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Side Chair No. 14

I’m getting over my prejudice of chair-happy designers (why must every designer do a chair?). Niels Diffrient, designer of Humanscale’s Freedom and the new Liberty, describes the chair, in the new Metropolis, as ‘a psychological challenge: all architects and designers of note have chosen the chair as their ultimate note. it’s gotten to be hallowed ground.‘ We spend an enormous amount of time sitting, and so the chair has universal appeal.

A wonderful example of innovation-via-chair is Thonet’s No. 14 which was made with only six pieces of steam-bent wood, ten screws and two nuts. It addressed an exploding need for cafe-style side chairs and used highly available (in Europe) Beechwood. In 1859 it bridged the gap between craftwork and industrial production with a beautiful product.