Synopses & Reviews
The humble chair conceals a surprising amount of world history sociology and art in its deceptively simple design according to design and architecture critic Rybczynski (Mysteries of the Mall). This detailed and comprehensive history of the chair begins by asking why certain cultures sit in chairs at all. Looking at seats from a stool used in China in the second century C.E. to Charles and Ray Eames’s now famous 1950 plastic shell chair Rybczynski studies the base materials and innumerable innovative techniques that designers furniture makers and architects have applied to the chairs that people so often take for granted. He discusses dozens of different varieties of chairs including the curved leg Greek klismos the classic Chippendale wing chair the BarcaLounger and the world’s most ubiquitous chair: the white plastic monobloc (one piece) patteo chair which is cheap and remarkably versatile and adapts to almost any environment or culture. Rybczynski’s relentless curiosity is easily transferred to the reader as he astutely zeroes in on the details of what makes a chair design special or significant. This latest contribution from Rybczynski serves as further evidence that he is one of the best writers on design working today. (Aug.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."