“It’s weird that chairs even exist when you’re not in them.”
—Seth Rogen, “Knocked Up”
The Sustainable Furnishings Council and World Market Center Las Vegas are proud to once again bring you One Good Chair Design Competition.
All sustainability is local, the saying goes. But how can manufactured, transportable products such as furniture become “local”? In a global market, can there be a truly regional product?
Historically, many chairs evolved out of the subtle relationships between culture and climate, people and place. The low tilt of the Adirondacks Chair nestled into the mountainous terrain of upper New York State, mingling among the hemlocks from which it was made, and its wide arms speak of lazy summer days. The springy Joggling Bench is the very picture of Charleston’s narrow porches and hot, sticky evenings. And both use little material—the original Adirondacks Chair was made from a dozen pieces cut from a single board, and the Joggling Bench is a single board.
How we sit relates more to culture than anatomy, and many cultures are chair-free. Gandhi sat on the floor as a way to resist “Westernization” and honor local customs. The hammock originated 1,000 years ago in migratory cultures of Central America—woven from the bark of the Hamack tree, it traveled light, floated above the ground to fend off insects, and breathed in the humid air.
Design an original chair that embodies and enhances a particular place, anywhere in the world but one you know and love, even if you don’t live there. We hope to see ideas from across the globe. Your concept might reinterpret local customs or start from scratch, but either way it should stimulate a tangible sense of belonging to its cultural and natural context. Demonstrate visually and verbally how your design springs from local conditions:
- Identity of place
- Regional ecology
- Indigenous materials
- Conservation of resources through form
- Culturally determined notions of comfort
- Social history
How does your design fit—right here? How does it create a good fit between people and place, a good fit for the body, a good fit for the ecosystem?