An oft-tossed around adage in recent years is the sensationalist-sounding snowclone: “sitting is the new smoking.” While this is perhaps an important piece of information, it really gives chairs a bad rap. Certainly not all chairs are created equal, but there are some chairs out there that that make a standing desk seem like a tragic waste of sedentary potential. Chairs have been fetishistic design objects for a long time, to varying degrees, and with some particularly stand-out examples. The iconic Wassily chair, for example, was designed by Marcel Breuer at the Bauhaus school in Dessau, Germany around 1925. The chair was originally made out of bent tubular steel and eisengarn (a strong and shiny fabric made from waxed-cotton thread), and is the chair most associated with the Bauhaus school and movement. Another 20th century chair that has been the subject of design fetishism is the Eames chair. Made out of leather and molded plywood, the Eames Lounge Chair (and associated ottoman) was designed by Charles and Ray Eames for the Herman Miller furniture company. Although now associated with sleek, modernist design, the chair was initially conceived with comfort in mind; Charles wanted the chair to possess “the warm, receptive look of a well-used first baseman’s mitt.” Other famous chairs include Donald Judd’s classic square seats, the OTHER Eames chair (plastic, round, you know the one), the Game of Thrones throne and the Wishbone Chair courtesy of Hans J. Wegner. The SVA Library Pictures Collection knows the importance of a good chair. The collection houses two very, very full folders (filed under Furniture - Chairs) containing hundreds of images of - you guessed it - chairs. The chair images available in these folders feature a range from squat, red and shiny to intricately carved to suburban La-Z-Boys to ones with swan-shaped arms. Come by the library for a visual account of some of the infinite possibilities of chairs, most of which can be experienced non-carcinogenically.

Gerrit Rietveld, Zig-Zag Chair 1950
Mart Stam 117
Arihiro Miyake
Herman Miller
Scott Burton, 1978
La-Z-Boy November 1976
Tuonella by Pirelli
The Worden Company
Jean Prouve 1956
Piazza Originals