This past week, our newspaper carried a story about a chair from a local woodworker that had won a major design competition. It is called The Portland Chair and is thought to be so wonderful that it will be manufactured and sold by Thos. Moser. You can buy it for a mere $1,250 in cherry or $1,440 in walnut. If you would like to read more about it and view pictures of construction details, see the newspaper article in the link above.
I don't know what you think of it, but I know what I think of it: not much. I can't conceive of paying that much for that chair. I wouldn't want to sit in it and I wouldn't want to look at it. There are chairs at IKEA that I would rather have. Really. Honestly, I am utterly perplexed. My grandfather's milking stool looked better than this to me. The old image of the RCA dog cocking its ear at strange sounds emanating from a Victrola comes to my mind.
There are quite a large number of furniture styles that I really like, some historical and some modern, but I just cannot comprehend how anyone thinks this is a nice looking or nice functioning chair.
I just came back from a visit to my sister, who lives in Reston, Virginia. While I was there, I read about a building that is about to be torn down which is a prized example of "Brutalist" architecture. Brutalist? I had never heard of it. Here is an excerpt from the Wikipedia article:
In its ruggedness and lack of concern to look comfortable or easy, Brutalism can be seen as a reaction by a younger generation to the lightness, optimism, and frivolity of some 1930s and 1940s architecture. In one critical appraisal by Banham, Brutalism was posited not as a style but as the expression of an atmosphere among architects of moral seriousness.This chair seems to me to have evolved from the same sort of thinking. By all means, let's not be comfortable, light, easy, optimistic or frivolous. Perish the thought. Why have chairs at all? Why not just sit on the floor? That would, after all, be more morally serious, wouldn't it?
As for me, I'll be sitting in my comfortable FDR chair drinking a microbrew and trying to be optimistic about the state of American design. If this Moser chair sells for $1,440, I'm thinking of offering my chair for $9,999. For the record, don't get an idea of what we here in Portland are like from The Portland Chair. Watch Portlandia or go see the chairs in Timberline Lodge. Basically, we're easy, optimistic and frivolous.
C'mon guys, help me out here. Open my eyes to the art.