The Block Chair (Phillips Collection)

The Block Chair is made from welded steel sheets in a matte black finish that sits atop a block of solid Chamcha wood, an exotic variety of Acacia found in Northern Thailand. The block supports the cantilevered seat which allows for the impression of a floating sheet of metal.                      Chair

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What is a chair

Photo by Alyssa-hankus

I have focused so long on traditionally iconic chairs I thought it would be a good break to visit some photography.  This shot is by my friend Alyssa Hankus.


Patrick Lucas taught us that design should include Commodity, Firmness and Delight.


Commodity – obviously a chair such as this sold well. Affordable aluminum outdoor furniture with an electro plating was widely distributed.  Good design goes further than just comfort and stability.  Commodity is only one leg of the three legged stool.

Firmness – The chair is old but still standing and viable as a chair. This starts to lend a question wether or not firmness is only at the time of the sale or does it extend throughout the life of the product. Is there a point of diminishing return where it is no longer firm enough to function as a seating piece.

Delight – This is the hardest part of design to define. Delight is in the eye of the beholder. I would argue that without some sense of delight this chair would have never been bought. Now that the firmness is beginning to slip and the Commodity is no longer there as a seating piece I would question what is a chair. Here Alyssa shows that even though this chair would not be bought at full price in a store, the photograph of the chair and the beautiful setting and shadow may be worth more than the chair was initially.

So… what is a chair.

A chair is a piece of art that symbolized a stopping point in life. Even though you never sat in this chair you did take a few minutes to stop and think about it.

I love chairs.

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Little help with some identification

Carolyn Godwin's Rocker

Carolyn Godwin’s Rocker


This is a mystery rocker that came from Norway and traveled in a covered wagon across the states. The cushion fabric has been changed, however, the remainder of the chair is original.   Any information my chair loving community would like to offer would be helpful.  A friend of the family has reached out for help.

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Norman Cherner Armchair

Cherner Armchair (Toy Story 2)

Toy Story 2.  I guess nothing is safe.  I was watching TV with a friend the other night and I often point out iconic chairs or look up chairs that I don’t know.  Of course when this Cherner Armchair showed up in Toy Story 2 I had to point it out.  The animators could have put any chair in the corner of the room but chose to insert a mid-century modern classic.         I love this chair!

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Emeco Navy Chair

Emeco Navy Chair

I was in Sears, shopping with a friend and saw these Emeco chairs behind the counter. I know people who are around me understand that I am always looking for iconic “sit ware” but I was surprised to find the woman working the register knew the chair as well.

You can find good design anywhere.

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Chair Library at Salem College

My summer internship was working with the Sutton Initiative for Design Education (SIDE).  Salem College has received a generous donation of chairs for their new design library.  Please take some time to visit and “Like” this facebook page.  The library is a wonderful place for product designers to see first hand some beautiful iconic works.


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If anyone has a chair sighting and would like me to post it to the blog please contact me.  I love when people see iconic chars and send me shots of themselves in the chair.  Send me a note with it and tell me a little about yourself and why you read the blog.  With 70,000 hits this year there has to be some of you out there as much of a chair geek as I am.

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