The modern chair is something that perhaps we take for granted, but its evolution and development is a direct reflection of the social and economic status of society. In the 60’s, lives began to change with scheduling and demands in the work environment and a relatively sudden realization of more disposable income. There was a feeling that a new era had been entered…the era of Modernism. Meanwhile, technology was advancing at breakneck speed with the discovery of new materials that made it entirely possible to turn dreams and concepts of products into reality. The humble or ornate chair had been displaced by a new piece of furniture designed amidst a general conceptualization that more is not better.
In this series, the designers and architects who brought these modern marvels into our homes and offices will be profiled, how their innovations became possible, as well as the designs that continue to evolve in the 21st century and what it has meant to our daily lives. So have a seat, and discover more about the development of our beloved modern chairs and possess a broader appreciation of this furniture that fulfills our desire to sit in style.
The use of new materials, such as steel in its many forms; glass, used by Walter Gropius; molded plywood, such as that used by Charles and Ray Eames; and of course plastics, were formative in the creation of these new designs. They would have been considered pioneering, even shocking in contrast to what came before. This interest in new and innovative materials and methods – produced a certain blending of the disciplines of technology and art. And this became a working philosophy among the members of the Deutscher Werkbund. The Werkbund was a government-sponsored organization to promote German art and design around the world. Many of those involved with it including Mies van der Rohe, Lilly Reich and others, were later involved in the Bauhaus School, and so it is not surprising perhaps that the Bauhaus School took on the mantle of this philosophy. They evolved a particular interest in using these new materials in such a way that they might be mass-produced and therefore make good design more accessible to the masses.