Who has not gone to the beach or the countryside carrying one of those cheap, collapsible, aluminum tube chairs that do not weigh anything, do not rust and can be stored and transported effortlessly? Is this omnipresent model in the campsites really a nice and comfortable design? Well, not too much.
The curve of the legs makes them unstable and overturn when the user leans to the side. The bar on the back pierces the backside and the one in front cuts off circulation to the back of the thighs. The braided nylon strips end up opening with use. They are repaired with difficulty and the wind takes them when it blows with force.
Even so, it is one of the most popular anonymous designs in the world. It appeared in the North American market in the 1950s when the aluminum manufacturer Alcoa thought it should find an output for its abundant tube production experienced during World War II.
Despite its defective ergonomics, it was the right chair at the right time, becoming an essential item for postwar families who were preparing to live the American dream of residing outside the city. It was the ubiquitous chair at barbecues, garden parties with friends and beaches. And it still is. It can even be seen in the streets of towns and cities during the hot summer nights when people bring the chairs out from the house and get ready to chat with neighbors.
In the fifties Alcoa publicized this argued model, which was the chair that “accompanies you everywhere” and addressed the female market, defended its advantages for housewives who, from now on, would not need a man to carry chairs to the garden.
Over time this chair has become a universal model and its prosaic benefits far outweigh its discomforts. It is a chair for practical people who believe that price and function are more important than beauty or that they have more sophisticated models that allow them to remain seated for long hours. Yes, this chair accompanies you everywhere, but not for long.