Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Chair in the Bottom of the Ocean

Federico Fellini said that an unmade film is like an airplane in the bottom of the ocean. Ilmari Tapiovaara said a chair is like the key to an interior. Is an unproduced chair design like a key in the bottom of the ocean? A key that has been lost on an airplane? Or maybe it's like a key inside an airplane in the bottom of the ocean.

Tapiovaara (1915-1999) was a designer who believed in making the world a better place by designing really good chairs. He wanted them to be affordable and well made, he wanted good design to dignify people's lives every day, in their homes. He did chairs for the army, chairs for development projects in the third world, chairs that every single Finnish behind has sat on at one point or another.

He designed this chair for the MOMA Affordable Furniture Competition in 1948. It is intended to be cheaply manufactured, taken completely apart for shipping, easily reassembled, yet durable and elegant. The chair never went into production and the existing samples auction for upwards of $14 000. 

I wonder what Tapiovaara would think of how affordable his chair is now, if he knew.

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