I don’t think that anyone has put it more perfectly than Jacobin and Boston Globe writer Colin McSwiggen:
“I hate to piss on the party, but chairs suck. All of them. No designer has ever made a good chair, because it is impossible. Some are better than others, but all are bad.”
Let’s just take a moment here for some personal reflection. If you asked me right off the bat about some of my favorite things: my favorite song, favorite movie, recipe, clothing brand, restaurant…I would definitely have to think about my answer for a minute. It would start with a list of 5 or so, and I’d narrow it down until I’d have to choose a favorite. And there are definitely the opposites too–I could name something I hate in each of those categories as well (‘Friday’ by Rebecca Black?)
How about your favorite chair? ….I remember long ago, in elementary school, there was a chair in the library on which i read Rainbow Fish that I loved. But of course I might just be remembering how much I loved Rainbow Fish.
A chair that you hate? Oh, 100% OF THE CHAIRS I’VE EVER SAT IN.
Washington University’s hilarious satirical newspaper wrote an amazing article on demanding comfortable chairs along with their living wage debate. The fake Chancellor stated,
“”We’re looking into the feasibility of purchasing all these chairs, and it’s clear that cushions will be too expensive. The farthest I’ll go is getting those chairs with two big wells molded to fit the contours of someone’s butt.” The Chancellor then reclined in a throne-like leather armchair and purred contentedly.”
I read an article that trashed all chairs altogether, which I disagreed with because I’m a realist and current society demands that we be seated for a large majority of our lives. But it did recommend two things:
1) buying an expensive comfortable chair (recommending the Herman Miller ‘Aeron’ chair) or
2) having several seats and rotating which you sit in (“the best chair is two or three quite different chairs used in rotation, including or used in conjunction with a destabilizing cushion, such as a Disc-O-Sit or Sissel Sit, or a fitness ball.”)
But the bottom line is, chairs have been around forever. Strictly speaking, as society recognizes problems with product design, problems are remedied through study and iterations of improving design. AND YET I STILL HAVE TO READJUST 78937 TIMES IN A MOVIE THEATER SEAT OR MY BUTT FALLS ASLEEP.
Can we not demand comfier chairs? Can we not demand that at least we should not be subjected to rigid 90-degree-angle-solid-wood chairs? Like, why is the seating in our student union crafted of what looks like old church pews with fabric stapled over the world’s biggest excuse for ‘upholstery?’ (Often this is a thin sheet of poly-blend batting.)
Can we start being outraged about this? I’ll just leave you with this great commentary from a designer from the documentary Objectified: