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As humans, we spend a majority of our time sleeping, standing and sitting, which is argument enough for an investment in a good bed, some terrific shoes and a great chair. Chairs are, unfortunately, often regarded as an afterthought. I find that people are ambivalent towards them mainly because they haven’t had the experience of a great chair. Have a relationship with a wonderful chair and this will become apparent to you.

Through the years I have collected chairs of different characters. I enjoy the thought process behind their creation, and also the personality they exude. In my homes you’ll find How High The Moon by Shiro Kuramata, Eero Aarnio’s Bubble chair, and a couple of great examples by the Eames.

There are different chairs for serious conversations and intimate moments. You will even find that particular designs become symbols of a moment in time, as you will see from the BBC’s initiative to recap some of the most iconic chairs of the 20th century.

Paimio Chair: The Paimio is right at home in museums, galleries and the residences of architects and designers, no doubt because it is so stylish and modern. It actually began life in Finland in 1931, designed by Alvar Alto and wife Aino to help the breathing of recuperating TB patients.

Round Chair: Named the most beautiful chair in the world by Interiors magazine in 1950, Hans Wegner’s round chair became famous when it was used by the CBS for the first ever live televised debate between Nixon and Kennedy a decade later. America loved it, and it put Danish design on the map.

Lobby Chair: There is a long story behind the creation of this chair. But in short, Time Life asked designers Charles and Ray Eames to create a chair for their New York lobby. It was a huge hit and the swivel-style is synonymous with the 60s. As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and you can find countless replicas today. None anywhere near as good as the original.

Spine Chair: The product of an artist. That much is obvious on sight. Andre Dubreuil turned to crafting metal furniture in his London flat in 1985. A year later, inspired by the French, he came up with the Spine chair. Designers loved it. It’s no longer in production, so if you want an original good luck. They go for a bomb at auction.

Barcelona Chair: It just looks so inviting. Simple, and open. The Barcelona chair, despite its name, is of German descent. It was designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe for the Spanish royals as a sort of contemporary throne in 1929, and displayed at the International Exposition in Barcelona. It was in demand straight away. Still is today.

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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


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