furniture existentialism

What should a chair be when its not being sat on?

Come on furniture designers!!! Should the chairs form become of some other use when not being sat on? I guess i would like to know what everyone thinks about “purpose being assigned to form”. momentary use. impulsive action. whats the point of having a chair? what is a chair?
what should a chair look like?

thats a question I’ve been struggling with.

One response:

On some level ALL furnishings reflect back to us how we want to be perceived. Aesthetic choices have as much weight as pure ergonomics. If a chair is a chair for an hour a day, what is it the other 23 hrs?

Acknowledging that millions of dollars of ergonomics research goes into workplace seating, final choices or look, materials, cost and perceived status of the chair as an object are factors that influence purchase options.

The Barcelona chair exudes so much High Modern style and yet some have argued that it has poor ergonomics(Galen Krantz-“The Chair”)

Not directly but Marcel Duchamp has taught us that a upturned bucket can be a chair.

good thread.

a good piece of furniture should be loud enough to give you a memory, yet subtle enough to advance with time. it’s not like you go to store and buy a chair and it’s exactly what you wanted because it’s comfortable and fits in with other objects around your living room. a good chair should be somewhere between architectural demensions and design. it’s more important to achieve a balance transmitting a sense of uniqueness as it relates to space and time than discarding that for a lesser cuase of style. that’s where most designers fail. they concentrate on style thinking style is the manifestation of being in tune with time and space when in reality style is just an unconditional side effect; not the main objective. that’s why it’s harder to design a chair as apposed to a fancy reading light! although some may argue that any object could fall into category. but i think what sets furniture apart is it’s strange contradicting qualities such as weight, volume, structure, material, and finish. other objects have lesser problematic because they’re virtually technology on the go. you can’t say the same about furniture, specially things like chairs.

The thing that differentiates Design from Art is its pragmatic constraints that must adress very specific ‘functional’ objectives.

If a chair does not first address the functional problem of ‘supporting the body in a sitting position’ - does it just become a piece of sculpture?

On the other hand the problem of sitting has been addressed in so many different ways in history that the communicative/symbolic aspects of chair design has overtaken the limited modernist/positivist/functionalist perspectives on chair design. It has become more about semiotics and meaning.

There is also another factor that can be taken into account in the critique of form in chair design - the economic/financial constraints in the production of chairs - You need to be able to manufacture/produce and sell the chairs to a receptive market. If you don’t care about the target market you might as well go ahead and make a peice of ‘Art/Sculpture’ that you can sit on.

Design at its most sublime can become ‘Art’ but first and foremost it must be a ‘product’.

What should a chair look like? Anything you want as long as it satisfies the design brief it was designed to answer.

comfortable art.

I was just checking out Russian Design and found this -

«There is no perfect chair…The best chair is only good for a few hours, and then you ought to get up. A perfect chair is a bed…»
(Niels Diffrient)