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.

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Book cover Chairs by Architects, by the author Agata Toromanoff

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.

Maison Démontable 8 x 8 (1945) and the standard chair of Jean Prouvé

Maison Démontable 8 x 8 (1945) and the standard chair of Jean Prouvé

Architect Kengo Kuma: GC Prostho Museum Research Design Center (Japan, 2010) and GC Chair (2011)

Architect Kengo Kuma: GC Prostho Museum Research Design Center (Japan, 2010) and GC Chair (2011)

Mario Bellini: "Green Towers" Deutsche Bank (Germany, 2006-2011) and KI, 2010

Mario Bellini: “Green Towers” Deutsche Bank (Germany, 2006-2011) and KI, 2010

Paper House (Japan, 1995) and the seat Paper Tube and Plywood Stool (1997), both of Shigeru Ban

Paper House (Japan, 1995) and the seat Paper Tube and Plywood Stool (1997), both of Shigeru Ban

 

The chair 184 Eve (2009), by the architect Piero Lissoni and the Mare Pineta hotel (Italy, 2010)

The chair 184 Eve (2009), by the architect Piero Lissoni and the Mare Pineta hotel (Italy, 2010)

Bone Chair (2011) and TAD/Iceberg (Denmark, 2013), of the architect Julien De Smedt

Bone Chair (2011) and TAD/Iceberg (Denmark, 2013), of the architect Julien De Smedt

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.

The chair Piano Design Chair (2014) and the building Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé (France, 2014) by Renzo Piano

The chair Piano Design Chair (2014) and the building Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé (France, 2014) by Renzo Piano

The building chosen, House U (Japan, 2013), of the architect Satoshi Okada, and the Titanium chair (2007)

The building chosen, House U (Japan, 2013), of the architect Satoshi Okada, and the Titanium chair (2007)

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 Barcelona chair (1929) by van der Rohe and the Neue Nationalgalerie (Berlin, 1968)

The Barcelona chair (1929) by van der Rohe and the Neue Nationalgalerie (Berlin, 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.