Chair #3 , tracing the origin of a contemporary classic. the artisan way of learning applied to form. observe, imitate and repeat.
Chair #3 is the result of a research in finding the origins of a sequence
of chairs -Conoid, Kufenstuhl, Zigzag y Z Rasch- , all being named contemporary classics in the world of design. The celebration of “uniquness” however does not ultimately lie in what one sees at first glance but in the complexities contained in a single form and that one is able to acknowledge:
The first chair in this sequence is the so called Conoid chair by George Nakashima conceived in 1988. This chair has clear references to Shaker furniture dating back to the 19C. Nakashima described his own work as “Shaker Japanese” and his approach owed much to the Shaker legacy. Details of Shaker furniture are reflected in many of his designs. In the case of the Conoid chair Shaker elements are the molded seating, the detail of the T shaped legs -typical in their tables- and the spindles in the back used by Shakers but which can also be found in the the Windsor chair (another classic) dated back to the 16C. The peculiar 2 legged architecture is a clear reference to the Kufenstuhl designed by Karl Nothhelfer in 1955, a chair that became the iconic German school chair, still used today and by my interpretation one of Nakashima’s inspirations for the Conoid chair. However, the peculiar “architecture” or “engineering” in this sequence of chairs can be traced back to the Zigzag chair by Gerrit Rietveld, conceived in 1934 and one of the most iconic chairs from the Bauhaus period. Nevertheless the journey continues to 1927, the year in which the Rasch Brothers, in the early Bauhaus years, designed and produced a chair based on the same Z-like shape. And that I consider to trace back to a different set of bent steel tube chairs made famous by designers such as Marcel Breuer in the same period.