Let’s make a time jump again today, from the contemporary designs back to the popular mid-century designs. I will be talking about a very standard chair (pun intended). Take a look at the chair in the pictures below from Vitra’s Website and you would most likely approve that “Standard” is a very apt name for this chair. The Standard Chair was designed by one of the Modern Classic Masters Jean Prouvé for Vitra back in 1959.
The design was functional more than anything else. The rationale for having the extra thick legs is because the most strenuous part of a chair are on their hind legs as they bear the weight of the users’ upper body. The front legs are small in comparison which uses tubular steel piping. Of course, the hind legs are no solid metal which would have made the chair too heavy. The hind legs are hollow sections to spread the load onto the floor.
What made the Standard Chair popular and beautiful was probably and ironically, its simplicity in design. When I first saw the chair, it gave me a very “standard” feeling. It felt very much like, a standard chair that you expect to see in classrooms back in the 80s. It has a small back rest and a proper wooden seat and that steel legs are so nostalgic! What attracts me most, is however, an unexpected attribute of the design.
Even the Black Standard Chair looks Great, especially with the EM Table, also by Jean Prouvé
As we had seen with many mid-century modern classic pieces, manufacturers often treat these classics to an array of colours to bring the classic design to date. In my opinion, the Standard is one of the best mid-century chairs that received the contemporary boost in colours. Some had overdone it to the extend of making the chairs less attractive than the original. However, the Standard Chair receives its new colour treatment so well that you would have thought that it is part designed with these colours in mind. This is what made the Standard Chair look so good. You can have Standard Chairs mixed up with different colours and still look good around the table. This is best form of Eclecticism as the chairs are able to maintain a common language with the colours making up the Eclectic part.
The Standard Chair, like the Panton Chair, are often seen in Eclectic layouts. Why is this so? Having a classic status does help, of course. But more importantly, I feel that it is because of its Minimalist lines that declutter your vision. Having an Eclectic design often brings visual complexity into play. Hence, using simple designs does help bring down that clutter and the Standard Chair is perfect for the job. Would I get one? I don’t see why not. But with my recent shift in interest from Modern Classics to Classic Contemporaries, I will need to reassess my designs before making any moves. 🙂