Tuesday, 24 April 2012

SIT: 20 Chairs, 20 Architects

This article was first published in Architecture Ireland #262.

“What is it about designers and chairs?” exclaim my parents any time design comes up in conversation. The reality is that the chair is an object that has been central to life and culture for thousands of years, and as such has become the embodiment of the cultural changes and technological advancements designers love to celebrate in their exploration of an archetype. But I can never explain this to my parents as well as Deyan Sudjic described it in his 2008 publication The Language of Things:

“The chair ... has been around for at least three millennia – long enough for it to have assumed an authority of its own, distinct from that of the people who sit in it. In so doing, it has irretrievably confused sign with substance. There are seats of power, country seats, ex cathedra pronouncements, tenured chairs, and of course, chairmen, to say nothing of those occupying hot seats, driving seats, back seats and Cabinet seats. The chair is at heart an object that must be described as being useful, and yet it is also regarded as culturally significant because it has a long history that is so closely associated with so many purposes that go far beyond utility.”
O’Driscoll Furniture hosts an exhibition entitled 'SIT: 20 Chairs, 20 Architects’ in their showroom on Lombard Street, Dublin 2 until 19 May. The concept behind the exhibition is simple – 20 architects select a chair each to display, with an explanation of the importance of that chair to them. Some architects have chosen designs of their own, or chairs that have featured in spaces of their design, others have selected chairs that have a personal relevance or resonance. Needless to say there will be more than a few icons, such as Arne Jacobsen’s Egg Chair, pictured above. For more information, visit www.oddesign.com