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chairpedia

Rietveld, Groenekan and the antecessor chair

Gerard van den Groenekan was barely fourteen or fifteen years old in the winter of 1917-1918 when he arrived as an apprentice to the workshop that Gerrit Rietveld - a cabinetmaker and draftsman, according to the records of the city - had opened in May in the Adriaen van Ostadelaan, Utrecht. According to him, it was in the summer of 1918 when in that workshop the first version of modern furniture’s founding chair was created. To celebrate such a feat, Rietveld was photographed in front of the shop window of his workshop, proudly lounging in it and escorted by his...

Loos sits on his secrets

What will you do when old man Veilich dies?”, says Loos, who was told by clients, never many but select. Josef Veilich made all the chairs for Adolf Loos’ houses from his first works until his death in 1929, and the architect dedicated a heartfelt obituary in the Frankfurter Zeitung where they type like precise bursts of machine gun the ideas on how to respond to the need to sit down that he had been defending since the end of the previous century. Loos is the greatest defender of originality, the modern fetish for excellence: there is no need to invent what is...

The ghost chairs of Edgar Allan Poe

The “first physiognomist of the domestic space”, Walter Benjamin calls him because the narrators of the Modern Age gave a detailed account of the face and the complexion of their characters, but barely their living quarters. The first nineteenth-century writer who brought the interiors into his stories was Edgar Allan Poe, he also left two specific testimonies on the subject. One is a brief and sarcastic Philosophy of Furniture, published in May 1840 in Philadelphia’s Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine, where he makes fun of the bad taste of the domestic interior...

Sit Down to Stand Up

The buses that provided the public transportation in the 1950s in the town of Montgomery (Alabama), possibly like any or many other North American cities, had seats made of chromed iron tubing. The frame of these aligned benches, designed for two passengers, was at the same time a support for seated passengers and a place to hold for those who were standing or moving in the bus’s interior. This form of construction in curved and screwed iron tubing evokes the exemplary chair designs of modern Bauhausians and their contemporaries. The iron frame was...

American icon in the socialist island

In the heart of modern Havana, in the Vedado, is the La Rampa, a part of Avenida 23 where cultural splendor lived before the revolution with the Turquino cabarets or the Cañitas of the Hotel Hilton Habana (now Habana Libre) and after that, in the years when the revolutionary project was sexier. During the nineteen sixties this location was the International Congress of Architecture (1963) for which the brutalist Cuba Pavilion was built. Every Saturday night in the Vidriera mágica the designer Fernando Ayuso showed his new designs with the models parading to the...

A Ready-Made for Sitting

Can any object become a seat? If we take into account that a seat is any place, object or piece of furniture in which to support the buttocks for the purpose of sitting, we can say yes. Since Marcel Duchamp arrived with his found objects or ready-mades (existing objects that are transformed to give them a totally different meaning), everything is possible. The Frenchman opened the prohibition. But with the arrival of the theories about semiotics (in which signs and symbols are studied as instruments of cultural communication) and the postmodern movement, it is...
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