chair features animal feet

If you think about it, you’ll realize why a new philosophy was needed. We finally made it out of Victoriana with its clutter. By the time Mies van der Rohe and Walter Gropius established the Bauhaus in 1929, we had been exploring new ways of design.

Bauhaus

Other styles evolved like Arts and Crafts Movement (today called Mission), Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles. The art, architecture and designs of the Bauhaus were the exact opposite of anything that had come before. More common today are the country and classical reproduction designs of the 18th century.

Do you have room for both modernist and classical designs?

Have you ever thought you could add one of the modernist beauties into your classical interior for the pièce de résistance, or a fabulous authentic antique in your modern interior?

Please comment and feel free to ask questions. Come back next week for more surprises.

CHAIRS. WHAT ABOUT THEM?

CHAIRS. WHAT ABOUT THEM?

Heaven. Are there any chairs in heaven? Wait a minute. I heard we get to bring our favorite chairs with us. Do you have a favorite chair? Oh, I know … an Archie Bunker

Archie Bunker’s Chair from “All In the Family”

chair, right smack in the middle of heaven. The one that was right smack in the middle of his family room. I bet Archie is up there sitting around in his easy chair with its winged back, wide seat, arms and comfy soft cushions, poo pooing everyone looking his way. “You’re jealous, you want it, you can’t have it! It’s mine.”

Do you really want Archie’s chair? Wait, you haven’t seen anything yet. Reality is, way back when, chairs were only for royalty and the privileged. The rest of the crowd, if allowed to sit in the presence of a sovereign, sat on their buttocks … on the ground. I would have grabbed the first rock. The first sitting device had to be a rock. Then someone figured out how to shape natural material, like clay, like bamboo, like wood, and later even cardboard into a place to seat oneself.

Clay Chair

King Tut, XVIII dynasty, circa 2630 B.C. A golden throne made of sheet gold worked around a wooden base and inlaid with faience, colored glass, lapis, lazuli, and calcite.

Frank Gehry's cardboard Wiggle Chair 1972

Did you know if you remained seated while others stand, you considered yourself superior? Chairs have changed dramatically since the first rock and so has our philosophy. I don’t know about you, but if someone is standing addressing me while I am seated, I will invite them to join me, or I will stand. This facilitates eye contact and offers equality.

Egyptian chairs were thrones, hard and stiff, the lesser folk serving the one on the throne, got to sit on stools. That’s a seat with no back. I love a good stool, how about you? You can place yourself wholly on it or part way on the edge, either way it is easy to get up and out.

Chairs are a different species. Did you read in my blog last week, about the stocky stockbroker and the White Castle table and bench? He couldn’t get in, imagine if he did, how would he get out?

Chairs change styles, sizes and scope of designs depending on the country and culture.

The famous Frank Gehry‘s layers of cardboard chair is here in this blog, namely “Wiggle Chair.” It was innovative then, and still today is most unusual. Gehry is an out-of-the-box thinker.

Yoda Easy Chair by Kenneth Cobonpue

The bamboo easy chair is an innovative, trendy 21st century design, reminiscent of Frank Gehry’s cardboard chair of the 70’s above. Mr. Gehry visited New York Bloomies when I was a young designer working in the design department. He demonstrated the strength of the chair by standing on it and jumping several times. The chair was impervious to the test.

More to come.

Do you have a favorite chair? Would you take it to heaven or perhaps to the beach?

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