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Design History Of The Couch Cultural Studies Essay

For an understanding into the background of design, it is no better location to start than by looking at the each day object, the Seat. A chair is a bit of furniture that often should go unnoticed, yet is really essential to everyday living. It really is generally taken for granted and not recognised for its valuable contribution to your lives. Many aspects, communal, cultural, aesthetics, technology etc is seen through the evolution of Chair design. In this article, I shall be looking at three different designers and their designs, particularly the function, form, use of materials, supposed market and development methods.

The first artist was Michael Thonet (1796-1871) Thonet was created in Germany (then called Prussia) His life began at the start of the professional revolution. He do an apprenticeship in cabinet making in his hometown and soon afterwards began experimenting with veneers and bentwood. Maybe it was significant that he was born around the time of the revolution, as he is certainly a good example of that period, as he created a massive company that is accepted as a leading power in mass creation.

His Factory created by himself, was very near a beech solid wood forest, many other designers used hardwood that was flat, with plenty of joints but Thonet possessed managed to perfect his designs by using the beech timber in a new and revolutionary bending method. He went on to use solid wood veneers, glueing a lot together so these were flexible. He was known for his tests to help him and this supposed that he could continue to be main designers in mass production. His couch was the first in even pack furniture to be put together at home by the customer. The chair was designed to be cheap, strong and light and a good sturdy chair to sit down. In the home it would have been used in your kitchen and living room. The supposed market could have been to the middle and lower classes as it was a widely available cheaper chair. It was a produced in higher quantities couch and by 1900 around 40 million chairs had been produced.

My second Custom made was Charles Rennet Mackintosh (1868-1928) Delivered in Glasgow he was an architect, creator and artist, is today celebrated internationally among the most significant talents of the past due 19th and early on 20th centuries.

At the age of 16 he became an apprentice to John Hutchinson. He also started attending night classes at the Glasgow Institution of Artwork and found fellow artist Margaret MacDonald, who eventually became his better half. They were both participants of the collaborative group known as "The Four", visible members of the 'Glasgow University' Movement. Mackintosh became somebody of the firm Honeyman & Keppie in 1903. However, at the convert of an economic hardship in 1913, Mackintosh still left the organization Honeyman & Keppie to start his own practice. After unsuccessfully trying to establish his own practice, he dedicated his time to landscape painting in France. Mackintosh delivered to England in 1927 for treatment of tongue and neck cancer. He passed on in London in 1928.

Designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in 1903 "Black Ladder Back Chair"

Mackintosh was one of the leading exponents in the Arts & Crafts Movement and one of the leading reps of Skill Nouveau in Scotland. The chair itself was a "component" of a house designed 'The Hill House' and was actually not meant to sit on. The actual fact that the back of the seat is a long way over your head does enhance the reality it reassembles in my own thoughts and opinions a "throne". Everything seems "right" relating to this chair: proportions, materials & style.

The seat was a one of design for the "hill house" to match the high ceilings in the house. the chair had not been designed to be sat on but as a piece of art its do it yourself so that as a decorative part. The developer used would for the frame of the chair and upholstery for the chair. It was designed and built for ww Blackie who owns the hill house. The couch still rests in the hill house bedroom.

My third artist to look at was Charles and Ray Eames, they are simply the most crucial American designers of the century. Charles Eames was born in 1907 in St. Louis, Missouri. He attended university there and developed a pastime in anatomist and architecture. He later long his design ideas beyond architecture and received a fellowship to Cranbrook Academy of Art work in Michigan, where he eventually became mind of the design office. Ray Kaiser Eames was born in Sacramento. She studied painting with Hans Hofmann in New York before shifting to Cranbrook Academy where she attained and assisted Charles. Charles and Ray committed in 1941 and changed to California. In 1946, Evans Products started out producing the Eames's' moulded plywood furniture. Their moulded plywood couch was called "the chair of the century" by the influential architectural critic Esther McCoy.

Eames Lounge Chair, 1956

Designed in 1956 this icon of 20th century design created by the Eames to give a modern option to traditional club chairs. Since its debut in 1956, the chair and ottoman have been continuously produced by Herman Miller (A leading global specialist of business furniture) Matching to Charles Eames, design is merely "a plan for organizing elements so concerning best accomplish a particular purpose. " The seat was made to be a soothing comfortable seat. and in Charles Eames own words "a particular refuge from the strains of modern living. ". The first couch was a at first a gift idea for Billy wilder. The seat is also specially designed such that it may take all the weight of your lower spinal column assisting you relax even more. And adding your feet through to the ottoman helps restore the circulation of blood after a difficult times work. The materials used are natural lumber such as natural cherry, walnut and santos palisander a rich grainy veneer. The chair is still extremely popular and sometimes appears in many stylish interiors.


An insight in to the past is seen all over, but the chair, something so important to us, from the cheap mass produced ones the truth is in junk food chain shops to our old comfortable armchairs, each of them hold so much more information about the annals of design.

From the early designs and experimenting by Michael Thonet and his way of earning bent wood recliners and furniture it would be hard to think that Charles Eames would have been able to be on to create his Lounge Seat. Then with Charles Eames designs and advancements in creation techniques and mass marketing of chairs it has become possible for everyone to truly have a classic little bit of design record in their home or office. Or even own a reproduction of Charles Mackintosh's Ladder Backside Chair for hardly any costs.

The type of couch that someone selects for his or her home can in say a whole lot about them. Victorian styles show that a person prefers the old styles. Fine art Deco has dazzling colors and geometric designs. With most people, the main factor to consider when choosing a chair apart from the color or style is comfort. If someone was suffering from rear problems, for example they might require a artist to create a chair to match their needs. When someone chooses a modern chair design for any office or in his or her home it says there onward thinkers, with modern likes. So for a day to day object to so often go unnoticed is a pity, the chosen style and design of seat someone chooses can say allot more and can be I think a very good illustration of the personality.

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