I love plastic chairs for simple reasons. They are able to weather all sorts of harsh punishments from the environment simply by adding UV absorbing additives. This is especially important for tropical countries like Singapore where there are only sunshine and rain. Another reason why polypropylene chairs are attractive to me is that they are highly moldable. They can be molded into all forms, shapes and sizes. This interesting property of polypropylene enabled designers to take full advantage of it and create artistic designs that looks more like sculptures than furniture. Philippe Starck, Ron Arad or even Classic Masters such as Charles & Ray Eames and Verner Panton uses plastic for their designs (although polypropylene is not available in their time, they often made their plastic pieces in fibreglass) with modern versions made from polypropylene. Polypropylene is low in cost, easy to manufacture and most importantly, it is recyclable! Maybe it’s a better option than wood which although is biodegradable, but considered not green as we need to kill trees to begin with and is bad for the Earth.
Ok, enough of the green message and back to my favourite plastic chair. Let’s talk about Clover. I am not referring to the green clover leaf that are commonly believed to bring good luck. I am talking about a polypropylene armchair designed by Ron Arad in 2007 for Driade. To many, the Clover Chair looks more like a sculpture than a chair. It is shaped like the four leaflets of a clover and interestingly, it looks to fit the 2 lateral muscles of our back with the 2 upper leaves while the lower leaves provides conformed seating for your 2 pieces of butt muscles and curl upwards to double up as armrests. I would say, it is real ingenuity to be able to shape the four leaflets of the clover to support the human body and retain the basic shape for identity.
As I had never sat on a Clover Chair, I can’t tell if the theory works that well and will comfort be there. The benchmark for non-upholstered chairs in terms of comfort will forever be the Lounge Chair Wood. It is the defacto standard of comfort for me. But the sculptural Clover remains a viable choice for me, especially to put 2 in the balcony for that lazy morning breakfast. It will be a colourful addition to my planned minimalist home design.