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The ubiquity of famous modern furniture pieces

Discussion in 'Fine Living, Home, Design & Auto' started by Kent Wang, Sep 13, 2013.

  1. Kent Wang

    Kent Wang Affiliate Vendor Dubiously Honored Affiliate Vendor

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    Let us first try to list and sort the most common modern furniture pieces. I believe:

    1. Aeron chair
    2. Barcelona chair
    3. Eames lounge chair and ottoman
    4. Le Corbusier LC2 sofa
    5. Saarinen tulip chair and table
    6. Wassily chair

    The first three are the most ubiquitous by far. The rest are more disputable and harder to rank.

    My problem with these pieces is that they are so ubiquitous that I would never buy them. Except for perhaps the Aeron, as it is a functional piece and is ergonomically designed for sitting for long periods—though now there competing designs from other companies.

    In a vacuum, I don't think any of these designs are particularly amazing, though certainly none are bad. I can only imagine that their popularity is due to bandwagoning. Whenever I see these pieces, usually at an office lobby and sometimes in people's homes I feel that the interior designer lacks imagination.

    I personally don't buy modern furniture, but if I did I would only buy lesser known pieces.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2013


  2. SkinnyGoomba

    SkinnyGoomba Senior member

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    The significance of the design of these pieces relies on an understanding of the time period in which they were designed. The Wassily chair was a round tube and belting leather chair designed in the 1920s.

    The 1920's, when people were still wearing black tie to dinner parties, white tie for formal evenings, and strollers in the everyday. The age where man was obsessed with ocean liners and beginning to settle into cars.
     


  3. foodguy

    foodguy Senior member

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    noguchi coffee table?
     


  4. A Y

    A Y Senior member

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    I think the Eames aluminum office chairs are more iconic but perhaps not as ubiquitous than the Aeron.
     


  5. Fuuma

    Fuuma Franchouillard Modasse

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    Those Eames fiberglass/plastic chairs with eiffel base for Herman Miller are pretty iconic.
     


  6. GusW

    GusW Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I've owned an Aeron chair since 1995. I've since bought two more. Just because they became hugely popular doesn't lessen their comfort or pleasing look, to me anyway. In fact, I especially like how they blend with an eclectic mix of old and new furnishings.

    Aeron also offers a version with a polished aluminum frame that coordinates well with some of my contemporary Italian and vintage industrial British lamps.

    I don't subscribe to the "buying lesser known" just for the sake of being unique. I would rather follow "form follows function". If function = popularity, so be it.
     


  7. Kent Wang

    Kent Wang Affiliate Vendor Dubiously Honored Affiliate Vendor

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    Of these, Wassily chair is the oldest at 1925-1926, but the Le Corbusier Grand Confort line which includes the LC-2 is 1928, and Barcelona chair is 1929 (the Barcelona Pavilion, in the context of the 1929 International Exposition in Barcelona is pretty amazing).

    Definitely.
     


  8. Dragon

    Dragon Senior member

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    Egg Chair, Swan Chair
     


  9. furo

    furo Senior member

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  10. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    I don't think ubiquity should influence taste.
     


  11. Kent Wang

    Kent Wang Affiliate Vendor Dubiously Honored Affiliate Vendor

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    Bandwagoning is driven by ubiquity, which obviously influences the majority of the people that buy these pieces (again, Aeron excluded due to its function). Do you think if everyone evaluated the merits of the design of these pieces in a vacuum, i.e. without considering how many other people own them, they would really be so popular?

    I'm just going against the stream; I'm anti-bandwagon.

    Do you not find it tiresome to see the Barcelona chair at every museum, lobby, and waiting room? I even saw a pornographic film once—entirely by accident, of course—that was filmed on a Barcelona bench.
     


  12. Zachgranstrom

    Zachgranstrom Senior member

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    :rolleyes:

    lol
     


  13. GusW

    GusW Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Popular classic modern pieces can show a lack of design imagination if all they do is stock an area with a set of Barcelona or LC2, etc chairs and nothing else. But, when mixed with other interesting items, that is where the fun begins.
     


  14. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    [/quote]

    Why are you afraid of bandwagoning? If something is good, it is good. It takes good taste to tell. It takes guts and character to make decisions regardless of what others do.

    In contrast, it is just as easy to determine what is unpopular as what is popular. I find nothing to admire in the rare and odd just for being rare and odd. Thus, I would not be concerned with whether a particular piece is ubiquitous. I would try to think about it and learn about it to see if I appreciate its virtue, then decide whether I want it for my space. It would never once occur to me whether my things will be much alike anybody else's

    Many of the icons you named are timelessly beautiful and well-designed. The Saarinen table, for example, is arguably as perfect a form as one can conceive for a table. I'm glad it is ubiquitous. It means there are a lot of beautiful tables out there.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2013


  15. binge

    binge Senior member

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    I'm not a fan of the Aeron chair. They've been standard equipment in every office out here in SF since the dot-com days. I remember friends picking up ones for their home office from company liquidation sales for ~$50 back in 2001-2002. I've put in many, many hours saddled in them and they are no better to me than many other office chairs, in fact, I dislike the feel of the mesh. At home, I have the Eames aluminum side chair -- no wheels, no arms -- which I find to be quite comfortable for long periods of computer work. YMMV.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2013


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