Welcome to What's in a Name Wednesday! Where we take a look at some of the best known names in Design and inspect what makes them stand the test of time.
So, were you aware that certain chairs have their own names? Yes, really - like, "Eames meet Barcelona" and so on. Some names reference the designer who brought them into this world and some have been given their very own moniker. Either way, these recognizable frames are icons and have been elevated to this status for a reason. Let's take a look at just what it is that makes them so important.
Today we are looking at a frame designed in 1949. This chair was featured on the cover of The American magazine and was given the title "THE CHAIR" because it was thought to be so perfect.
PP503, or "the Round One" as Hans Wegner called it, is made with no nails and no screws. The pieces are taken from the same piece of wood so that the grain and rhythm fits together effortlessly. They are hand-joined, hand-sanded and once the chair is constricted and glue, it is virtually indestructible due to the skilled design and individually cut mortise-and-tenon joints
One element that is so impressive about this chair (and others that we will be inspecting in the following weeks) is that if any of us were to look at it, we would assume it was modern. Like, not older than color TV and the invention of the credit card - but this current looking frame does predate these present day inventions still manages to look hip and cutting edge. This gorgeous frame is also responsible for jump starting the influx of Danish design into the American consciousness.
Another point to note about the round one is that Wegner underplayed the importance of its design. He often said that there was nothing notable about the design and that it could've been made a hundred years ago. What is so interesting about this comment is that this is exactly why the design is so good. The best designs/art/inventions throughout history are those that are so simple and well-planned that they look effortless. No element could be added or subtracted to improve the design. They feel as if they have just always been there which of course takes a mammoth amount of effort to achieve - and THE CHAIR achieves it without missing a beat.
**Fun fact about THE CHAIR, PP503 is that Kennedy and Nixon sat in these frames as they battled it out in the 1960 Presidential debate so not only is this chair famous for its flawless design, it is now a part of pop culture history.