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To the Queen's Little Chair

When I was a little girl we played a la sillita de la reina (to the Queen’s little chair): a popular game that as a playful resource was not bad, since we did not need any type of object such as marbles, ropes, balls, tops or handkerchiefs. It was very simple: two girls held hands (better crossed, that is to say, right hand with right hand and vice versa) and a third sat on the hypothetical throne, clinging to the neck of the other two while she was swinging. It was a kind of race in which the queen had to reach a distant goal with her two subjects while singing a...

A chair for having tea

The extravagant Miss Catherine Cranston decided to open her first tearoom at 114 Argyle Street in Glasgow, Scotland. It was the first of a large chain of luxuriously decorated establishments in which elegant ladies could meet without the need of masculine company. The one on Argyle Street was immediately successful thanks to its billiards, its game room, its reading room, its smoking room and the tea room for women. Said businesswoman, who ran her business with an iron fist, intended to offer an abstemious alternative to the pubs that invaded the city. Years...

A chair for life

Enrique was walking with his daughter Sara through the well-known neighborhood of Gràcia in the city of Barcelona. Sara was five years old. In a couple of weeks, she was going to turn six. She was growing very fast. She showed a fresh spontaneity for her age and an innate curiosity for all things. They had a regular itinerary that they did two or three times a week. But that day Sara wanted to change, for one of those spontaneous outbursts that her father liked so much. So, they were going down Verdi Street when they both became fixated on a different façade on...

Unwittingly, Standard of a Philosophy

The ambitious plan kept going, slow but incessant. The construction of the educational complex had begun in Kuhberg, a hill within Baden-Württemberg, just as he had devised. A complete campus, with its classrooms, its workshops, its library, the student residence, the homes of the professors, the offices of the heads of departments, even a cafeteria. The Hochschule für Gestaltung in Ulm had been designed in 1950 under criteria of functionality and austerity because its architect, Swiss designer Max Bill, had been trained at the Bauhaus in Dessau. In April 1953,...

A Chair for Eternity

It is difficult to imagine that a chair poetically evokes death. The image of the electric chair shudders because of its strict functionality and it is not by chance that Andy Warhol dedicated a series of serigraphs treating it as a macabre icon of North American culture. The electric chair is a product of the most ruthless technical engineering while the Golgotha chair, designed by Gaetano Pesce in 1972, is an object halfway between sculpture and design that does not especially stand out for its functional and productive qualities but for its problematic...

The Inflatable Utopia

Anyone who has designed or produced a chair knows how difficult it is to conceive a structure that supports the weight of a corpulent person while seeming as light as possible. You must disguise how the powerful forces of pressure and torsion act. For millennia, chairs had four legs. Using steel pipe, designers of the Modern Movement managed with two and in the mid-nineteen-fifties, Eero Saarinen managed to get his “Tulip” chair to stand on one leg in such a way that it took the appearance of a pedestal. The next challenge would be to design a chair without legs....
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