Saturday 28 September 2013

Robin Day

We have all sat on this chair, sometimes for a few hours at a time. This chair has become so common place that we forget the ingenuity of the design. It was designed in 1963 by Robin Day for S.Hille & Co.

The brief for this chair was for a low cost mass-produced stacking chair, affordable by all and to meet virtually every seating requirement. That is some brief, all demanding. But imagine the challenge it must have been for Mr. Day, the fun of  researching and finding the new materials on the market. Interestingly the chair has no wood. Similar earlier designs by Eames, Saarinen and Jacobsen used moulded plywood, fiberglass and steel. Expensive production.

But when polypropylene was invented, it took some imagination to see this thermoplastic used as furniture. Can we imagine the world today without plastics in furniture?

One of the elements I admire about this chair is that after sitting in it for a couple of hours, you don't feel uncomfortable; it is upright enough to support the back, it is low enough  for all heights and the round edge at the front of the chair is easy on the back of the thigh. So the ergonomics of the human form are well thought out. I wonder who's bottom was used to form the mould.

This chair which has been in continuous production and has sold over millions worldwide, it is an icon and has won much deserved recognition as a design classic. It made us all think again about sitting, construction and materials.

Another iconic chair Day designed is the 675 Chair. This has the same qualities of moulding to the human form. It is sleek, elegant with the walnut plywood back and arms and comfortable padded seat and the slim, bent steel structure.

“A good design must fulfill its purpose well, be soundly constructed, and should express in its design this purpose and construction,” Robin Day, wonderfully said.

This is my entry into the Case Furniture Blogging Competition. Find out more at Case Furniture

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