You can observe parallels between the form of a building and a chair? Why would an architect design one? The book Chairs by Architects, of Thames & Hudson editorial, attempts to answer these questions by comparing mythical architectural projects with designs of chairs by architects of the past and present.
In its pages, we can find the work of Ludwig van der Rohe, Otto Wagner, Gerrit Rietveld, Walter Gropius, Jean Prouvé, Frank Gehry, Gaetano Pesce, Oscar Niemeyer, Daniel Libeskind, Renzo Piano, Waro Kishi, Mario Botta, Santiago Calatrava, Doriana and Massimiliano Fuksas, Mario Bellini, Ron Arad, Piero Lissoni, Julien De Smedt or Zaha Hadid.
In total, the book shows chairs and buildings of 55 architects to show that their idea, their vision as creators, is reflected in the two types of project. The author, the art historian Agata Toromanoff, shows by the visual and technical comparison what qualities of the buildings of these architects move into their designs.
Many architects over the years have ventured into the world of interior design creating some of the most iconic chairs of history. An example that collects Chairs by Architects is the structural ingenuity of the Barcelona chair by Ludwig van der Rohe. Organic and simple, it does not seem possible that this is a 1929 design. However, as an icon of Modernism it is one of the most recognized objects of the last century. The simple elegance of the architect is epitomized in the maxim “less is more”. Its design is compared to a later project: the Neue Nationalgalerie (1968).
The compilation includes chair designs from 1835 to the present and also a series of interviews with leading industry figures as David Bright Knoll or Susanne Graner of the Vitra Design Museum. In them, they discuss the nature of the design and manufacture of these pieces. In one of the interviews, the Ghanaian architect David Adjaye says that by working in a chair “is a real pleasure to be able to manipulate and sculpt full scale, as the project progresses. With the buildings, you cannot do that.”
The direct link that establishes Chairs by Architects between design and architecture makes it clear that a design philosophy does not have to be limited to a specific type, but it may include various creative domains.